The defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Communist Party of China. And adhering to Marxism and the leadership of the Communist Party of China should be the basis of a strong leadership, and give full play to that leadership in order to promote social transformation and the comprehensive development of the people.
As CPC Central Committee General Secretary Xi Jinping said in 2013, socialism with Chinese characteristics has not fallen from the sky; it has been achieved through the toil and sacrifice of the Party and the people.
Socialism with Chinese characteristics is a creed and the direction for the overall work of the Party, with the Party's leadership in that work being the key driving force to make the CPC keep exploring the right way of promoting socialism with Chinese characteristics and advancing with the changing times by improving itself and society.
The fact that the Party has kept pace with the changing times and made great progress in building socialism with Chinese characteristics is evident in the unprecedented achievements China has made over the past decades. For instance, at the 19th National Congress of the CPC, Xi Jinping said socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era in which China's principal contradiction has evolved from one between the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social production to that between "unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life".
The 19th Party Congress also saw the presentation of comprehensive strategies for advancing education and science, developing a quality workforce, facilitating innovation-driven development, revitalizing the countryside, promoting coordinated and sustainable regional development, and fostering military-civilian integration.
But apart from the Party's leadership, every step on the long way to building socialism with Chinese characteristics relies on the efforts of the Chinese people. That the Party is capable of arousing the people to fully establish socialism with Chinese characteristics is beyond doubt because it accords the principal status to the people in the process. Committed to a people-oriented approach, the CPC gives priority to addressing people's concerns and problems by establishing democracy, promoting justice and protecting the environment.
Therefore, the Party's goal to build a better society meets the people's needs for a better life. The Party has accumulated its experiences from the people to adjust China's top-level design so as to give full play to their creation, and to implement reform. This has helped China to make the remarkable achievements over the past four decades of reform and opening-up.
The CPC will further improve and strengthen its leadership in politics, ideology and social governance to lead the Chinese people through the complicated social structure that has resulted in the unbalanced and inadequate development at the primary stage of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
The Party has also made continuous efforts to improve its institutions and programs while implementing strict discipline to maintain its firm ideals and beliefs, which will guide China's social development in the right direction and make sure the Party members "stay true to our founding mission" and fully implement the Party's basic theory, line and policy so as to fulfill the cause of the Party and the people.
The Party's leadership has advanced the great revolutionary cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which is the result of the great revolution made possible by the people under the leadership of the Party. As such, all the Chinese people will work together to enhance the foundation of and build socialism with Chinese characteristics.
The author is an associate professor of the Party building department at the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC.