South Asian Theoretical Workshop in China

Srideep Bhattacharya

ON the invitation of the international department of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Tapati Mukherjee and I attended the South Asian Theoretical Workshop as representatives of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Apart from the CPI(M), representatives of the CPI and the AIFB attended the workshop from India. In total, representatives of 15 Left parties from South Asia participated in it. The parties are the Communist party of Bangladesh (M-L), Workers’ Party of Bangladesh, Communist Party of Bangladesh, Jatio Somajtantrik Dal (Bangladesh), Communist Party of Nepal (United M-L), Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), Communist Party of Nepal (M-L), Communist Party of Nepal (Revolutionary Marxist-Leninist), Workers’ and Peasants Party of Nepal, Peoples’ Liberation Front of Sri Lanka, Communist Party of Sri Lanka, and the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (Sri Lanka). According to reports provided by the organisers, 30 comrades from abroad took part in the workshop.

On August 30, we attended a thematic briefing in Beijing, on innovation driven development in Jiangsu province. Song Tao, minister of international department of the CPC Central Committee, and Liqiang, secretary of CPC Jiangsu provincial committee, presented their reports, followed by a question- answer session. In the same office, there was another seminar related to innovation and development of Jiangsu.

In the second half of the day, Han Jiugen, vice president of the party school in Beijing, made a presentation on the role of CPC in strengthening inner-party governance since its 18th Party Congress. The delegates put forward questions related to party organisation and development. It seems that the CPC is going to give more stress on innovation-led development from the forthcoming 19th Party Congress.

On September 1, Ma Xesong from the CPC international department briefed us about the forthcoming 19th Party Congress. Ma was ambassador in India from 2013 to 2015. As part of the forthcoming Party Congress, lower level conferences are in progress since late 2016. In the afternoon, Hu Chang Shun, deputy director general, General Office, Central Compilations and Translation Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, briefed the South Asian delegation about Xi Jinping’s new thinking, ideas and strategy on state governance. Here, he mentioned about the problems faced by the CPC in the past four decades, since the adoption of reforms in 1978. In the evening, the delegation members were taken to the Red Theatre for acrobatic show.

The next morning, we went to Mao Museum and National Museum of China. Then, we took a bullet train for Jinan in Shandong province the third most advanced state of China.

On September 3, we started for Qufu. Qufu is a place of mansion, temples and tombs related with Confucius. It is a United Nations heritage site.

On September 4, we visited several other places. In the morning, we went to Jibei -- the Economic Development Zone. There we were taken to various industries. After lunch, we went to Jinan Modern Agriculture Demonstrative Zone. Then there was a good experience in Lu Jiaqiao village. Here we got an opportunity to meet local party secretary and local people. Rural people are utilising cooperatives to strengthen village economy. 174 rural households with 724 people are residing in the village. There is a village-level committee to look after all the matters related with the village. There is a party unit with 16 party members who are giving leadership to all the activities of the village.

The next day, we visited two communities under Shizhong district. There were some scope of interactions with the local people. In the evening, a dinner was hosted for us by the Shandong Provincial Foreign Affairs Office. Here, during conversation we could get an idea regarding the party organisation in Shandong. 6.5 million are party members, out of them 1.45 million are women. Recruitment of younger comrades is given special importance. Grassroots level party organisations are being given enough functions and powers, as explained to us. Party school is having an active role in educating the entire party.

On September 6, the South Asian delegation left for Yenan where the China Executive Leadership Academy (CELAY) is situated. Here we saw the auditorium where the 7th Party Congress of the CPC was held in 1942.

On September 7, there were three lectures for us in the morning session. First was on party spirit education in Yenan period by Hou Weigang. The second was on a series of important speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping. It was delivered by Prof. Yang Zhihe. The third lecture was by Prof. Niue Ansheng on the CPC’s practice and experience in comprehensively strengthening party self-discipline.

On September 8, there was a seminar on the topic “Experience in Party Building of Marxist Parties - 100 Years since the October Revolution”. The welcome address was delivered by deputy director of the academy. Representatives from 14 Left parties presented their papers. On behalf of the CPI(M), I presented a paper. Research scholars and social scientists were also present in this workshop. All the parties tried to present the experience gained by them in the process of party building.

The day after, we started for Yenan airport to go to Beijing. On the way to airport, we visited the site of the Sixth Plenary Session of the 6th CPC Central Committee at Qiaoergou. That was once a church. The plenary session lasted for more than 70 days. A seminar of small duration was held there, addressed by Prof. Yang Wenxiang on Sinicisation and development of Marxism in China. September 10 was kept for visiting two important places in Beijing -- Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China.

On September 11, there was a seminar on “theoretical innovations and localisation of Marxism”. It was held at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing. We left Beijing the next day.

The workshop gave an opportunity to 15 Left parties of South Asia to know each other and their ideological and political positions, as the Communist Party of China is going to hold its 19th Party Congress from October 18, so the party wanted to convey to us the main agenda before it -- consolidation of the Party and innovation with localisation of Marxism in Chinese context by the CPC. We could also get a first-hand experience of the tremendous development achieved in China.

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