Xi Jinping (C, front), Li Keqiang (3rd R, front), Zhang Dejiang (3rd L, front), Yu Zhengsheng (2nd R, front), Liu Yunshan (2nd L, front), Wang Qishan (1st R, front), Zhang Gaoli (1st L, front), Jiang Zemin (4th R, front) and Hu Jintao (4th L, front) attend the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 18, 2017. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)
by Xinhua writers Li Zhihui, Zhang Zhengfu and Wang Cong
BEIJING, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Communist Party of China (CPC) has unveiled the "Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era" as the latest step on the journey to building a "great modern socialist country" as its 19th National Congress opened Wednesday.
Addressing the opening session, Xi Jinping outlined a two-step approach to becoming a great modern socialist country once building a moderately prosperous society in all respects is completed by 2020.
Hailing achievements in reform, opening up and socialist modernization during the past five years, Xi said socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era. "This is a new historic juncture in China's development."
According to Xi, socialist modernization will be basically realized from 2020 to 2035. From 2035 to the middle of the century, China will become a great socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful.
By then, China will be a global leader in terms of composite national strength and international influence. Prosperity for everyone will be basically achieved, Xi told about 2,300 delegates attending the country's most important political meeting in five years.
The goal exceeds the Party's previous plans to "basically realize modernization" by the middle of the 21st century. It also sets a higher target for China's modernization in terms of material, political, cultural and ethical, social and ecological development.
The two-step approach is an important component of the new Thought, a long-term guide for action.
The Thought builds on and further enriches Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development. It represents the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context, Xi said.
Xi listed 14 points that underpin the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
The principal contradiction facing Chinese society is that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life, Xi said.
The people's desire to live a better life is increasingly broad. Not only have material and cultural needs grown, but demands for democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security and a better environment are increasing, Xi said.
The report outlines the development of a modernized economy and socialist democracy, stronger cultural confidence and improved social wellbeing.
Xi called on the Party's 89 million members to regard as their goal "the people's aspirations to live a better life."
The CPC is the highest force for political leadership, Xi said, stressing strict governance over the Party and improvement of the Party's ability to govern and lead. Having gained overwhelming momentum in its fight against corruption, the Party is determined to secure a "sweeping victory" over "the greatest threat" to the Party.
The congress, held in the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing and presided over by Li Keqiang, will deliberate an amendment to the CPC Constitution. Delegates will elect a new CPC Central Committee and a new CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
Established in 1921, the CPC founded the People's Republic of China in 1949 and began reform and opening up in 1978.
Over the past five years, China's GDP rose from 54 trillion yuan (8.2 trillion U.S. dollars) to 80 trillion yuan, contributing more than 30 percent of global economic growth. More than 60 million people have been lifted out of poverty. Over 1,500 reform measures have established general frameworks for reform in major fields, and the country is building world-class armed forces.
The country has entered an era with the greatest composite national strength since the Opium War of 1840 which plunged China into the darkness of domestic turmoil and foreign aggression.
The Chinese nation has stood up, grown rich, and become strong, and it now faces the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation, Xi said. "Scientific socialism is full of vitality in 21st century China."
It also shows other developing countries the way to modernization, and offers wisdom through the Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind, he said.
But China is still and will long remain in the primary stage of socialism. Its international status as the world's largest developing country has not changed, Xi said.
"Achieving national rejuvenation will be no walk in the park," Xi said. "It will take more than drum beating and gong clanging to get there."
Xi reaffirmed China's commitment to building a community with a shared future for mankind. "No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion."
"This is a very powerful and strong report with a lot of determination," said Holly Snape, editor of the English version of the report. "It sends a message about how China intends to move forward, and how China will take the lead in promoting development of the world."
The report provides a new alternative for the rest of the world to speed up development, said Robert Lawrence Kuhn, chairman of the Kuhn Foundation, an American NGO promoting U.S.-China ties.
Wang Xianghong, a congress delegate from east China's Jiangsu Province, said the dream of building a modern socialist country will surely come true "as long as we unite around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core."
(Zuo Wei and Liu Jie contributed to this story)