100 years of China’s robust foreign policy under CPC

The Communist Party of China has led the country to success by developing important diplomatic relations with other countries. Such international contacts provided China with an opportunity to keep up with the changing times and transformed the country into the reliable economic power that it is today. On CPC's 100th anniversary, Prof. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Non-Resident Fellow China & Globalisation Center, NUST, explores this amazing phenomenon.

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The disintegration of the former USSR was also considered the collapse of Communism or Socialism or Marxism. Many socialist or communist parties also collapsed in Eastern Europe. The American-led Western-style democracy was propagating that Marxism, Socialism, or Communism was a system failure and finally collapsed.

However, the Communist Party of China (CPC) not only survived but was instrumental in making China the second-largest economy and global power. No one can deny the strengths, achievements, and instrumental role of CPC in building China.

What was different in the cases of CPC which made it a distinguished political party and led the nation to develop and prosper? Was Marxist ideology different in China? How was it different from the Russian Communist party?

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China and Russia were different countries with different backgrounds. Russia was an Industrialist country and the revolution was based on industrial workers. Lenin, added his thoughts to Marxism to suit the Russian industrial revolution. Whereas China was an agricultural country and peasants were the base of the Chinese revolution. Chairman Mao added his thoughts to basic Marxism to suit Chinese society.

However, great leader Deng Xiao Ping added his economic reforms and opening up of China. President Xi Jin Ping also kept transforming CPC to face challenges of emerging geopolitics. The mixture of Marxism, with Chairman Mao’s thoughts, Deng Xiao Ping’s reforms, and President Xi’s thoughts, is termed as “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.

Read more: Mao Zedong: From peasant farmer to communist revolutionary who founded China

CPC’s drive for patriotism

China was a lucky nation, which was blessed with visionary leadership uninterrupted for the last seven decades. The leadership was wise, loyal, and sincere, whereas the public was industrious, and consistently hardworking, which enabled China to attain the stature where it is today.

China has surpassed a stage where it can be coerced. The effort by America to contain China, to resist China’s rise, or to counter China will go down the drain and never succeed. The CPC has made China a robust economy, with strong defense. China is not only an economic tycoon but also a military might.

CPC established its International Department, with the objective and purpose of CPC’s international relations, on the scientific analysis of the contemporary international situation, and to meet the need of China’s diplomacy and CPC’s missions.

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In different periods, they had different scopes and key objects. Because party-to-party relations are interactive, sustainable development of the relations is only possible when the relations help to realize common goals and missions.

In any period of history, the CPC was never selfish or putting its interests first. Instead, out of concern for human development and the peace of mankind, while seeking and safeguarding its interests, the CPC has given adequate care to the need of the parties it associates with. This has brought a win-win situation, a unity of patriotism and internationalism.

The major objectives and goals of the International Department of CPC are; opposing invasions and wars; safeguarding world peace and stability; facilitating state-to-state relations; serving China’s reform and opening-up and the socialist modern construction.

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Current situation of CPC’s international relations

Since the late 1970s, with deep reforms and opening-up and China’s elevated international status, CPC’s international relations work progressed rapidly to serve the nation’s general diplomacy, party building, and socialist modern construction with Chinese characteristics.

CPC’s foreign relations work has followed the guidance of Deng Xiaoping’s theories based on independence, equality, mutual respect, and non-interference in other’s internal affairs. By a spirit of transcending ideological differences, seeking common ground, mutual understanding, and cooperation, the inter-party work has broken the past boundary only with foreign communists, workers, and Left-wing parties.

The CPC has established contacts with political parties of other nature in the world. CPC’s international relations, which are now deeper, broader, comprehensive, and conducted through more channels, have taken on a new look.

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Generally speaking, CPC’s international work has the following five features: one, more objects and in a wider range; two, more high-level contacts to build up political mutual trust and consensus; three, more contents, like exchanges of ideas on party or state governance and discussion on questions of common interest; four, economic topics that have made party-to-party relations more pragmatic; five, increased efforts on publicity for foreign parties to better understand China.

The International Department of CPC is focusing on various regions, groups, and political parties. it includes contacts with political parties in West Asia and North Africa; contacts with African political parties; contacts with Latin American political parties; contacts with Eastern European and Central Asian parties; contacts with major parties in the developed countries and contacts with international and regional political parties and organizations.

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CPC’s close cooperation with political parties

Increasing contacts with Asian political parties, facilitating friendship with neighboring countries have always occupied a key position in CPC’s foreign relations. The CPC has maintained good relations with socialist ruling parties in neighboring countries.

The long-standing friendship with the Workers’ Party of Korea has been consolidated, and high-level contacts have never stopped. The exchange of ideas with the Communist Party of Vietnam on the party and state governance has not only deepened China-Vietnam state relations but also solved some important issues.

The close cooperation with the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party has helped the state relations develop stably and healthily. The top leaders of all the three parties have repeatedly visited China, and CPC’s top leaders have paid them visits. Direct talks between them have helped to reach a consensus on friendship to be further deepened in the new era.

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The contacts with Japanese political parties have advanced the development of Sino-Japanese relations, helping to reduce misunderstanding, increase mutual trust, and the growth of friendly forces on both sides.



The CPC has stable relations with political parties in ROK and Mongolia, and the relations have played an active role in maintaining stability in the Korean Peninsular and China-ROK and Sino-Mongolian relations.

Along with the progress of good relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China has maintained satisfactory relations with the parties in Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, with increasing higher-level dialogues, a wider range of cooperation, more consensus, and mutual trust. The relations of the CPC with these parties have become part of the relations with ASEAN. It is the same with political parties in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

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Multi-party contracts have become more and more active during the economic globalization and multi-polarization in the world. Regional cooperation among Asian political parties has become more. The CPC has been active in Asian multi-lateral party contacts.

In September 2000, a group from the CPC attended the First International Conference of Asian Political Parties held in Manila, then, in November 2002, the second conference was held in Bangkok. In September 2004, the CPC held the third in Beijing. Its theme, “exchange, cooperation, and development” received a warm welcome from all participants.

CPC is maintaining very close relations with almost all political parties in Pakistan, including religious political parties like Jamat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, etc. CPC is inviting Pakistani politicians, Parliamentarians, Senators, etc to China to interact with CPC, in various refresher courses, workshops, seminars, conferences, training, etc. Some of them have attended Party Central School too.

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Irrespective of which one is the ruling party, CPC interacts and keeps close contact with all opposition political parties too.

The outstanding results of CPC’S international relations

By party-to-party relations and the advantage of political party contacts, CPC’s international relations have played a very positive role in establishing, developing, and consolidating China’s relations with foreign countries.

The exchange of experience in party building and state governance is significant in elevating CPC’s governing ability and advancing the healthy progress of party-to-party relations.

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The economic topics in party-to-party relations help China’s reform and opening-up and broaden socialist modern construction. Meanwhile, they facilitate the economic and trade cooperation of China and other countries.

By exchanging ideas on issues of common interest, mutual understanding and trust have been increased and this is very good for world peace and stability. Party-to-party relations have made China better understood by the rest of the world, and also exhibited China’s good image in its reform and opening-up, and development, and cooperation.

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Facilitating healthy and stable progress of state-to-state relations 

CPC’s international relations have, for decades, coordinated with China’s foreign diplomacy. They have a unique role in facilitating the progress of healthy and stable state-to-state relations when political instability and frequent change of governments happen in some countries.

Party-to-party relations have functioned as a cornerstone for state-to-state relations. It has been repeatedly proven that high-level contacts and political dialogues between two parties, ruling parties in socialist countries, in particular, are vital to advancing the development of state-to-state relations.

Since China’s reform and opening-up, CPC top leaders have led delegations to many countries of all five continents. They have met their state and political leaders. They have also received many foreign party delegations and important political figures coming to China. Dialogues with them have covered a wide range of topics, which have helped the progress of state relations with all.

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As an “accelerator,” party-to-party relations have facilitated the progress of state relations. Party-to-party relations cover both the party in office and the party not in power, established or up and coming people. The contacts with parties in power are for consolidating state relations, while the relations with the parties not in power will keep the state relations stable and continue if the political situation changes.

Many state leaders, before they assume office, had already been China’s friends. After they assume office, they have made active efforts in advancing friendship with China. Through contacts with young political figures, the CPC has laid foundations for future state-to-state relations.

Party-to-party contacts also include the work on the countries that have not established diplomatic relations with China, and this is an advantage of the party-to-party contacts. For many years, the CPC has brought this advantage to a maximum display. By establishing contacts with legal parties in these countries, the CPC has made numerous friends all over the world, which is a solid foundation for the normalization of state-to-state relations later.

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CPC’s international relations: Elevating governing ability 

As a party in power, with over 70 million members and leading a country of 1.3 billion people, the CPC is facing, among other tasks, a mission on how to keep shoulder to shoulder with the changing international and domestic situations, and how to improve its leading and governing abilities. To accomplish this mission, the CPC needs to put its feet on the Chinese situation with a broad global vision.

Fully aware of this, the CPC attaches much importance to party-to-party contacts, which create a window to the outside world, a way to understand it, to study the rules of social progress, socialist construction and Communist Party’s governing, and an approach to learning successful experience and measures of foreign counterparts.

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The CPC has drawn experience from other parties’ lessons, and their experiences have enriched its thinking. All of CPC’s top department, and local leaders are enthusiastic about international relations work, able to get the latest information of foreign experiences and practices in present-day world politics, economy, culture, and science and technology.

The information has helped them to improve their way of working, governing ability, working mechanism, and enabled them to grasp the pulse of the present-day world, to have correct judgments of the international situation, timely to follow the world trend and to absorb the successful foreign experience, and eventually, made them more innovative in building a more brilliant civilization with Chinese socialist characteristics.

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China’s renewed socialist modern construction 

After the reform and opening-up began, the CPC has firmly taken development as the most important task in the governance of the party and the state, vigorously advanced China’s reform and opening-up and the socialist modern construction. Centering on domestic work, the CPC has broadened the domain of its international relations, and by continuously increasing the economic factor to serve the reform and opening-up and modern construction.

While developing relations with foreign political parties, the CPC has added study trips to foreign economic construction projects, discussion about foreign development strategy, and the challenges China has faced after the entry of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

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Provincial and municipal party leaders have brought business people along with them when visiting foreign countries. By doing so, they have made China’s established business units and significant projects known to foreign countries. They have recommended business partners and facilitated the completion of some cooperation projects.

In coordination with Chinese governmental projects, like the “Western development,” “Northeast revitalization,” and the “rise of central parts of China,” the CPC has arranged for many foreign parties, groups, and friends to visit these areas. The CPC has also arranged for local party leaders in these areas to visit foreign countries. All these arrangements have brought satisfactory results.

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Portraying a good image through international relations

China has withstood many storms from significant domestic or international happenings since the beginning of the reform and opening-up. China has managed to maintain a stable society, fast progressing economy, continuously improved the life of Chinese people, and China’s international status is much higher than before.

More and more foreign political parties and statesmen hope to know more about China’s experience in the fast economic progress and CPC’s experience in governing the country. By contacts, many foreign parties have gained a fairly complete picture of China.

Misunderstandings and doubts have been reduced. Behind China’s peaceful rise, they have seen a firm and pragmatic party adhering to reform and opening-up, seeking world peace and development, and keeping up with the paces of times.

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They have seen a socialist road with Chinese characteristics, along which China, led by the CPC, is experiencing big changes day by day. What they have seen will, in a positive way, influence their policies.

Contacts with foreign parties of different ideologies, talks with them about world peace and development, multi-polarization and economic globalization, relations of big countries, significant international and regional issues, and bilateral relations, have facilitated mutual understanding and trust.

Through contacts with some think tanks or experts on international relations in Western developed countries, more common ground has been reached. Through party channels, the CPC has invited some parliament members or journalists to visit China, to let them see China with their own eyes.

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After their trips, many have changed their original and incorrect ideas about China. On many occasions, they have talked about the achievements of China’s reform and opening-up, and it is very important for Western people to form a well-informed opinion about China.

CPC’s international relations are keeping instability at bay

Peace and development make the trend of the present world, yet problems do exist like unstable international situations, explosive issues, and regional turbulences. With China’s elevated international status and influence, the international society earnestly wishes to see a bigger role of China in maintaining world peace and stability.

In this new situation, and out of the need from China’s general diplomatic strategy, the CPC has invited major political parties from “hot regions” to visit China or have sent CPC delegations to these areas.

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By contacts with different political forces, and by honest and open talks, the CPC has urged them to go back to negotiations. CPC’s role has been significant to the solution of disputes and regional stability.

Making the best use of this opportunity, I would invite the whole Pakistani nation to join the 100th Anniversary celebrations of the founding of CPC and wish from the core of my heart to all Chinese brothers and sisters, all the best and good luck in their future endeavors.

China-Pakistan Traditional Friendship Long Lives!

Read more: Celebrating 70 Years of Pakistan-China Friendship

 Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.


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