BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Communism was called a haunting ghost more than a century and a half ago, and few believed the Communist Party of China (CPC) could survive when it was founded in 1921. Now, the world is watching the largest ruling party in the world march toward its first centenary goal.
The CPC is celebrating its 96th anniversary on Saturday and the 19th National Congress will be held in the latter half of this year. The congress will elect the leadership for another five-year term, the critical period for a goal of completing building a well-off nation by the Party's 100th anniversary.
Once the goal is realized, nearly one fifth of the world's population will live in a "moderately prosperous society in all respects," or "xiaokang" in Chinese.
The CPC is confident and determined in achieving that.
Since its founding, the Party has been faced with doubts, misunderstanding and even hostility. Yet, the CPC has emerged as one of the world's most successful and exciting stories.
China was a poor nation scarred by foreign aggression and civil war. It is now the world's second-largest economy and a major international player.
The CPC has evolved from a small group of around 50 members to a 89-million member strong party, more than the population of Germany, with 4.5 million Party grassroots organizations.
"Political legitimacy comes from competence and prosperity," said Zhang Weiwei, director of the Institute of China Studies under Fudan University. "The CPC experience shows that the ultimate test of a good system is how well it ensures good governance as judged by the people of that country."
China is in better shape than at any time in living memory. There is every reason to believe the CPC is leading China back to the center of the world stage, Zhang said.
Last year, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, was endorsed as the "core" at the sixth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee. Analysts said the position is key for the Party and the country to keep on the right track of development.
The Chinese need to unify around a core figure, a central leader, as their influence can unite the people and collect wisdom to formulate and implement suitable policies, said Professor Liu Dongchao with the Chinese Academy of Governance.
For the first 14 years of the CPC, the Party was without a strong, core leader, which resulted in repeated setbacks of the revolutionary cause. The Party was almost on the verge of dissolution.
In 1935, leader Mao Zedong established his authority within the CPC Central Committee and the military. Since then, the CPC leadership has been integral to the Party in overcoming difficulties.
Now, Xi is determined to lead China toward the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, having drawn up a plan to promote all-round socialist economic, political, cultural, social and ecological development.
He has proposed the strategic layout of the "Four Comprehensives" and the philosophy of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development at a time when sustaining fast growth is becoming increasingly difficult.
Marxism is and must remain the fundamental, guiding principle of the Party. Xi's thoughts on state governance are often called Marxism in modern China, said professor Xin Ming with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
The CPC created China's recipe for success, officially called "socialism with Chinese characteristics."
It is through this model that the CPC represents the interests of the overwhelming majority of the people and puts the people first.
Reform is pushed forward thanks to decisions that reflect the broad consensus of Chinese society. Social stability is maintained. The market-government relationship, where the market plays a decisive role in resource allocation and the government better serves its duty, is capable of steering the country out of the harm of the current global economic downturn.
This path has gained wide support from the public, thanks largely to the fact that most people have found their living standards significantly improved over the past decades, said Liu Dongchao.
Liu was echoed by professor Xin who said Xi's vision of the Chinese dream has united the majority of people in China.
"The Party has inspired a spirit of striving for a better future," Xin said.
As an evidence of the success of the China path, more than 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty in the decades. In the past more than four years alone, the country has seen over 55 million shake off poverty. The Party has its eyes on the remaining 40 million people still in poverty.
By 2020, people in rural areas should no longer worry about food and clothing, they should be guaranteed with education, basic medical care and housing. Every rural resident will be elevated above the current poverty line.
"As long as we pay attention, think correctly, take effective measures and work in a down to earth way, abject poverty is absolutely conquerable," Xi said during a June tour of north China's Shanxi Province focusing on poverty.
Confident in its own path, China has no intention of promoting its model as an alternative for other peoples or countries.
The key to doing things well in China lies in the CPC.
The leadership has repeatedly warned that the biggest threat to the Party is corruption and the CPC must keep improving if it is to remain in power.
Since Xi Jinping took the helm as Party leader, an anti-corruption campaign has swept across the country, exposing many officials charged with abuse of power and misusing public funds. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, at least 240 senior officials and more than 1 million lower-level officials have been investigated.
Earlier this month, for the first time in history, the CPC completed inspections within a five-year administrative term, covering CPC organizations in provincial-level regions, central CPC and government organs, major state-owned enterprises, central financial institutions and universities.
Internal evaluations have proven effective in exposing problems. More than 50 percent of investigations into centrally-administered officials were as a result of information found by discipline inspectors, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
The CPC also launched a series of campaigns in recent years, including the "mass-line," an effort to build a closer official-people relationship, and "three stricts and three earnests," a political campaign that urges officials to be strict in morals, power and disciplining oneself; and be honest in decisions, business and behavior.
The CPC has never been afraid of breaking the shelters of vested interests and sweeping out obstacles hampering development, professor Zhang said.
Uncertainties ripple through the world today, calling into question the definition of governance legitimacy. In this context, the CPC century-old wisdom and practices may be increasingly relevant, he said.