BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- It was the summer of 1921. A dozen Communist Party of China (CPC) members were forced to leave a small building in the French concession area of Shanghai, and boarded a boat on Nanhu Lake in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, concluding the first National Congress of the CPC.
The meeting marked a new chapter in history. Since then, the Party has managed to lead a vulnerable country to move closer toward the world's center stage.
After 98 years, the CPC has grown from a small party of about 50 members into the world's largest ruling party, with more than 90 million members.
China has developed from an impoverished country to the second-largest economy with a GDP worth 90 trillion yuan (13.1 trillion U.S. dollars). The Chinese nation has stood up, grown rich and is becoming strong.
The CPC and socialism with Chinese characteristics have maintained stability and vitality in the tide of global changes.
"We believe China must have a bright future," said Fang Zhimin, a CPC martyr, in his final article before he died in 1935. The essay, remembered by CPC members of generations, was recited at a high-level symposium of the Party in 2018.
Ever since the Party's founding, communism has been its supreme ideal, with thousands of people devoting their lives to achieving it. This ideal that unites all Party members has been rock-solid for 98 years.
It was stressed clearly at the very beginning of the report delivered at the 19th National Congress of the CPC that the original aspiration and mission of Chinese communists is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
China is now the largest socialist country in the world.
However, achieving national rejuvenation will take more than drum beating and gong clanging.
The Party, therefore, focuses on carrying a series of great struggles with new characteristics.
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, called for progressing the long march of the new era at the 19th National Congress of the CPC.
During the Long March, between 1934 and 1936, the CPC wowed the world with their firm ideals and convictions. Today, the "Long March spirit" still encourages all Party members and guides their way ahead.
The faith in and commitment to Marxism is an identification that the CPC will never abandon.
Unlike what is described in "China collapse theory," China is doing the opposite with rising composite national strength and improved living standards. It has been proved in practice that only being guided by Marxism, and steadily forging ahead on the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, can China achieve positive solutions and results.
China held a gathering in May 2018 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth, which was regarded as a tribute to the "greatest thinker" in history and shows the "firm belief" in the scientific truth of Marxism.
Understanding the consequences of ossification in thinking, the CPC has been advancing the theoretical explorations and adapting Marxism to a Chinese context.
The reform and opening up, which started in 1978, is the most distinctive feature of contemporary China. The process is a dynamically compiled history of ideas, institutions and innovation.
The CPC has promoted a "new normal" in economic development, a vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, while pursuing supply-side structural reform as the main task and accelerating the development of a modern economy.
Huang Wenxiu, the Party chief of Baini Village in the city of Baise in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, died this June in a mountain flood, at the age of 30.
Huang, who graduated from Beijing Normal University, was one of tens of thousands of Party officials who had been deployed to the frontline of poverty alleviation across the country.
Over the past 40 years, more than 700 million Chinese people have cast off poverty, contributing over 70 percent to global poverty reduction.
China has made arduous efforts and even sacrifices to lift all rural residents living below the current poverty line out of poverty by 2020. From 2013 to 2016, over 120 CPC members lost their lives working toward poverty alleviation.
The struggles of the CPC form a history of the Party, which comes from the people and relies on the people. The mass line is a treasure of the Party.
Important statements made by the CPC leaders are people-centered -- "The Chinese Dream is, after all, a dream of the people;"" No one should be left behind as the country marches toward building a moderately prosperous society in all respects;" "We must see that the gains of reform and development benefit all our people in a fair way."
All this aims to meet the promise made by the CPC -- "the aspirations of the people to live a better life must always be the focus of our efforts."
Unlike many western political parties, the CPC represents the majority of the people and their interests in the long run, said Zhang Weiwei, head of the China Institute of Fudan University.
"The key to national core competitiveness is whether the country has the political ability to represent its people and their long-term interests," Zhang said.
SELECTING THE TALENTED
The CPC values the selection of talents and has established an effective system of cadre cultivation, selection, arrangement and management. The talent selection practice of the CPC has received recognition from other parties around the world.
Performance assessment on CPC cadres includes multiple aspects, such as economic development, employment, social insurance and environmental protection.
China's personnel system, further reformed after the 18th National Congress of the CPC, consists of strict and standardized procedures of selection, appointment and assessment.
The Party's training system for cadres is the largest in scale in the world. Ranging from group study sessions of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau to Party schools at all levels and training programs held by the CPC and universities at home and abroad, the massive training projects help the Party enhance its capability of governance to tackle new challenges.
"Going in for a big exam in the capital city," an expression proposed by late Chinese leader Mao Zedong, has been quoted by many leaders of the CPC. It not only refers to guiding the reform and development of the country but also means self-actualization and improvement.
It is rare to find a political party that can consistently conduct self-examination, timely eliminate internal problems and strictly punish corrupt members.
The CPC shows a strong sense of self-regulation. "We can be defeated by no one but ourselves."
The spirit and capability of self-reform are the most distinctive aspect of the CPC, which enables the Party to deal with deep-buried interests and break through the blockades of vested interests.
"The reason why our Party has the courage of self-reform is that our Party has no special interests of its own except the interests of the state, the nation and the people," Xi said.
In June 2019, the CPC launched a campaign themed "staying true to our founding mission," which showed the Party's determination to remove whatever undermines the Party's purity and advanced nature.
SOLIDARITY AND UNITY
Leading power is vital to a big country with complicated national conditions, such as China.
The CPC upholds democratic centralism, which is a close combination of democracy and centralism.
The CPC upholds intraparty democracy. Major decisions of the Party and the country are made after hearing opinions and suggestions from different aspects to make decisions scientifically, democratically and in accordance with law.
The decision, once made by the CPC Central Committee, should be strictly implemented. All Party members should closely align themselves with the Central Committee in terms of direction, path, political stance and principles.
The Party exercises overall leadership and coordinates work in all areas. Under the CPC leadership, people's congresses, governments, supervisory, judicial, procuratorial and social organizations work together coordinately and enhance their ability.
The mechanism of the Party's leadership shows clear advantages, said Xie Chuntao, vice president of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
China's mechanism can guarantee the centralized, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee, and maintain political stability, policy continuity and administrative capacity after decision-making, he said.
Global perspective has long been advocated by the CPC.
The CPC remains firm in pursuing independent development, and calls on all nations to understand the world based on universal laws, and make the world a better place.
Xi is committed to "building a community with a shared future for humanity," which has been written into vital documents of the United Nations.
Last year, China held the first import expo in Shanghai, where the first National Congress of the CPC took place. In 2016, the G20 Hangzhou Summit, held in Zhejiang Province, the birthplace of the "Red Boat Spirit", put efforts into the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for the first time.
The vitalized CPC and socialism with Chinese characteristics not only explore the path towards modernization for developing countries but also provide Chinese wisdom and solutions for universal challenges.
The CPC is striving to achieve its first centenary goal -- to complete building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
Once achieved, it will be a great cause with global impacts made by a vast country of nearly 1.4 billion people, as well as strong proof of "striving for the cause of human progress," a promise made by the CPC.
(Video reporters: Wu Xia, Cen Zhilian, Zhao Yong; Video editor: Liu Yuting)