Combo photo taken on July 15, 2020 shows villagers' smiles in Shenshan Village of Jinggangshan, east China's Jiangxi Province. (Xinhua/Peng Zhaozhi)
Going over the history of the Communist Party of China (CPC), it is an unassailable fact that the Party always has the support of the people.
International polls have indicated over and again that Chinese people's approval ratings of the CPC and the government rank the highest worldwide.
Last year, a report by Harvard University based on its survey in China spanning 13 years shows that the Chinese people's overall satisfaction toward the central government exceeds 93 percent.
So how does the CPC sustain this widespread support over a century?
EVERYTHING IS FOR THE PEOPLE
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said the Party has won the people's wholehearted support because it has always served the people with heart and soul and strived for the well-being of all ethnic groups.
It is enshrined in the CPC Constitution that the Party has no special interests of its own. "In its own work, the Party shall follow the mass line, seeing that everything is for the people and everything relies on the people."
Passing down generations of Chinese leaders and CPC members, this people-oriented philosophy has been the underlying dynamic for the CPC to lead the Chinese people fighting for national independence and striving for socialist modernization.
Since the start of the reform and opening-up in the late 1970s, more than 770 million people had been lifted out of poverty in continuous poverty relief efforts led by the CPC. In early 2021, Xi declared that China had eliminated absolute poverty.
"What we have seen is a party that had never let down its guard, a party that has been consistently toiling on behalf of the Chinese people, appreciating its historic role and the choice by the Chinese people and history," said Charles Onanaiju, director of Nigeria's Center for China Studies.
The people-oriented approach of governance also demonstrated its strength in the country's battle against coronavirus last year.
China emerged among the first countries to contain the virus. It made COVID-19 treatment free-of-charge, pledging to treat every patient and leave no one unattended.
"We saved lives at all costs. We never gave up no matter how old a patient was or how serious their condition was," Xi said.
The oldest COVID-19 patient saved in China is 108 years old.
"The leadership of the CPC clearly has the support of the people of China," said Stephen Perry, chairman of Britain's 48 Group Club, who spoke to friends in China about Wuhan's lockdown. "The basic position of the CPC has been, is, and will continue to be all about the people, hear the people, and get the policies right to meet the needs of the people."
ROOTED IN THE PEOPLE
Recalling his meeting with Xi years ago, Perry said, "I looked into his eyes as he was talking. I could see a man who'd experienced poverty, who'd experienced the life of the peasants of China."
Many Chinese leaders started their careers from the grassroots, going through the difficulties ordinary people face and understanding their needs, which laid a solid foundation for their practical and people-oriented approach in formulating national policies.
"Meat would not grace our tables for months at a time," Xi once said, referring to the days when he was sent to Liangjiahe Village in northwest China's Shaanxi Province as a farmer some five decades ago. "How I wished to treat my fellow villagers to meat at least once."
From a junior local official to China's top leader, Xi has always held dear the wish he had made. Ensuring the rural poor improve their lot has been his motivation all along.
Many senior officials share similar experiences. They have worked in remote areas and shouldered grave tasks. They have proved their capability in promoting regional and national development in various positions.
Laurence J. Brahm, a senior international fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, studied this unique characteristic of the CPC leadership and concluded: "They know the entire structure of the economy and the psychology of people in being able to address their needs and respond accordingly."
In just decades, the Party led the country's massive transformation, bringing huge economic and social benefits to the people.
China's per capita disposable income reached 32,189 yuan (about 5,024 U.S. dollars) in 2020, more than double the level in 2010, with 400 million middle-income earners of its total population of over 1.4 billion.
The country has the largest social security system globally, with basic medical insurance covering over 1.3 billion people and basic old-age insurance covering about 1 billion. The average life expectancy of the Chinese has risen to 77.3 years.
British scholar and political commentator Martin Jacques said he believed the reason why the CPC enjoys a lot of support is that it managed to deliver a tremendous transformation for the Chinese people.
RESOLUTELY FIGHTING CORRUPTION
Corruption, a common problem faced by all political parties, is a disease people hate most. And it is precisely what the CPC is determined to address thoroughly.
Since 2012, the Party has investigated and punished corrupt officials -- including some high-ranking officials -- on a scale unseen in decades.
Xi said: "We will strike both the 'tigers' (high-ranking corrupt officials) and swat the 'flies' (low-ranking corrupt officials), and advance the system under which officials don't dare to, are unable to, and have no desire to commit acts of corruption as a whole."
Ahmed Bahaa El-Din Shaaban, secretary-general of the Egyptian Socialist Party, believes that a significant factor behind the CPC's success is its ability to keep itself clean through continuous anti-corruption campaigns.
Moreover, the Party has combined internal supervision with state and public scrutiny, coordinating it with legal, democratic, auditing, and judicial supervision and also scrutiny by public opinion. Together, they create a powerful synergy for conducting oversight.
The resolute fight against corruption has resulted in surging public support. According to a survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics, 97.3 percent of the respondents expressed satisfaction with the improvement of Party conduct, the working practices of government officials, and social morality.
"History has provided ample proof that the state is the people, and the people are the state," Xi said. "With the people's trust and support, the Party can overcome all hardships and remain invincible."