This Post includes Part 5, Marxism-Leninism with Chinese Characteristics. It considers Paragraph 3 of the General Program.
Table of Contents
Part 5: Paragraph 3 of the CCP General Program--Marxism-Leninism with Chinese Characteristics. It considers Paragraph 3 of the General Program.
The first two paragraphs of the General Program set out the outer framework of two critical aspects of Chinese constitutional theory. The first paragraph is focused on the centrality of the vanguard to Chinese constitutional theory. The vanguard sits at the center of Chinese constitutional and political theory. To understand the structures of Chinese constitutional and political theory one must understand the vanguard. The vanguard role is not assigned to an individual or to a person. It is assigned to the political collective best situated to undertake the obligations of the vanguard. The political collective best situated is one that meets two criteria. First it must be politically, institutionally and culturally representative of (1) the most advanced elements of the polity, (2) the people, and (3) the nation made up of the collective that is the Chinese nation. Second, it must be faithful to the objectives for which a vanguard is constituted. That objective is the establishment of socialism leading ultimately to the construction of communism in China. Within this framework, the Chinese Communist arty (CCP) has assumed the role of vanguard party. That burdens the CCP with a leadership role. But faithful to the spirit of collectivity at the theory of Chinese political and constitutional theory,
The second paragraph then focuses on the normative basis that constrains the actions of the vanguard party in fulfilling its obligations to the polity, state and nation. To that end, the General Program establishes the normative structure of Chinese political and constitutional theory. That theory arises from five (5) very specific theories: Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development. But the relationship between the vanguard and grounding theory is not hierarchical. The vanguard takes as its guide these theories, but it is not bound to a particular historical understanding of those theories or of their applications in other times and places. Indeed, the theories identified are not specified, or moored, within specific texts. Nor are they moored within specific interpretive tropes. Yet these theories provide, none the less, a well developed and powerful set of constraints to action. The vanguard retains legitimacy, its actions are authentic, only when its actions can be understood as derived from the guide of these five theories. At the same time the vanguard is obligated to engage with these constraining theories. The engagement with its normative base is interactive. Seeking truth from facts requires an application and reapplication of interpretation in light of the realities, the facts, emerging from both implementation and interpretation as it produces facts on the ground. Here, then, we have the first iteration of the meaning of Chinese characteristics in theory. And, indeed, the dynamic relationship between foundation and vanguard is illustrated by paragraph 2 itself--the five theories identified illustrate the growth of foundational Chinese theory from its historical foundations in European Marxism and Leninism, through its initial iteration in Mao Zedong Thought, to the addition of foundational norms from the leadership periods of Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jingtao.
It is important, then, to understand that, unlike religious text, or European Marxist Leninist theory, the text of Chinese communist theory is not yet complete, but continues to be written as China advances along the road of socialist modernization. It is the dynamic principle of elaborating the path to objective, then, that also marks Chinese political and constitutional theory as distinctive. Just as Chinese economic theory is grounded in a dynamic framework of socialist modernization—so too Chinese political and constitutional theory is marked by a path toward a fully developed communist political and constitutional theory. The dynamic elaboration of economic theory (through socialist modernization within the specific context of China) then informs the dynamic elaboration of political and constitutional theory (through the elaboration of the General Program and its application through the political work of the vanguard party).
The five theories identified in paragraph 2 are the elaborated in paragraphs 3-7. Each, in turn, illustrates the development of foundational Chinese theory from its historical foundations in European Marxism and Leninism to the addition of foundational norms from Mao Zeding through the leadership periods of Jiang Zemin and Hu Jingtao. Each addition represents the “crystallization of the collective wisdom of the Communist Party of China” at each successive stage on the road toward communism. And the path itself makes clear that the process of successive crystallization is far from complete.
The foundations of Chinese political and constitutional theory is built on European and received wisdom--the classical philosophy of Marxism-Leninism.
 Marxism-Leninism brings to light the laws governing the development of the history of human society. Its basic tenets are correct and have tremendous vitality. The highest ideal of communism pursued by the Chinese Communists can be realized only when the socialist society is fully developed and highly advanced. The development and improvement of the socialist system is a long historical process. So long as the Chinese Communists uphold the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism and follow the road suited to China's specific conditions and chosen by the Chinese people of their own accord, the socialist cause in China will be crowned with final victory. 马克思列宁主义揭示了人类社会历史发展的规律，它的基本原理是正确的，具有强大的生命力。中国共产党人追求的共产主义最高理想，只有在社会主义社会充分发 展和高度发达的基础上才能实现。社会主义制度的发展和完善是一个长期的历史过程。坚持马克思列宁主义的基本原理，走中国人民自愿选择的适合中国国情的道 路，中国的社会主义事业必将取得最终的胜利。