Friday, 14/12/2018
The Communist Party of Vietnam initiated and has led the renewal process and national development to socialism
23/10/2018 9:30' Send Print
Illustration photo. Image: philosophy.vass.gov.vn

The renewal in Vietnam was initiated by the Communist Party of Vietnam in 1986 while the country was facing severe hardships. The innovation was prompted by reality, concerns and thoughts, "rule-breaking" phenomena, creative ways of doing things of localities and grassroots level. The Party Central Committee directed the study, drawing lessons learnt and experiences, reaching new understanding, thinking and viewpoints, leading to adjusting and renewing policies, guidelines, institutions and development policies conforming to objective reality, creating motivation for national construction. Over the past 30 years of renewal, the Communist Party of Vietnam has developed a system of theoretical viewpoints on socialism and the path to socialism as a scientific basis for planning the Party lines, State policies and law to promote comprehensively and synchronously the renewal process.

Comprehensive and synchronous innovation with focus to achieve the goal of "prosperous people, strong country, democracy, equity and civilization"

The Communist Party of Vietnam has steadfastly pursued its goals of innovation and socialist-oriented development. The goal of comprehensive renovation of the country which is also the goal of building socialism, perceived and formed in the renovation process, supplemented and developed through Party congresses. The 11th Party Congress in 2011 affirmed the goal of building a Vietnam with "prosperous people, strong country, democracy, equity and civilization." Vietnam’s renewal aims at better, more effective implementation of this overarching goal at a higher level. The criteria for evaluating the renovation are reality and results of efforts to bring the country out of crisis and underdevelopment, link economic growth with cultural, social development and human development, and improve people’s living conditions.

In order to successfully achieve this goal, the Communist Party of Vietnam identifies that the innovation is comprehensive and synchronous with focus and key tasks in each period; renovation of thinking is primary to pave the way and drive the innovation. Accordingly, economic innovation and development are the central tasks and must be implemented one step ahead; Party building is critical; culture and people building is the spiritual foundation; national defense and security are crucial and regular tasks; social-political stability is prerequisite for the cause of innovation and development.

With the goal of renewal, through experience, the Communist Party of Vietnam defines eight basic characteristics of the socialist society that the Vietnamese people are building. These characteristics are prosperous people, strong country, democracy, equity and civilization; people are the owner of the country which has a high economic development based on modern production force and appropriate production relations, advanced culture imbued with national identity; people lead plentiful life, enjoy freedom, happiness, and conditions for comprehensive development; ethnic minorities in the Vietnamese community are equal and united, respect and help each other to develop, build the socialist law-governed State of the people, by the people, for the people led by the Communist Party, and has friendly and cooperative relations with people all over the world. These basic characteristics are important orientations for the innovation process which are realized in all aspects of the country's development and reflect the nature of the renovation and national development.

Adopting the viewpoint stating that "Economic development is the central task," Vietnam has focused on building and developing a socialist-oriented market economy. The first issue is to renovate the way of thinking about the institution and model of socialist-oriented economic development. Implementing innovation lines, the Communist Party of Vietnam perceives that "commodity production is not contrary to socialism, but a development achievement of human civilization, an objective existence necessary for the construction of socialism and even when socialism is built." (1) Market economy and capitalism are not synonymous. Hence, the Party confirms that "The overall economic model of the transitional period to socialism in Vietnam is the development of a socialist-oriented market economy."(2) "Continue to perfect socialist-oriented market economy institutions, create a firm foundation for the successful construction and operation of a synchronized, socialist-oriented market economy, contribute to mobilizing, allocating, effectively using all resources to promote fast and sustainable socio-economic development for the goal of "prosperous people, strong country, democracy, equity and civilization." (3) This is a historic innovation in both theory and practice, focusing on the development and perfecting of the socialist-oriented market economy institutions, which clearly identifies and effectively resolves the relations between the state, the market and the society to create synergy for development.

The Communist Party of Vietnam defines human, cultural and social development the important task, goal and orientation of the renovation. Human development is at the heart of the development strategy, people are both the subject and the product of the innovation process; human development is both the goal and the driving force of development. Thus, it is necessary to focus on building the Vietnamese people into the subject of the process of innovation, industrialization, modernization, national development and international integration. In order to carry out this strategic task, the Communist Party of Vietnam advocates the "radical and comprehensive renovation of education and training" to develop and improve the quality of human resources while stepping up and applying scientific and technological advances. Additionally, Vietnam considers the development of education and training together with science and technology the primary national policy in the cause of national renewal and development, especially in the context of the rapid and vigorous fourth industrial revolution without "precedent in history" across the world.

The Communist Party of Vietnam identifies culture the spiritual foundation of society, both the goal and the driving force, an important internal resource for national development. The Communist Party of Vietnam is tasked with building Vietnam's unique value system in the new stage in response to the demands of industrialization, modernization and international integration.

The Communist Party of Vietnam defines that the objectives and achievements of the renewal process must for the people, enhance people's life in all aspects through effective implementation of social policies and the settlement of social issues. With a view to linking economic growth with social progress and equity in each step and each development policy, Vietnam has focused on building, renovating and gradually improving the social welfare system to make it appropriate, flexible, diverse, multi-layered, efficient, modern for international integration. At the same time, it focuses on hunger eradication and poverty alleviation, prioritizes resources for poor localities and ethnic minorities. From 2017, Vietnam has applied a new system of criteria and solutions for sustainable poverty reduction with a multi-dimensional approach in line with the world trend.

Fully aware of the position and importance of social development and sustainable management of social development, the Communist Party of Vietnam attaches great importance to the synchronous implementation of policies and solutions to continuously raise people’s income and quality of life, healthcare, and population, take solutions to manage and harmoniously solve social relations, effectively settle pressing social problems, build a healthy, civilized and safe living environment.

External relation expansion and proactive, active international integration are a crucial strategic orientation of the Communist Party of Vietnam in the process of renewal. The Communist Party of Vietnam has consistently set out and implemented the foreign policy of independence, sovereignty, peace, cooperation and development, diversification and multilateralisation while proactively and actively integrating into the world community. It has striven to be a reliable and responsible member of the international community; ensure the supreme interests of the nation in line the fundamental principles of international law, equality and mutual benefit; resolutely and firmly strive to defend national independence and sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity of the Fatherland, protect the Party, State, people and the socialist regime; elevate the country’s profile and contribute to the cause of peace, national independence, democracy and social progress in the world.

The Party has continued to raise the efficiency of external relation activities; deepen cooperation relations; improve the quality and efficiency of multilateral foreign affairs, proactively and positively contribute to building and shaping multilateral institutions; attach importance to developing cooperation, friendship and traditional relations with neighboring countries; foster relations with important and big partners, be proactive, active and responsible to together with ASEAN countries to build a strong ASEAN Community; broaden, deepen and improve the efficiency of the Party external relations, State diplomacy and people-to-people exchange; resolutely struggle, and sabotage all plots and interventions in the internal affairs, infringement upon independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, national security and political stability of the country.

The Party has led the country to implement strategic orientation of proactive and active international integration; improve the efficiency of international economic integration; fully implement international commitments; formulate and implement strategies to participate in free trade areas with important economic and trade partners; sign and effectively implement new-generation free trade agreements within a comprehensive plan with a reasonable roadmap in line with the interests of the country; proactively participate and uphold Vietnam’s role in multilateral mechanisms, especially ASEAN and the United Nations; promote international integration in the fields of culture, society, science and technology, education and training and other fields; proactively and positively maintain a peaceful and stable environment; and create favorable conditions for the cause of national construction and defense.

Renewing the political system to create a driving force for innovation. The Communist Party of Vietnam identifies that the renewal of the political system plays a key role in strengthening the Party's leadership. Thus it sets out tasks to raise the efficiency and effectiveness of the State management and the quality of operation of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations; promote the people's right to mastery in order to ensure socio-political stability and promote the cause of national renewal and development; particularly, study, perfect, and implement the model of overall organization of the political system in conformity with the requirements of building and perfecting the socialist law-governed State and developing the socialist-oriented market economy, and proactive, and active international integration.

Building and promoting democracy. Fully aware that democracy is a core value of people and society, the goal and the driving force of innovation and development, the Party and State of Vietnam define the core task is to respect, protect and promote human rights and citizen right in association with the responsibilities and obligations of citizens. (This issue was emphasized by President Ho Chi Minh in the Declaration of Independence on 2 September 1945 and has been stipulated in the 1946, 1954, 1980, and 1992 Constitutions and clearly and fully instituted in the 2013 Constitution). Efforts have been made to exercise different forms and methods of democracy, especially direct democracy; and uphold democracy while strengthening order, discipline and observance of law. The Communist Party of Vietnam determines that democracy within the Party is decisive for the development of democracy in the organization and operation of the whole political system in association with democratization of all social life, conducive to social harmony, and strength of the great national unity.

Continuing to build and perfect the socialist law-governed State led by the Party. The Communist Party of Vietnam maintains that this as the key task of political system renewal. The socialist rule-of-law state of Vietnam has absorbed achievements of humanity while maintaining its own identity; this shows the unified state power with delegation, coordination, effective control among the state bodies in the exercise of the legislative, executive and judicial powers while synchronously building power control institutions to overcome power abuse, bureaucracy and corruption.

Bringing into play the role of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, socio-political organizations, socio-professional organizations and mass organizations. The Party has given direction to actively implement and improve the quality of supervision and social criticism of these organization towards activities of Party organizations, state agencies and cadres and Party members; continue perfecting the organizational structure of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations while renewing contents and mode of operation, reaching out to grassroots levels, and members to step by step overcoming "administratization" of socio-political organizations.

Building a clean and strong Party, renewing the Party's mode of leading towards the political and social system, especially the State. This is the key factor decisive to the success of innovation. The Communist Party of Vietnam clearly defines the role and institution of leadership, which is the Party leads the State and society; the Party is responsible for its leadership before the country and people; party organizations and party members operate within the framework of the Constitution and the law. The political system’s operation mechanism is "the Party leads, the State manages and the people are the owners." Work has been done to renovate the Party's leadership style, focusing on renewing the Party's leadership towards the State, respecting and bringing into full play the power of state bodies in the socialist legal regime; renew the work of cadres, raising capacity and quality of cadres and party members, building a contingent of cadres at all levels, especially strategic ones who possess sufficient quality, capability and prestige which is considered a strategic task, "the key of the key tasks"; overcome weaknesses and shortcomings in the organizational structure and operation mechanism of the political system, and build a streamlined, effective and efficient political system.

Outstanding features and lessons learnt during the 30 years of innovation

During seven Congresses since the 6th Congress in 1986 the Communist Party of Vietnam has gradually completed and concretized renovation of orientations; developed, and determined key tasks of each stage. The Party Central Committee has issued many resolutions on important issues; led the National Assembly in institutionalizing the Constitution and laws, creating an increasingly consistent and appropriate legal framework for the innovation process; the Government has concretized them into mechanisms, policies and solutions for governance.

1. The unique characteristic of Vietnam’s innovation is the awareness on more effectively solving big relations.

On relations between innovation, stability and development: the Communist Party of Vietnam considers innovation the driving force, stability condition and premise, fast and sustainable development purposes. Innovation, stability and development are for the people. Man is both the target, the motive force, and the subject of innovation, stability and development.

On relations between economic and political renewal: The Communist Party of Vietnam sets out the task of renovating economy and at the same time renewing the organization and mode of operation of the political system. Economic renovation is integrated closely from the beginning with political renewal, focusing on economic renovation while step by step cautiously and steadfastly reforming the political system and firmly maintaining political stability. Political renovation must be synchronized with economic renewal in an appropriate way, focusing on perfecting the socialist-oriented market economy, promoting comprehensive renovation to achieve the objective of "prosperous people, strong country, democracy, equity and civilization.” Results of the materialization of the objective are considered the highest criteria for assessing the effectiveness of the innovation and development.

On relations between the market economy and socialist orientation: A breakthrough in the perception of the Communist Party of Vietnam is the confirmation that the market economy is not a product of capitalism, but is the common accomplishment of mankind. The market economy itself cannot advance to socialism, but socialist construction must go through the period of market economy development. The socialist-oriented market economy observes the law of the market economy and is oriented, led and regulated by socialist principles and the nature in each stage of development. In essence, awareness and effective application of objective laws of the market economy are aimed at building economic institutions to ensure rapid and sustainable economy growth and development in the interests of the country and people.

On relations between production force development and gradual improvement of the socialist production relations: In the process of renovation, the Communist Party of Vietnam has renovated thinking and adjusted production relations, especially ownership, forms of ownership, and development of a multisector economy to ensure that production relations conform with the development level of the production force to liberate and promote vigorous development of production forces.

On relations between the State, market and society: The Communist Party of Vietnam defines that this as a dialectical relations among the "three pillars" of the socialist-oriented market economy in Vietnam. In which, each subject must promote its positive and strong points and harmoniously coordinate to limit constraints of each subject in the principle of "strong State, efficient market, dynamic and creative society (people, enterprises, social organizations, among others).

On relations between economic growth and cultural development, social progress and equity: The Communist Party of Vietnam has always adopted the viewpoint that economic, cultural and social development is for the people. Economic growth creates resources for cultural development, social progress and equity while good settlement of social issues creates motivation for economic and cultural development; cultural development forms spiritual foundation and generates internal resources for sustainable development.

On relations between socialist construction and defense of the socialist Fatherland: the Communist Party of Vietnam is of the view that national construction must go along with national defense. Defense is a condition for construction; construction produces strength for defense in order to ensure the country's rapid and sustainable development, overcome the risk of economically lagging further behind, defeat hostile forces’ attempts and schemes of "peaceful evolution," prevent, repel "self-evolution," and internal "self-transformation" manifestation.

On relations between independence, self-reliance and international integration: The Communist Party of Vietnam defines that independence and self-reliance are a matter of principle. Thus it is necessary to establish an independent and self-reliant position, including political, economic, cultural, defense and security and external relations self-reliance. Independence and self-reliance must be associated with international integration, improvement of national potential and economic competitive capacity, promotion of internal strength, while bringing into play and effectively capitalizing on external resources, and joining the global value chain.

On relations between the Party leadership, the State management, people's right to mastery: These are the political, social and legal relations between different bodies having different roles, positions, functions and tasks, aiming at the goal of national independence and socialism, democracy, guarantee and promotion of people's right to mastery. The Communist Party of Vietnam attaches great importance to reforming the mode of leadership and ruling through the State, by the State, building a socialist law-governed State, socialist democracy to exercise power and promote people's right to mastery in building the Party and State, supervising and controlling power. Renovation of the relations between Party leadership and State management, people's right to mastery is carried out synchronously in a unified manner in the entire political system from the central to grassroots levels.

The identification and settlement of these big relations marks a new advancement in the Party’s theoretical thinking and practices in renovating, developing the country and building socialism. These relations are closely linked to the goal of innovation, which is "prosperous people, strong country, democracy, equity, civilization." Full awareness and effective settlement of these relations in each stage of development in all areas are conditions and means which ensure the achievement of innovation objectives at a higher level in a more effective, more sustainable manner.

However, reality shows that awareness and handling of these relations must be synchronously implemented, especially the relations between market economy and socialist orientation; between the role of the State, the market and society.

2- Generally, over 30 years of renewal, Vietnam has made great achievements of historic significance.

Vietnam’s renovation is of high, profound and comprehensive significance, a great cause for the goal of "prosperous people, strong country, democracy, equity and civilization." After more than 30 years of renewal, Vietnam has become a middle-income developing country, and is accelerating industrialization, modernization and international integration. Vietnam’s economy has grown relatively well; the socialist-oriented market economy has gradually developed. Socio-economic development has been made; hunger eradication and poverty alleviation have achieved important results; several UN Millennium Development Goals were early achieved which was highly appreciated internationally; changes have been made in the country and people's life. Social and political situation has been stabilized; defense and security have been strengthened. Socialist democracy has been promoted and increasingly expanded. National unity is strengthened. The work of building the Party, socialist law-governed State and political system has been stepped up. The aggregated strength of the country has been raised. Foreign relations have been expanded and deepened. Relations with neighboring countries and ASEAN countries have been strengthened. Viet Nam has established strategic partnerships, comprehensive partnerships with all major, and important countries in the world, proactively and actively participated in the work of the international community, regional and international forums and organizations, and raised the country’s profile.

Over the past years, Vietnam’s macroeconomy has been stable with major balances of the economy secured; total import-export turnover reached US$425 billion, the highest ever. Production and business have recovered and developed comprehensively in all three sectors of industry, agriculture and services. Progress has been made in socio-cultural field. Attention has been paid to social security and welfare. The Party and State have directed the implementation of Party building and reorganization, consolidation of the political system, prevention of corruption, wastefulness, bureaucracy and negative phenomena which have been strengthened in recent time, recorded concrete and positive results and won people’s support and trust in the Party and State. These achievements affirm that the Party renewal lines are correct and creative, creating an important premise, and foundation for the country to continue the innovation and development in the coming years.

However, innovation has not been synchronous and comprehensive. Several targets and criteria set out to turn Vietnam into a modern industrialized country have not been achieved. The economy’s productivity, quality, efficiency and competitiveness are low. There remain constraints and weaknesses in education and training, science and technology, culture, society, and health as well as in forecasting, planning and leading the implementation of Party lines, State management, and social development. Proactive efforts have not been made in some aspects of international integration, hence low effectiveness. The Communist Party of Vietnam has focused its leadership to overcome these problems.

3- Important lessons learnt from successes and failures of the 30-year renewal of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

First, in the process of innovation, it is necessary to be proactive and incessantly creative while persistently striving for the goal of national independence and socialism, creatively applying and developing Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh Thought, inheriting and promoting national tradition, absorbing quintessence of human culture, and applying suitable international experience. Innovation requires consistency without changes in goals and thought, as well as creativeness in implementing the Party's renovation policy.

Second, the renovation must fully perceive the viewpoint that "people is the root" for the benefit of the people, rely on the people, bring into play people’s role of ownership, responsibility, creativity and resources, and promote national unity strength. Innovation which stays aloof of or goes against people’s interests will fail. People’s ideas, aspirations and creative activities are one of the foundations for the Party to develop renewal policy. Innovation must always rely on the people, promote the mastery of the people, and ensure all power belongs to the people.

Third, innovation must be comprehensive and synchronous, take appropriate steps, respect objective rule, come from and closely follow reality, attach importance to review of practices, conduct theoretical study, focus on timely and effectively settlement of problems arising from reality. It must consider the development of reality requirements and basis for renewal of theoretical thinking, guidelines, mechanisms and policies of the Party and State; closely follow reality; attach importance to review of practices, and theoretical study to adjust, supplement and develop renovation policy. In the renovation process, it is necessary to attach importance to implementation with proper and effective steps, forms and ways of doing things, do away with conservatism, inertia, haste, subjectivism, voluntariness, at the same time be proactive, dynamic, constantly creative.

Fourth, it is important to place nation interests first, persistently maintain independence, self-reliance, proactive and active international integration on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, combine national strength with that of the era to build and firmly defend the socialist Fatherland of Vietnam. In any circumstances, it is necessary to persist in independence, self-reliance and proactive and active international integration, combine national strength with that of the time, the national strength with international strength in order to create synergy for rapid and sustainable development of the country and firmly defend the Fatherland.

Fifth, it is necessary to constantly renew, self-rectify, improve the leadership and fighting capacity of the Party, build up the contingent of cadres, especially cadres at strategic level who are qualified, capable and prestigious, on par with their tasks, heighten effectiveness and efficiency of the State, the Vietnam Fatherland Front, socio-political organizations and the entire political system and strengthen close relations with the people. Innovation is a great creative cause, the Party’s wise leadership is a decisive factor for the success of the innovation. Therefore, it is a must to renew and enhance the Party's leadership and taking of power, and build a clean and strong party. Efforts must be made to regularly consolidate the organization, raise the efficiency and effectiveness of the State management; bring into play the role of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and mass organizations in rallying people of all strata and promote the strength of the great national unity bloc for the successful implementation of the cause of renewal.

The new period of development requires the Communist Party of Vietnam, the entire political system and the entire Vietnamese people to strive harder, heighten political acumen, wisdom, and virtues to fulfill the historic mission assigned by country and people, at the same time, constantly be creative and renovate on the basis of creative application and development of Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought, closely follow the reality of the country and the world; learn experiences of other countries to set out appropriate policies and guidelines in line with the new situation, build Vietnam into a strong country with "prosperous people, democracy, equity and civilization." We hope that through this seminar, we will be able to learn useful good practices from the reform and open-door policy of the Communist Party of China. The workshop’s results will contribute to consolidating and strengthening the traditional friendship between the two Parties, States and peoples.

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(1), (2) Documents of the Party Congresses in the renovation process. The National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2005, pp. 481, 459

(3) Document of the 5th Plenum of the Central Committee, 12th Tenure, Office of the Central Committee, Hanoi, 2017, p. 29


Vo Van ThuongPolitburo member, Secretary of the Party Central Committee, Head of the Central Commission for Propaganda and Training