The Communist Party of China (CPC) added "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era" to its Constitution on Tuesday.
The amendment, approved at the 19th CPC National Congress, juxtaposes Xi's thought with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development.
Enshrining Xi's thought into the Party Constitution has proved the main highlight of the congress, signifying a leap forward in the sinicization of Marxism.
The resolution on the amendment to the Constitution states that with the integration of theory and practice, Chinese communists, with Xi as their chief representative, have given shape to the new thought since the 18th CPC National Congress.
The resolution states the amendment has "systematically addressed the major question of our times -- what kind of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era requires us to uphold and develop and how we should uphold and develop it."
The resolution stresses that Xi's thought must be upheld on a long-term basis and constantly developed.
Under the guidance of Xi's thought, "the CPC has led the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in a concerted effort to carry out a great struggle, develop a great project, advance a great cause, and realize a great dream, ushering in a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics," it says.
A wide range of new ideas, thinking and strategies put forward by the CPC Central Committee with Xi at the core have been added to the constitution, including giving play to the decisive role of market forces in resource allocation, advancing supply-side structural reform and enhancing the country's cultural soft power.
Congress delegates also agreed to write the culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics into the Party Constitution, along with its path, theory and system.
In addition, the amendment includes an assessment of the change in the "principal contradiction" facing Chinese society.
The CPC says the central contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved from "the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social production" to "unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life."
CHINESE WISDOM FOR DEVELOPMENT
Xi's thought makes eight fundamental issues clear, including the overarching objectives for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, as well as the direction, model, and driving force of development, and the strategic steps, external conditions and political guarantees.
Clarifying the two centenary goals, Xi's thought rolls out a two-step approach to making China into "a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of the century."
It also underpins 14 fundamental principles, ranging from ensuring Party leadership over all work, to building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Obviously, the new modernization approach championed by Xi not only differentiates from the journey of developed Western countries, which achieved modernization through industrial revolution and colonial expansion, but also from the neoliberal model advocated by the Washington Consensus.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Karl Marx's iconic book "Das Kapital," while 2018 marks the 170th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto as well as the 40th anniversary of socialist China's launch of the reform and opening-up drive.
Xi believes that the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics means "Scientific socialism is full of vitality in 21st century China, and that the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics is now flying high and proud for all to see."
In September, just 20 days prior to the congress, the political bureau arranged a special study session on the theoretical origin and evolution of socialism over 500 years.
Addressing the opening of the twice-a-decade congress last Wednesday, Xi said, "The path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics have kept developing, blazing a new trail for other developing countries to achieve modernization."
"It offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence; and it offers Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind," he told the delegates.
Experts widely believe the development of socialism in China shows theoretical innovations by the Chinese leadership will not only help the country avoid history's cycle of rising and falling and the "Tacitus Trap," but offer an alternative answer to such predictions as the "end of history," by Francis Fukuyama, who argued for the inevitable triumph of Western liberal democracy.
An earlier Pew Research Center survey spanning 37 countries and regions shows a slump in favorability ratings for certain Western developed country, with more respondents expressing confidence in Xi's ability to do the right thing on international affairs.
FRESH, EFFECTIVE MARXISM
China, which managed to stand up in the era of Mao Zedong and get rich in the decades after the reform and opening up initiated by Deng Xiaoping, is striding toward becoming a "great modern socialist country" by the mid-21st century under the CPC leadership with Xi at the core.
"During the previous two historic transformations, historic theoretical innovations were achieved to enable the theory and practice to supplement each other," said Liu Jingbei, a professor with the China Executive Leadership Academy in Pudong, Shanghai.
"As China enters a new historic juncture in its development, it entails new strategic ideology," he said.
"Xi's thought builds on and further enriches Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory. Its inclusion into the CPC Constitution means the application of the new thought in China's development will be further standardized," Liu said.
Almost all previous top CPC leaders have had a reference to their ideological contribution included in the CPC Constitution, a fundamental law of the CPC which has supreme binding power for all the Party's 89 million members.
Kenneth Jarrett, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, said the "new era" in Xi's thought has at least two key meanings.
"First, the era when China emphasized economic growth at any cost is now over. China enters an era of smarter and more balanced growth. Second, China will play a bigger role on the world stage," Jarrett said.
"China has created two miracles of the world with its dazzling economic growth and enviable social harmony and stability, and offered solutions to two of the world's toughest problems -- poverty eradication and the fight against corruption," said congress delegate Xu Xinrong.
"Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is the most fresh and effective Marxism at present," said Xu, also Party chief of Yan'an, the heartland of early CPC revolutionary activities. "It does not only belong to China but also the world."
(From Xinhua, October 24, 2017)