January 18, 2013

Does Socialism Have a ‘Primary Stage’?

Our Historical Tasks at the Primary Stage of Socialism and Several Issues Concerning China’s Foreign Policy

By Wen Jiabao
Premier, PRC

China Daily, March 2007

I. Our Historical Tasks at the Primary Stage of Socialism

A keen appreciation of China’s national conditions and its historical stage is the basis for our Party to put forward theories in a scientific way and adopt correct principles and policies. It is also a key prerequisite for ensuring the success of all our endeavors.

China is at the primary stage of socialism, and will remain so for a long time to come. The primary stage means a stage of underdevelopment, which manifests itself, first and foremost, in the low level of the productive forces. Therefore, we must unswervingly take economic development as the central task and go all out to boost the productive forces. However, when we talk about the primary stage, we should not just think about the underdeveloped productive forces. We should also recognize that the socialist system still has room for improvement and that it is not yet a mature one. Comrade Deng Xiaoping pointed out that in essence, socialism is about liberating and developing the productive forces, eliminating exploitation and polarization, and ultimately, it is about achieving prosperity for all. This means that in consolidating and developing socialism, we must be clear about and focus on two major tasks: one is to liberate and develop the productive forces to vastly increase the material wealth of the whole society, and the other is to achieve social fairness and justice, fire the creativity of the whole nation and promote social harmony. The two tasks are interconnected and reinforce each other. As a holistic endeavor, they should be pursued throughout the historical course of all the development stages of socialism. Without the sustained and full development of productive forces, it will be impossible to achieve social fairness and justice, an essential requirement of socialism. Without gradual progress in social fairness and justice along with the growth of productive forces, it will be impossible to give full play to the initiative and creativity of all the people and ensure sustained and full development of productive forces. In implementing Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of “Three Represents”, following the scientific thinking on development and building a socialist harmonious society, it is critical that we have a full and scientific understanding of the essence of socialism.

Read the entire article here.

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