Comrade Jiang Zemin first propounded the important thought of Three Represents during his inspection tour of Guangdong Province in February 2000.
He emphatically pointed out, "An important conclusion can be reached from reviewing our Party's history over the past 70-odd years; that is, the reason our Party enjoys the people's support is that throughout the historical periods of revolution, construction and reform, it has always represented the development trend of China's advanced productive forces, the orientation of China's advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people. With the formulation of the correct line, principles and policies, the Party has untiringly worked for the fundamental interests of the country and the people. Under the new conditions of historic significance, how our Party can better translate the Three Represents into action constitutes a major issue that all Party members, especially senior officials, must ponder deeply ."
During his inspection tour of Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces and Shanghai in May 2000, Comrade Jiang Zemin emphasized again that the steadfast implementation of the Three Represents constitutes the foundation of our Party, the cornerstone for its governance and the source of its strength.
At the Fifth Plenary Session of the Fifteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in October 2000, General Secretary Jiang Zemin noted, "In all the work we do, we must fulfill the requirements of the Three Represents. We need to ensure that all our measures and work accord with these requirements. If they do, we shall unswervingly stay on our course; if they don't, we shall be realistic and boldly correct them."
At the meeting celebrating the 80th anniversary of the founding of the CPC on July 1, 2001, General Secretary Jiang Zemin, proceeding from the perspective of the law of historical development and the need to advance with the times, comprehensively and incisively elaborated the scientific meaning of the important thought of Three Represents.
He stated, "Saying our Party always represents the development trend of China's advanced productive forces means that the Party's theory, line, program, principles, policies and all its work must be in line with the laws governing the development of productive forces; embody the requisites for constantly furthering the release and development of productive forces, especially advanced productive forces; and steadily raise the people's standard of living by developing the productive forces."
He continued, "Saying our Party always represents the orientation of China's advanced culture means that its theory, line, program, principles, policies and all its work must embody the requisites for guiding the development of a national, scientific, and popular socialist culture geared to the needs of modernization, the world and the future in order to improve the ideological and ethical standards and scientific and cultural levels of the whole nation and to provide motivation and intellectual support for China's economic development and social progress."
He added, "Saying our Party always represents the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people means that in its theory, line, program, principles, policies and all its work, it must persevere in taking the fundamental interests of the people as its starting point and objective, give full expression to the people's enthusiasm, initiative and creativity, and enable the people to constantly obtain tangible economic, political and cultural benefits on the basis of social development and progress."
Following this speech on July 1, 2001, Comrade Jiang Zemin gave another important speech on May 31, 2002, at the graduation ceremony for provincial and ministerial officials who had taken a class at the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC.
He said, "The Three Represents is imbued with the same spirit as Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, and it reflects new demands on the work of the Party and the state arising from developments and changes presently occurring in China and the world over. The Three Represents is a powerful theoretical tool for strengthening and improving Party building and promoting the self-improvement and development of China's socialist system." The basic requisites for implementing the Three Represents are, "in essence, to advance with the times, maintain the Party's advanced nature and administer the country in the interests of the people."
Specifically, the Party must adhere to the precept of the four musts: "The whole Party must always maintain the spirit of advancing with the times and constantly extend Marxist theory into new realms; it must give top priority to development in governing and invigorating the country and constantly break new ground and open up a new prospect in the modernization drive; it must fully mobilize all positive factors and constantly generate new strength for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation; and it must improve its Party building in a spirit of reform and constantly inject new vitality into itself."
In the political report he delivered at the Sixteenth National Congress of the CPC in 2002, Comrade Jiang Zemin again made it clear that in order to enter a new phase in building socialism with Chinese characteristics, the CPC must hold high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory and adhere to the important thought of Three Represents.
This thought is a continuation and development of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, and it reflects new demands on the work of the Party and the state arising from developments and changes presently occurring in China and the world over.
This thought is a powerful theoretical tool for strengthening and improving Party building and promoting the self-improvement and development of socialism in China.
It is the crystallization of the collective wisdom of the entire Party and a guiding principle the Party must follow for many years to come. This thought was propounded on the basis of the scientific assessment of the Party's historical position.
It is a strategic conception made at the historic beginning of the new century by the Chinese Communists who scientifically analyzed and understood the domestic and international situation, the tasks the Party shoulders, and the realities of Party building from the viewpoint of the destiny of the Party and the country in the future. It is a scientific judgment made by the Party based on the stand, viewpoint and methodology of dialectical materialism and historical materialism, a review of the experience of the world socialist movement since the Manifesto of the Communist Party was published more than 150 years ago, and an assimilation of the experience the Party has gained over the past 80 years since its founding.
The meaning of the important thought of Three Represents
-Representing the development trend of China's advanced productive forces.
The Party's basic nature determines that it must represent the development trend of China's advanced productive forces. Productive forces are the most revolutionary and dynamic factors in social mode of production, and they are the forces that ultimately determine how human society develops.
The competition among all the forces in the world today is, in the final analysis, a competition in overall national power, including economic, scientific and technological strength and national cohesiveness. China's productive forces have grown fairly rapidly over the 50 plus years since the People's Republic was founded in 1949, especially over the 20 plus years since the policies of reform and opening up were introduced in the late 1970s.
However, their overall level is still much lower than in the developed countries in the West. China must vigorously develop its productive forces and improve its economy so that it can gain greater initiative and a more favorable position in future competition in science and technology and solve its present economic and social problems.
All the Party's battles during the 80 plus years since its founding have been waged to emancipate and develop the productive forces. The Party must ground itself on China's realities, conform to the trend of the times, stay focused on economic development, and make developing the productive forces its basic task.
-Representing the orientation of China's advanced culture.
Socialist society means a society that develops and progresses comprehensively. A society is truly socialist only when its economic, political and cultural development is balanced and a good job is done in both material and spiritual civilization. Only by always representing the orientation of China's advanced culture and working hard to develop a socialist culture with Chinese characteristics can the CPC achieve this goal.
In present-day China, developing advanced culture means developing a national, scientific, and popular culture that is geared to the needs of modernization, the world and the future. The fundamental task of socialist culture is to educate citizens to have lofty ideals, moral integrity, good education and a strong sense of discipline. We must always take Marxism as our guide, clearly discern the orientation of advanced culture, and resolutely oppose wrong, anti-Marxist ideas.
At the same time, we must clearly understand that Marxism is a developing science. It cannot be regarded as a rigid dogma; new experience and understanding gained from practice must be constantly assimilated and used to enrich and develop Marxism.
-Representing the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people.
Ever since our Party was founded, its primary aim has been to serve the people wholeheartedly. Over the past 80 plus years, all our successes in both revolution and development have been attributable mainly to the fact that we represent the interests of the overwhelming majority of the people and are able to unite with them in their struggles for their own interests.
In the circumstances of carrying out the reform and opening up and expanding the socialist market economy, our Party must emphasize working for the interests of the people more than ever before.
The Party's greatest political strength is that we have maintained close ties with the masses, and the greatest danger since assuming political power has lain in the possibility of being estranged from them. Whether the line, principles and policies the Party formulates conform to the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people must be taken as the highest criterion for judging them, and whether the people are satisfied with and agree with them must be taken as their basis and goal.
Our cadres must maintain the work style and the way of thinking of "from the masses, to the masses". They must be concerned about the people's hardships, listen to their opinions and protect their interests. Party officials, especially leaders at all levels, must be incorruptible and self-disciplined and share weal and woe with the masses.
At all times and under any circumstances, Party officials must follow the Party's mass line, adhere to the objective of serving the people wholeheartedly, and take benefiting the people as the starting and end points of all their work. They must carefully study the new character of mass work in the new situation and integrate strengthening and improving mass work into all their work relating to Party building and consolidating political power.
The Three Represents are mutually related, complement each other and constitute a unified whole.
The unity of the Three Represents is a unity not only in theoretical logic but also in practice. Developing advanced productive forces is a fundamental condition for developing advanced culture and materializing the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people.
At the same time, the development of advanced productive forces is inseparable from cultural issues such as ideology, ethics, education and science because the general ideological and cultural levels of a given society directly affect the quality of the work force. The same is true of the relationship between the people and the development of advanced productive forces and advanced culture. The people are the main creators of advanced productive forces and advanced culture as well as the basic force to achieve their own interests. At the same time, the basic reason to develop advanced productive forces and advanced culture is to satisfy the ever-growing needs of the people's material and cultural lives and to continually ensure that their fundamental interests are fulfilled. Just as Jiang Zemin pointed out, "All Party members must continue to integrate the fulfillment of the requirements of the Three Represents with all aspects of Party building and with the Party's leadership of the people in the whole process of carrying out the reform, opening up and the socialist modernization drive."
In short, the important thought of Three Represents is developing and advancing. The whole Party must continuously emancipate their minds, make theoretical progress and break new ground in practice. They must infuse the important thought of Three Represents into all areas of the socialist modernization drive and into all aspects of Party building so that our Party always advances with the times and shares weal and woe with the people.