The Constitution of the Communist Party of China (CPC) stipulates, "The highest leading bodies of the Party are the National Congress and the Central Committee which it elects." Gaining a better understanding of the role and history of the National Congresses of the CPC (hereinafter referred to as the Party Congresses) helps to better and more quickly understand the history of the CPC.
I. The Role of the Party Congresses
From the First Party Congress in July 1921 to the time when this article was finalized recently, a total of 19 Party Congresses were held in the more than centennial history of the CPC. Each took place at an important moment in the development of the situation, categorically declaring what banner the Party would hold, what path it would take, in what attitude and toward what goal it would continue to move forward on its new journey in the future. Most of these congresses truly performed their functions and powers, studied important and urgent issues, made correct or basically correct decisions, and played an important role in the history of the Party's development.
The Party Congresses mainly played a role in the following five areas.
1. Reviewing the past, summing up experience and unifying understanding
At each of the Party Congress, the Party leader, on behalf of the previous Central Committee, delivered a political report to comprehensively review the work of the Party and the country since the previous congress. The earliest surviving such report was made by Chen Duxiu at the Third Party Congress in June 1923. Since the reform and opening up policy was implemented in the late 1970s, starting from the 12th Party Congress in 1982, the first part of the political report to each Party Congress has been devoted to a review and summary of the past work.
Mao Zedong once said, "We manage to survive by reviewing experience." It is a fine tradition and a good working method of the CPC to be quick to review experience, uphold the truth and correct mistakes. The political reports of Party Congresses put reviewing and summarizing the past work first, reflecting the Chinese Communists'objective salute to history, their extreme responsibility for their work, and their profound understanding of unifying thoughts and gathering strength.
2. Analyzing and sizing up the situation in the world, in China and in the Party to determine action programs
In the history of the Party, most Party Congresses were able to properly respond to the requirements of the times and development and, on the basis of precise analysis and correct judgment of the situation, formulate policies in line with reality, thus effectively promoting revolution, construction and reform. During the new-democratic revolution, except for the Fifth Party Congress, all other Party Congresses correctly analyzed the situation. During socialist revolution and construction, the Eighth Party Congress made a correct judgment of the situation and the principal domestic contradiction after the completion of China's socialist transformation. In the new period of reform and opening up and socialist modernization, the 13th Party Congress made the major judgment that "China is in the primary stage of socialism", which laid the foundation for the subsequent Party Congresses to analyze and judge the situation in the world, in China and in the Party. In the face of profound and complex changes in the domestic and international situation, the 18th Party Congress made a well-perceived plan for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and made a comprehensive plan for winning a new victory in socialism with Chinese characteristics. The 19th Party Congress clarified the new historic juncture in China's development and the principal contradiction of Chinese society in the new era, and put forward the fundamental strategy for adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. On October 19, 2017, after the 19th Party Congress was held, the mainstream media outlet The Libre (The Free) for French-speaking areas published a signed article, stating, "The 19th Congress of the CPC was held, signaling that China will follow the direction guided by the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era for the next 15 to 30 years.”
3. Electing the central leading body of the CPC
The election of a new central leading body was an important agenda of all previous Party Congresses. The elected central leading body would be the highest leading body of the whole Party until the next Party Congress following the conclusion of the current Congress and be responsible for leading the Party in implementing the lines, principles and policies set by the Party Congress. Therefore, the election of the new central leading body was crucial for the development of the CPC. The name of the central leading body elected at the First Congress was the Central Bureau; the Central Executive Committee at the Second through the Fourth Congresses; and has been the Central Committee since the Fifth Congress.
It is a fundamental principle of Marxist parties to democratically elect their leading bodies. Since its founding, the Party has established its central leading body through democratic elections, and it has incorporated this election system into its platform and Constitution. Taking the Seventh Party Congress as an example. The election of the central leading body fully demonstrated the excellent democratic style of the CPC: the election method was repeatedly discussed; the list of candidates for the Central Committee was repeatedly deliberated; and the wishes of the delegates were fully respected.“If you have different opinions about anyone on the candidate list, you can raise them; if you don't understand something, you can ask." Deng Yingchao spoke highly of the election at the Seventh Congress:"This method of election was both highly democratic and highly centralized; it fully embodied the mass line as it came from the people and served their interests.”
4. Clarifying the guiding thought of the CPC
The Seventh, 15th, 16th, 18th and 19th Party Congresses respectively clarified the historic background, theoretical origin, practical basis, essentials, rich implications, essence and theoretical characteristics of Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, established them as the guiding thought of the Party and enshrined them in the Party Constitution. In this process, the Party Congresses fully embodied the role of promoting the adaptation of Marxism to the Chinese context and enriching the resulting theories.
Based on a review of previous successes and failures, the Party Congresses systematized the theoretical principles and experience summaries on China's revolution, construction and reform formed during the long-term practical exploration, and established them as the guiding thought of the Party to eventually make historic achievements in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context. It can be said that a history of the Party Congresses is a condensed history of the Party's theoretical exploration, a history of the continued adaptation of Marxism to the Chinese context, and a history of the establishment of the Party's guiding thought that keeps with the times.
5. Strengthening the CPC
If the strengthening of the Party is a great project, then the Party Congresses are the main architect of this project. All the previous Party Congresses put forward a series of important ideas and initiatives to strengthen and improve the Party, charting the course for this endeavor. It is of particular note that they formulated or revised the Party Constitution to embody the major practical, theoretical and institutional achievements made by the Party in advancing the cause of revolution, construction and reform and the great project of strengthening the Party, and to establish the overriding statute for the Party's self-supervision and governance, making an important contribution to the strengthening of the Party.
After the 19th Party Congress, international public opinion generally believes that, at a new starting point of the period in which the timeframes of the Two Centenary Goals converge, the CPC pursued strict self-governance in every respect and made top-level design for the great project of strengthening the Party, reflecting the foresight and strategic determination of the CPC leader. In an interview with People's Daily, Brazilian economist and director of the Brazilian Center for China Studies Ronnie Lins de Almeida said,“A higher level of the strengthening of the Party will lead China to a higher level of development.”
In a word, the Party Congresses are congresses where the CPC unifies its thinking and rallies its strength at historic junctures, where it puts forward general and forward-looking action plans of strategic importance, and where it addresses issues to build on past successes to further advance the cause of the Party and country and promote the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. The history of the Party has proved time and again that if the Party Congresses are well held, the Party's cause will develop, its theoretical exploration will progress, and vigorous progress will be made in the strengthening of the Party; and vice versa.
II. Why Was the Birth Anniversary of the CPC Set on July 1?
When it comes to the history of the Party Congresses, it is natural to start with the groundbreaking First Party Congress. The First Party Congress announced the official establishment of the CPC which has since become an advanced and strong leading force for the revolutionary struggle of the Chinese people. This Congress was of great and far-reaching significance.
After the closing of the Congress, its delegates went to different places to devote themselves to revolutionary activities. The Congress did not leave any original Chinese documentary archives, and the Chinese versions of the first program and resolution of the CPC it adopted were both translated from foreign languages and were dated only July 1921.
In the early days of the CPC, under the difficult war environment and the White terror, it was impossible to organize large-scale unified activities to celebrate its birthday, nor did the Party have the time and energy to verify the exact date of its First Congress.
After the Red Army reached northern Shaanxi Province in the Long March, a more stable base centered on Yan'an was gradually established. After the Lugouqiao Incident (also known as the July 7th Incident) in 1937, a second period of KMT-CPC cooperation was established, thus relaxing the domestic political environment for the CPC. In 1938, to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the Party, many people in the counter-Japanese bases, especially in Yan'an, asked Mao Zedong and Dong Biwu, who had participated in the First Congress, about the exact date of the Congress. However, Mao Zedong and Dong Biwu could not remember.
"Let's make the first day of July its anniversary.”Mao Zedong and Dong Biwu replied after discussion. Soon after, when Mao Zedong gave the speech" On Protracted War,”he made it clear," July 1 this year will be the 17th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.” The first official document affirming July 1 as the birth anniversary of the CPC and calling for commemorative activities was the directive issued by the Central Committee on the 20th birth anniversary of the CPC in June 1941. Since then, commemorating the Party's birth anniversary on July 1 has become a routine activity of the Party, and since the founding of the People's Republic of China, it has also become a routine activity of China. This suggests that July 1 is a symbolic date of the Party's anniversary, not the actual date.
It was not until the late 1970s that Professor Shao Weizheng, a famous expert in Party history, through rigorous and careful examination of the whereabouts of the delegates, indirect events that could be used, weather, and written records of the time, finally came to the conclusion that the exact opening date of the Party's First Congress was July 23, 1921. This result was widely accepted and recognized. However, the Party's birth anniversary of July 1 that is marked has remained in use until today.
III. The Second Party Congress Adopted the First Party Constitution in the History of the Party
The Constitution of the Communist Party of China, adopted at the Second Party Congress in 1922, was the Party's first Constitution. It made specific provisions on the condition of Party membership and Party discipline, which were of great significance to the strengthening of the Party. It was presented through provisions, with a total of six chapters and 29 articles, and centered on establishing tight Party organizations at all levels and tightening Party discipline.
1. Formulating more detailed regulations on the conditions of Party membership and procedures for joining the Party
The condition of Party membership was:"All, regardless of nationality and sex, who recognize the Party's Manifesto and Constitution and are willing to serve the Party faithfully shall be members of the Party." The procedures for joining the Party were: "An applicant shall be introduced by a Party member... and shall not become a full Party member until after being reviewed and approved by the Regional and Central Executive Committees.”
2. Establishing the framework of a tight organizational system of the Party
Chapter 2,"Organization," contained seven articles, which provided detailed regulations on the organizational structure of the Party, the method of forming executive committees, their terms of office, and the powers and functions of the organizations at all levels. From the primary to the central level, there were five levels of organization: group, branch, local executive committee, regional executive committee, and central executive committee. Lenin argued that organization could strengthen one's power tenfold. The Constitution adopted by the Second Party Congress shaped the prototype of the organizational system of the CPC and was of great pioneering significance.
3. Devoting a chapter to discipline for the first time
The chapter of nine articles on discipline had the largest number of articles to become the largest part of the entire Party Constitution, accounting for nearly one third of the content. One of the core ideas was to maintain a high degree of consistency with the Central Executive Committee, stipulating,"Subordinate organs shall fully implement the orders of higher organs, and where they fail to do so, the higher organs may cancel or reorganize them." Another core idea was to strengthen the regulation of multiple party memberships and concurrent offices, stipulating, "No member of the Party shall join any other political party without the permission of the Central Executive Committee.”In addition, for the first time, disciplinary punishment was provided for, specifying only one type of disciplinary sanction——"expulsion”for six types of violations actions.
4. Establishing a complete system of meetings and more operative regulations on the use of funds
A regular six-meeting system was established from meetings of groups to the National Congress. A distinction was made between the frequency of meetings of different levels of Party organizations and between meetings of officials and meetings of Party members. A special chapter on“funding”was created, stipulating that Party members with different jobs and monthly salaries shall pay monthly Party membership dues ranging from one yuan to 20 cents, and,“Unemployed workers and members in prison are exempt from paying Party membership dues.”It was made clear that other sources of the income of the Party were“intra-Party contributions”and “extra-Party aid.”
5. Clearly reflecting the basic idea of the Party's principle of democratic centralism for the first time
Many provisions in the Party Constitution, such as "The National Congress shall be the supreme organ of the Party. When the National Congress is not in session, the Central Executive Committee shall be the supreme organ," "The members of the Party shall absolutely defer to the resolutions of the National Congress and the Central Executive Committee,”"All meetings of the Party shall adopt resolutions by the majority of votes cast, and the minority shall absolutely defer to the majority,”initially embodied the organizational principles of individual Party members deferring to Party organizations, lower-level Party organizations deferring to higher-level Party organizations, the minority deferring to the majority, and all organizations and members of the Party deferring to the Central Committee.
This first Constitution of the Party created the framework structure and basic style of the Party Constitution, which have been in use for a long time, and provided the basis and the mother text for the formulation and revision of future Party Constitutions. This is the special historic contribution of the Party Constitution adopted at the Second Party Congress.
IV. Why Was the Sixth Party Congress Held Abroad and Where Exactly Was It Held in Moscow?
The Sixth Party Congress was the only congress the Party held abroad in its history. It was held after nearly a year of deliberation and preparation. In the days of raging White terror in China, it was difficult for the Party to find a safe place to meet. Soon, when the CPC Central Committee learned that the Fourth Congress of the Red International of Labor Unions and the Sixth Congress of the Communist International would be held in Moscow in the spring and summer of 1928 respectively, and that the Fifth Congress of the Young Communist International would also be held there. Considering that the CPC would send delegates to these congresses, and that its Central Committee was also eager to receive timely guidance from the Communist International, it was decided the Sixth Party Congress would be held in Moscow based on the consent of the Communist International.
As for the venue of the Sixth Party Congress, it was vaguely described as an old aristocratic estate in the suburbs of Moscow. But when it came to where this estate was, opinions were divided, with some believing it was in town of Zvenigorod in northwestern Moscow while others claimed that it was in the village of Pervomaisky in southern Moscow. The reason for this is that many of the participants in the Sixth Congress, such as Zhou Enlai, Qu Qiubai, Li Lisan, Cai Hesen, and Wang Ruofei, simply said that the Sixth Congress was held in Moscow or its suburbs, without specifying the name of the site. Later, someone wrote in his memoirs that it was held in Zvenigorod.
As a result, when many Chinese writings introduced the Sixth Party Congress, most of them said it was held in Zvenigorod, and some said it took place in Pervomaisky. However, although the site was named differently, the same pictures were used. In fact, they were all the pictures of the three-story building in Pervomaisky, which many of my colleagues at the Institute of Party History and Literature of the CPC Central Committee have visited.
After efforts, we finally found three original archival documents that can clearly prove that the Sixth Party Congress was held in Pervomaisky, including the“Minutes of Zhou Enlai's Report at the First Meeting of the Military Commission at the Sixth Party Congress" (June 27, 1928). All these documents used the site of“Pervomaisky Village, Naro-Fominsky District, Oblast,”and the date of the Sixth Congress.
Some 88 years later on July 4, 2016, a ceremony was held in Moscow, Russia, for the completion of the permanent exhibition hall at the site of the Sixth Congress of the CPC under the direct attention of the Chinese and Russian leaders, with the full support of the Russian parties concerned and through the joint efforts of the Chinese and Russian people. Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, President of the People's Republic of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, delivered congratulatory speeches on the completion of the Museum of the Site of the Sixth Congress of the CPC.
This is China's only museum of the history of the CPC abroad, which was completed to mark the 95th anniversary of the Party, is the Chinese business card of the Belt and Road Initiative, and more importantly, is a historical witness of the friendship between China and Russia.
V. The Seventh Party Congress Affirmed Mao Zedong Thought as the Guiding Thought of the Party
Mao Zedong Thought is the theory resulting from the first historic adaptation of Marxism to the Chinese context. At the Seventh Congress, Mao Zedong called innovated and developed Marxism“fragrant Marxism and“living Marxism," while referring self-contained and copied Marxism to "smelly Marxism and“dead Marxism." He stressed that only“fragrant”and "living Marxism could solve China's problems. The Party's historical experience proves that to use the fundamental tenets of Marxism-Leninism to study and solve the problems of the Chinese revolution requires the courage and boldness to create theories in practice.
During the Great Revolution, Mao Zedong's analysis of classes in Chinese society, his investigations on the peasant movement and his theories on the peasant question were all original. During the Agrarian Revolutionary War, he led his troops to establishing the first rural revolutionary base in the Jinggang Mountains, pioneering the path of surrounding the cities from the countryside and taking political power by armed force. During the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, with the tremendous development of revolutionary practice and the continuous review of historical and fresh experiences, many of Mao Zedong's ideas were developed in many ways. In his report“On the New Stage”at the enlarged Sixth Plenary Session of the Sixth CPC Central Committee, he clearly put forward the proposition of adapting Marxism to the Chinese context. From“On Practice”and“On Contradiction to“Problems of Strategy in China's Revolutionary War" and“On Protracted War,”to“The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party”and“On New Democracy, and to“Reform Our Study" and“Rectify the Party's Style of Work,”these works fully demonstrate that by the late 1930s and early 1940s, Mao Zedong's ideas resulting from the adaptation of Marxism to the Chinese context had become complete theories.
The formation of the well-perceived concept of Mao Zedong Thought underwent a process. In March 1941, Party theoretician Zhang Ruxin coined the term“Mao Zedong's thought.”On July 5, 1943, Wang Jiaxiang first coined the concept of Mao Zedong Thought.”On July 6 of the same year, Liu Shaoqi also used the concept of“Mao Zedong's thought”and“Mao Zedong's system of thought”in an article marking the 22nd anniversary of the Party.
At the Seventh Congress, for the first time since its founding, the Party affirmed the great theories, which it had painstakingly obtained based on the adaptation Marxism to the Chinese context, as its guiding thought. Mao Zedong later recalled that it was not until the Party's Seventh Congress since its founding that“our entire Party had reached complete consensus.”
VI. Mao Zedong First Stated at the Eighth Party Congress That “Modesty Makes People Progress, Pride Makes People Lag Behind” and Called for Learning from Advanced Countries, Fraternal Parties, and Peoples
The Eighth Party Congress was a very important congress in the history of the CPC. It proclaimed the basic tasks of the socialist revolution and the basic establishment of the socialist system in China. It also clearly set forth the main tasks of the Party and the people of the country in the new context. In his opening speech at the congress, Mao Zedong made the famous assertion that “modesty makes people progress, pride makes people lag behind.”
He stated that the task currently facing the Chinese Communists was "to change a backward agricultural China into an advanced industrialized China.”According to him, the work before the CPC was very difficult and its experience was not enough, so "we must be good at learning. We must be good at learning from our advanced counterpart, the Soviet Union; from the people's democratic countries; from the fraternal parties around the globe; and from the peoples of the world.” Mao Zedong emphasized,“Countries, no matter how big or small, have their own strengths and weaknesses," and “Modesty makes people progress, pride makes people lag behind; we must remain committed to this truth.”
With these passionate words, Mao Zedong expressed the ambition of the Chinese Communists to build a new socialist country, which resonated strongly with the delegates. With less than 2,500 words, this opening speech drew 34 rounds of applause.“Modesty makes people progress, pride makes people lag behind”has thus become a famous saying that has spread far and wide and taken root in people's hearts.
Li Xuefeng, who was elected as a member of the Eight Party Central Committee and member of its Secretariat, recalled that on the opening day of the Eight National Congress, Chairman Mao delivered the opening speech. The chairman was very satisfied with the opening speech. He told us excitedly during the congress,“An opening speech was first drafted by Chen Boda, and I read it but did not think it would work, so I drafted one myself. I showed mine to Tian Jiaying who complained that it was full of slogans and would not work either. The opening speech we have now was written by Tian Jiaying.” Chairman Mao always paid attention to the role of young people, and appreciated their spirit of not being bound by rules and regulations and daring to think and act, and Tian Jiaying was one of them.
VII. The Proposition of "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics" Was Introduced at the 12th Party Congress
On September 1, 1982, Deng Xiaoping categorically stated in his opening speech of the 12th Party Congress,“In carrying out our modernization program we must proceed from Chinese realities.... We must integrate the universal truth of Marxism with the concrete realities of China, blaze a path of our own and build a socialism with Chinese characteristics—that is the basic conclusion we have reached after reviewing our long history.”Building socialism with Chinese characteristics thus became the banner that united the Chinese people throughout the country for reform, opening up and modernization.
The important proposition of building socialism with Chinese characteristics was a continuation and development of the Party's line and principles implemented since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee. In 1979, Deng Xiaoping stated in his article "Uphold the Four Cardinal Principles "that just as we had previously carried out the democratic revolution, we must adapt our development to China's specific situation and follow a path of Chinese-style modernization. In his speech marking the 30th anniversary of the People's Republic of China in 1979, Ye Jianying initially reviewed the basic experience of China's development.
After more than two years of new exploration after the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Party Central Committee, this Central Committee declared at its Sixth Plenary Session in 1981,"Our Party has gradually blazed a correct path to socialist modernization that suits China's situation.”For the first time, the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People's Republic of China adopted at this Plenary Session systematically summarized the main content of this path as ten main aspects including: gaining a full understanding of the principal contradictions in Chinese society, pursuing development based on China's realities to achieve modernization in a step-by-step and phased manner, implementing a management system and distribution methods suitable for economic sectors, acquiring a full understanding of and correctly handling the class struggle in socialist society, and strengthening the Party in power.
Although this Resolution did not yet use the concept of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" to refer to this new path, the basic content of this path was already fundamentally different from the Party's traditional understanding of socialism before the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee. After mistakes and twists and turns, the Party's understanding of how to build socialism was no longer the same as it was in the 1950s when the Soviet experience was taken as a guideline ignorantly. "Since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee, the Party has returned to its correct policies in the economic, political, cultural and other fields. In addition, after a study of the new situation and new experience, it has adopted a series of correct new policies. Our Party now has a much deeper understanding of the laws governing China's socialist construction than it did at the time of the Eighth Congress, and it has become much more experienced, purposeful and determined to implement correct principles.”
The important mission of building socialism with Chinese characteristics was put forward on the basis of reviewing the successes and failures on the issue of building socialism since the Eighth Party Congress. In 1956, Mao Zedong proposed taking warning from the lesson of the Soviet Union in his essay "On the Ten Major Relationships," highlighting for the first time the important issue of following a development path suitable for China's national conditions. The Eighth Congress also determined some correct policies for economic development based on these conditions, and began to explore the issue of reform under the socialist system, which got off to a good start. In the following two decades or so, due to the influence of the "Left" errors and the Cultural Revolution, serious mistakes were made in the exploration. The basic conclusion the Party had reached after reviewing its long history was: blaze a path of its own and build socialism with Chinese characteristics.
VIII. At the 18th Party Congress, Migrant Worker Delegates Appeared at a Party Congress as a Group for the First Time
The election of delegates to the Party Congresses has always attracted much attention.
"It is a reflection of the Party's democracy that I, a migrant worker, can participate in this 18th Party Congress. At the Beijing Olympics, a foreign reporter asked me what a migrant worker was, and my summary was a farmer who does the work of a worker under the basic conditions of a farmer." This is what Yu Kaixin, a construction worker delegate to 18th Party Congress from Hubei, said during a group deliberation at that congress. "As a member of the group of hundreds of millions of migrant workers, Im surprised to be finally elected as a delegate, but more importantly, I feel immensely honored," said Cheng Junrong, a delegate from Jiangsu Province, when he learned through a friend’s congratulatory text message that he had been elected as a delegate to the 18th Congress.
At the 18th Congress, the 26 migrant workers were extraordinarily impressive.
In October 2011, the CPC Central Committee issued the Circular on the Election of Delegates to the 18th National Party Congress, a comprehensive plan for the election. It determined that there would be 2,270 delegates to the 18th Congress, 50 more than the 17th Congress, to be elected by 40 electoral units across the country through competitive elections with the number of candidates exceeding the number of vacancies by more than 15 percent.
According to the rules of the Central Committee, the three-step election procedure was mandatory for the election of delegates to the 18th Congress. In Jiangsu, at the first step, primary-level Party organizations nominated 37,389 candidates; at the second step, county, city and district Party committees and the Party committees of relevant organizations selected and recommended 1,535 candidates. At the last step, the organizations directly under municipal and provincial Party committees recommended 90 preliminary candidates to the Jiangsu Provincial Party Committee. Each of the second and third rounds of recommendations were referred back to the next lower level of Party organizations and their members.
Making the list of preliminary candidates open for public information was integral for ensuring that Party members were informed. On the basis of making the list of preliminary list of candidates open for public information in the form of Party documents for the first time at the 17th Congress, the election of delegates to the 18th Congress clearly required that the information made open about the preliminary candidates be further enriched and the way it was made open be improved. Hubei Province was the first electoral unit to publicize the selection of delegates through the Party newspapers, television and other media. According to statistics, a total of 11 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government successively publicized their lists of preliminary candidates through this way. All other electoral units made their lists of preliminary candidates open for public information through Party documents and networks for improving the Party. Some electoral units fine-tuned their lists of candidates.
On August 13, 2012, the list of delegates to the 18th Congress was officially announced to the public. There were 2,268 regular delegates and 57 non-voting delegates. The average age of the elected delegates was 52 years old, of whom 114 were under 35 years old, accounting for 5 percent, an increase of 1.9 percentage points compared with the 17th Congress. The oldest, Jiao Ruoyu, former mayor of Beijing, was born in December 1915 and joined the CPC in 1936; the youngest was Jiao Liuyang, who just won the women's 200 meters butterfly gold medal at the London Olympics, was born in March 1990 and joined the CPC in 2008. There is a 74-year age difference and a 72-year difference in Party standing between them. This reflects that the Party is sustained through generations, is thriving and has successors waiting in the wings.
The election results highlighted the distinctive features of the delegate composition: among the elected delegates, the number of worker Party members increased from 51 at the 17th Congress to 169, accounting for 7.4 percent of the total number of delegates, an increase of 5.1 percentage points over the 17th Congress. Some 10.4 percent of the elected delegates from provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government and the Beijing-based central government enterprises were worker party members, an increase of 7.1 percentage points over the 17th Congress.
These worker delegates were both industrial workers from the energy mining, iron and steel smelting, machinery manufacturing, textiles, brewing and other industries, and drivers, salespersons and waiters from the transportation, municipal sanitation and finance and trade industries; both operation stars of large state-owned enterprises and technical experts from non-public economic organizations, etc.
Since the reform and opening up policy was implemented, migrant workers have become an important part of workers and brought new blood into the workforce. At the 18th Congress, 26 rural migrant workers became its delegates for the first time. These delegates who appeared at the Party Congress for the first time as a group left an indelible mark in the history of Party Congresses and of the Party as a whole.
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