The Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping

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Nothing Can Be Accomplished Without A Stable Political Environment




June 29, 1987


Our Party’s Thirteenth National Congress will reaffirm the principles and policies formulated since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee in 1978, in particular the policies of reform and opening to the outside world. Not only will these policies be continued–indeed, they will be carried out more boldly in domains where we have not done enough–but political restructuring will also be put on the agenda.

The reform of the political structure covers both democracy and the legal system. In China those two are connected. People tend to associate democracy with the United States, assuming that the U.S. system is the ideal democratic system. We cannot copy your system. I believe you understand that. If China adopted your system, with multiparty elections and separation of the three powers, there would be chaos. If one group of people took to the streets today and another group did so tomorrow, with a population of one billion, there would be trouble 365 days a year, and then how could we carry on? Where would we find the energy for development? So our problems cannot be approached from your point of view.

China’s main objective is to develop, shake off backwardness, strengthen the nation and gradually raise the standard of living. In order to accomplish this, it is essential to have a stable political environment. Without that, nothing can be accomplished. China has its own special conditions, which I am certain we in China understand somewhat better than our foreign friends do. In our political restructuring we shall emphasize the importance of both socialist democracy and the socialist legal system. While stressing the development of democracy, we shall also stress education, especially the education of our young people, so that they will have high ideals and a strong sense of discipline.

(Excerpt from a talk with James Carter, former President of the United States. )



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