Today, I would like to again reiterate a statement I made five years ago at the First Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee, which was that "grand convictions have always been our Party's source of inner strength, and the people have always been the foundation of its governance. So long as we never waver in our convictions and never divorce ourselves from the people, we will be invincible." All members of the 19th Central Committee must be loyal to the Party, the country, and the people. We must be on guard against potential dangers, have the courage to take on responsibility, and be willing to make sacrifices. We must be modest, prudent, and free from arrogance and rashness, live plainly, and work hard with complete dedication to the cause of the Party and the people. Here I would like to share a few of my hopes with you to spur us all forward together.
The first is that we reinforce our ideals and convictions. Ideals and convictions serve as a beacon for our lives and all of our pursuits, determining our position and direction as well as our words and deeds. Like a rock that holds firm against the current of a stream, high-ranking officials, especially members of the Central Committee, must become the upholders of essential communist aspirations amid the flow of the times. For the many officials we have investigated and punished over these years, at the root of their violations of law and discipline and their ultimate descent into the darkness of criminality was a collapse of ideals and convictions. Once officials deviate from their ideals and convictions, they may lose their way and no longer be able to keep themselves in check, not only overstepping the bounds of what is acceptable in the behavior of a Party member, but also in the behavior of a person. Every member of the Central Committee must make the reinforcement of ideals and convictions a top priority in their lives, and set a conscious example for the entire Party in this regard.
We must study Marxist theory by our own volition, carefully observe the trends of global development, build a deep understanding of the great practice of Chinese socialism, and constantly bolster our confidence in its path, theory, system, and culture. We must be adept at drawing lessons and experience from the successes and failures of foreign countries and political parties, from the history of our own country and Party, and from both the positive and negative examples that have emerged in the Party over the last few years. By doing so, we will straighten the backbone of Party spirit, and take concrete actions to make the public feel the strength that comes from ideals, convictions, and noble character. Ideals and convictions are not for loud and empty talk or window dressing; they are only convincing when translated into real action. We need to maintain unity between knowledge and practice and match our words to our deeds,preserve our passionate attachment to our ideals and convictions, firmly establish proper perceptions of the world, our authority, and our cause, and work tirelessly to uphold and develop Chinese socialism and to realize the lofty ideal of communism through our own concrete actions.
The second is that we strengthen political responsibility. Political leadership is the crucial element for maintaining the Central Committee's authority and centralized, unified leadership. In assessing the character and competence of Party officials, especially high-ranking officials, we must first determine whether or not they are politically stable and reliable. To be stable and reliable, one must maintain political integrity, think in terms of the big picture, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the Party's central leadership. This means that Party members need to closely follow the Central Committee in terms of their thinking, political orientation, and actions, and firmly uphold the Central Committee's authority and centralized, unified leadership. They must put forth unwavering efforts to implement the decisions and plans of the Central Committee in all aspects of their work, and never diminish these by engaging in petty tricks and maneuvers.
Every member of the Central Committeemust make their political stance clear, willingly conduct themselves to the standard of Marxist politicians, seek the correct political stance, strengthen their political awareness, and enhance their political responsibility. We need to focus on enhancing our political competence, especially with regard to grasping the direction of trends and the overall situation, maintaining political resolve, controlling the political landscape, and guarding against political risks. In planning the development of our undertakings, formulating policy measures, training officials and personnel, and putting initiatives into effect, we must fix our attention on consolidating and strengthening our Party's governing position and advancing the Party and people's cause. We need to strictly observe the Party's political discipline and rules, fully apply the code of conduct for intraparty political activities, and ensure that the decisions of the Central Committee are carried out unimpeded, that the part is subordinate to the whole, and that we insist upon the correct political orientation in all our initiatives.
The third is that we improve our abilities across the board. The world today faces unprecedented changes, and Chinese socialism has entered a new era. Profound transformations in the landscape both inside and outside our Party and country, in the objects and conditions of our work, as well as the ever-quickening pace at which we must update our knowledge, have placed multiple new demands on our abilities. Therefore, the 19th National Congress particularly emphasized that our Party must be both politically strong and highly competent, and set forth specific and highly focused requirements for strengthening every aspect of our governing abilities. Every member of the Central Committee must be aware that the occupation of high office and the possession of power do not signify an automatic enhancement of one's abilities and competence. We must all have a sense of urgency for addressing inadequacies in our knowledge, ability, and competence, and make conscious effort to augment study and practice without the slightest indolence or complacency. In adapting ourselves to new progress in the work of the Party and country, it is imperative that we focus on strengthening our abilities in all areas, including studying effectively, exercising political leadership, reforming and innovating, promoting sound development, applying law-based governance, engaging with the people, implementing policy, and controlling risks.
In recent years, I have continuously stressed the need to make our officials more professionally competent. This is due to the fact that as reform, opening-up, and socialist modernization have continued to advance, the demands of our work have grown more and more professionalized, specialized, and refined. Meanwhile, a generalized, extensive, and unrefined mode of leadership is completely unsuited to this advancement. Every member of Central Committee must study diligently and learn with an open-minded attitude and insatiable thirst for knowledge, with the goal of building expertise that is both broad and specialized and replacing old ideas with new insights. We must learn not only from books but also in practice, not only from leaders and colleagues but also from experts, local officials, and the general public, and not only from traditions but also from modernity, striving to become experts who achieve mastery by absorbing an eclectic range of knowledge.
The fourth is that we genuinely improve our conduct. The comportment of our officials is a barometer of public perception toward Party conduct. Ample evidence since the 18th National Congress has shown that initiatives to improve Party conduct must follow a top down approach and be hammered through with persistence. To improve the conduct of the whole Party, we must start with the Central Committee. The new Central Committee must keep up the positive momentum we have built in improving Party conduct since the 18th National Congress, and strive to do even better. Every one of the Central Committee's members should diligently serve the people, assiduously perform their duties, and conduct themselves with integrity. Diligently serving the people means that we must practice the fundamental tenet of serving the people wholeheartedly, act as servants of the people, and always show genuine concern for their wellbeing. We must approach problems, make decisions, and carry out our work in line with the sentiment of "from the masses, to the masses," stand with the people through thick and thin, share in their joys and sorrows, and join hands with them to forge ahead. Assiduously performing our duties means that we must work with noble devotion to the cause of the Party and the people, and focus intently on carrying out the sacred duty with which they have entrusted us.
We must do solid, painstaking work and refuse to chase empty achievements, devoting tireless effort so that we may reciprocate the trust of the Party and the people with exceptional performance. Conducting ourselves with integrity means that we must remain completely upstanding and unstained by corruption, consciously abide by the code of integrity and self-discipline for Party members, observe the eight-point decision on improving Party and government conduct, and subject ourselves to oversight. We must hold the people, the Party, and the law and discipline in reverence, exercise power justly, lawfully, and honestly, repel the stain of corrupting influences, never seek privilege or abuse power for personal gain, and always remain dignified communists. Our leading officials must keep their family members and staff in check, cultivate honest and clean Party conduct in their respective areas of responsibility, and take a resolute stand against all instances of malpractice and corruption.
At present, the state of global affairs is continuing to go through profound and complex changes. Although the global balance of power is conducive to maintaining overall stability, there remain numerous grave challenges facing international peace and development. Meanwhile, though the domestic situation is generally favorable, there are urgent conflicts and problems that we must face on the road ahead. We must remain vigilant against potential dangers, maintain our strategic resolve, fortify our faith in victory, and boldly carry out our work. We must fulfill all relevant tasks for reform, development, and stability, focus on resolving prominent conflicts and problems, effectively prevent and defuse risks of all types, strive to meet this year's targets for economic and social development, and lay solid foundations for next year's work.
Here I would like to emphasize another issue, which is the need to encourage the practice of conducting research throughout the Party. As I have said before, research is the basis of planning and a precondition for success; without it we have neither the right to speak nor the right to make decisions. For us to do our work well, research is an essential skill. While the 19th National Congress identified the major political principle of upholding and developing Chinese socialism in the new era, made a series of major plans for our work, and put forward a series of important measures, the key is ensuring that these are fully implemented. Proper implementation, just like accurate decision making, is inseparably reliant on research. Every member of the Central Committee should actively carry out research, stepping out of the office and into factories, ports, fields, markets, and local communities so that they can observe for themselves and get a personal sense of the situation on the ground. Our research must stick closely to the work and lives of the people, to the realities of economic and social development, to the practical issues facing full and strict governance over the Party, and to problems that must be resolved in order to effectively implement the principles of the 19th National Congress.
We must not only bring together experiences from more advanced regions where our work is already being done well, but also go and study the issues in regions that are facing many difficulties, complex circumstances, and acute problems. In particular, we must pay more visits to places where our work is being done poorly and there are many complaints, and listen to what the people have to say, even if what we hear is unpleasant. This is the only way that we can hear the truth, understand the real situation, and obtain practical results. Officials at all levels, especially those in high positions, must come together to take real action and delve into the real issues as they implement the principles of the 19th National Congress, gain a clear and thorough understanding of existing conflicts and problems, and ensure that all of our endeavors are carried out in an effective manner and bring about real results.
Let us unite more closely, uphold socialism with Chinese characteristics, rouse ourselves to continue forging ahead, put our heads down and work hard, dare to blaze new trails, and strive to achieve the goals and tasks set out by the 19th National Congress.