Xi Jinping said Wednesday that the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved, as socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era.[Special Coverage]
Xi made the remarks in a report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing.
"What we now face is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life," he said.
The evolution of the principal contradiction represents a "historic shift that affects the whole landscape and that creates many new demands for the work of the Party and the country," Xi said.
Previously the principal contradiction was described as one between "the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social production."
China has seen the basic needs of over a billion people met, has basically made it possible for people to live decent lives, and will soon bring the building of a moderately prosperous society to a successful completion, he said.
The needs to be met for the people to live a better life are increasingly broad. Not only have their material and cultural needs grown; their demands for democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security, and a better environment are increasing, he said.
"While China's overall productive forces have significantly improved and in many areas our production capacity leads the world, our problem is that our development is unbalanced and inadequate," he said.
"This has become the main constraining factor in meeting the people's increasing needs for a better life," Xi said.
Despite the evolution of the principal contradiction, China "is still and will long remain in the primary stage of socialism," and China's international status as the world's largest developing country has not changed, Xi said.
He demands the whole Party be "completely clear about this fundamental dimension of our national context," and "base our work on this most important reality -- the primary stage of socialism."
The congress, China's most significant political event in five years, came at "the decisive stage in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and at a critical moment as socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era."
Xi said the CPC has drawn up a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of the century, calling the plan the CPC's "strategic vision for developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era."
In the first stage from 2020 to 2035, the CPC will build on the foundation created by the moderately prosperous society with a further 15 years of hard work to see that socialist modernization is basically realized, according to the plan.
In the second stage from 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, the CPC will, building on having basically achieved modernization, work hard for a further 15 years and develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful, according to the plan.