Two centuries on, despite huge and profound changes in human society, the name of Karl Marx is still respected all over the world and his theory still shines with the brilliant light of truth, Chinese President Xi Jinping said here Friday.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks at a grand gathering to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Marx's birth.
The gathering, Xi said, is a tribute to the "greatest thinker" of history and shows "our firm belief" in the scientific truth of Marxism.
Inside the Great Hall of the People, a giant portrait of Marx was hung, flanked by two rows of red flags, facing about 3,000 participants.
On the opposite side, a banner reads "Rally closely around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, uphold and develop Marxism and strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era!"
Senior leaders including Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng, and Wang Qishan were present. Wang Huning presided over the gathering.
It capped a series of celebrations, held in recent weeks by both the government and the public, young and old, online and offline, to commemorate Marx.
Two days ago, Xi visited Peking University where the story of Marxism in China began.
The People's Daily hailed Marxism's crucial role in China's modernization in an editorial. "While the world has come to a 'crossroad', China is unfazed... Marxism is key to China's stability and development," it said.
"In the new era, Chinese Communists still need to learn from Marx," Xi told Friday's gathering. "Let the wonderful pictures of human society envisioned by Marx and Friedrich Engels keep rolling out in the land of China."
Xi said Marx is the "teacher of revolution for the proletariat and working people all over the world, the main founder of Marxism, creator of Marxist parties, a pathfinder for international communism and the greatest thinker of modern times."
"Today, we hold this grand gathering with great veneration to mark the 200th anniversary of Marx's birth, to remember his great character and historic deeds and to review his noble spirit and brilliant thoughts," Xi said.
With noble ideals and no fear of difficulty or adversity, throughout his life, Marx devoted himself to perseveringly striving for the liberation of humanity, scaling the peak of thought in his pursuit of truth, and the unremitting fight to overturn the old world and establish a new one, according to Xi.
Marx is not only a great figure who bore the weight of the world, but also an ordinary person with passion for life, who was sincere and true to friendship.
Xi said the most valuable and influential spiritual asset that Marx left us is the scientific theory named after him -- Marxism. Like a spectacular sunrise, the theory illuminated the path of humanity's exploration of the rule of history, and humanity's search for their own liberation.
"The thought and theory of Marx are of his times and go beyond his times," Xi said. "They are the essence of the spirit of that times and the essence of the spirit of all humanity."
Xi said Marxism is a scientific theory that reveals the rule of human society development in a creative manner.
Having developed the materialist conception of history and surplus value theory, Marx showed how humanity would leap from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom and the road for the people to realize freedom and liberation, Xi said.
Marxism, the first ideology for the liberation of the people themselves, is a theory of the people.
"Marxism, for the first time, explored the path for humanity's freedom and liberation from the stance of the people, and pointed out the direction, with scientific theory, toward an ideal society with no oppression or exploitation, where every person would enjoy equality and freedom," Xi said.
Stressing that practicality is a prominent characteristic of Marxism that makes it different from other theories, Xi said Marxism is a theory of practices that directs the people to change the world.
It is an open theory that is constantly developing and always stands at the frontier of the times, Xi said. "That is why it is always able to keep young, explore the new issues in the development of times and respond to the new challenges for human society."
The general secretary said that over the 170 years since the publication of The Communist Manifesto, Marxism had been spread around the world, unrivaled in the history of human ideology in terms of the breadth and depth of its influence.
After the end of World War II, a large number of socialist countries were established, Xi said, stressing that the founding of the People's Republic of China, especially, has greatly increased the socialist strength in the world.
"There might be setbacks in the development of socialism in the world, but the overall trend for human society development has never changed, and it will never change," Xi said.