Foreign liaison of the Communist Party of China (CPC) constitutes an important component of the country's diplomacy. In the last three decades it has opened new vistas, accumulated rich experiences and has had wide influence.
The accomplishments have been in four major areas.
First, the Party's foreign liaison practice has provided brand new principles in handling its relations with political parities in other countries.
Independence, equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs are the four principles initiated by the CPC in handling relations with political parties in other countries. These principles are gaining increasing acceptance by more and more political parties across the world.
Independence means that each party should formulate its own platform, political line and policies according to the particular conditions of the country, choose its own road of development and define its positions on international issues.
Equality means all political parties in different countries are equal, no matter how big or small, old or young, and whether they are in power or not. Not a single party is privileged to place itself above the others.
Mutual respect means all parties should understand, respect and learn from one another. Different situations in which political parties find themselves and their experiences, determine sometimes they cannot be in agreement with each other on all issues. The differences and disputes should never be allowed to stand in the way of development of inter-party relations. Seeking common ground and leaving aside differences offers a way out.
Non-interference in each other's internal affairs means that not only a political party in a country should never interfere in the internal affairs of a party in another nation but it should not interfere in the internal affairs of that country via inter-party relations as well. In addition, any two political parties should not do harm to the third party by means of bilateral inter-party relations.
These four principles in handling inter-party relations and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in handling state-to-state relations compliment each other.
Second, the Party's foreign liaison has helped bring down the traditional obstacles to inter-party intercourse.
Ideological disputes sometimes lead to the worsening of party relations, or worse, deterioration of state-to-state relations. Painful lessons abound in history. The phenomenon of using ideological differences to interfere in another country's internal affairs, however, still exists in the world.
The four principles in handling inter-party relations are good in that they exclude ideological factors from the relations. The CPC is able to have friendly ties with political parties, organizations and dignitaries in many countries because all sides go beyond the ideological differences and seek mutual understanding and cooperation.
Ideological differences stem from civilization's diversity. And this diversity determines the nature of political parties in different countries. The CPC holds that civilization's diversity is one of the basic features of human society and also a driving power behind the progress of the civilization of humanity. As a result, each civilization and nation deserves each other's respect.
The CPC's advocacy of going beyond ideological differences is widely echoed by political parties in other countries. A traditional obstacle to inter-party intercourse has, therefore, been torn down.
Facts testify to this. The CPC now has relations in various forms with more than 400 political parties from 160 countries and regions in the world. Relations are progressing in depth and exchanges are in a rich variety of forms.
Third, the Party's liaison has brought about a new political order in inter-party relations.
The establishment of a new world political and economic order is an urgent task dictated by the theme of our times - peace and development. After the end of World War II, the old international political order was marked by hegemony politics running wild, the bullying of the weak, the big riding roughshod over the small, the rich oppressing the poor. It was the CPC that first put forward the initiative of bringing about a new international political order characterized by independence, equality, justice, mutual benefit and common prosperity, on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.
The new order requires that all countries are equal members of the international community, irrespective of their size, wealth and physical power. They should, therefore, respect each other, and keep consul with one another. No country is supposed to impose its will upon others. This kind of international democratization should be reflected in inter-party relations.
However, the reality now is that the establishment of the new international political order is on a bumpy road. In this context, the CPC is blazing new trails to achieve its success.
Fourth, the CPC's liaison enhances the standing of political parties in overall international relations.
The CPC believes that inter-party intercourse is an important part of a country's diplomacy. With the progress of multilateralism and economic globalization, the liaison, exchanges and cooperation between countries of the world are getting increasingly intensive. In this regard, more and more people have come to realize that inter-party relations effectively serve their country's diplomacy and economic growth.
The CPC is developing relations with all kinds of political parties in the world. Dealing with the party in power of a foreign country facilitates state-to-state relations. Dealing with parties not in power is also beneficial to the people of both countries. Making friends with up-and-coming politicians helps lay a foundation for future cooperation.
Apart from political affairs, the Party is also pushing for cooperation and exchanges in the fields of economics, science and technology.
The author is a researcher with the Research Center of Contemporary World
(China Daily 10/15/2007 page4)