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The Three Represents (simplified Chinese: 三个代表; traditional Chinese: 三個代表; pinyin: Sāngè Dàibiǎo) is a socio-political ideology credited to General Secretary Jiang Zemin which became a guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China at its Sixteenth Party Congress in 2002.
Jiang Zemin first introduced his theory on February 25, 2000 while on an inspection tour in Maoming, Guangdong province. He was attempting a comprehensive summary of the party's historical experience and how to adapt to new situations and tasks when he stated:
In summarizing the 70 year history of our party, we draw an important conclusion which is: our party has always won the support of the people because in revolution, construction and reform over the various historical periods, the Party has always represented the developmental needs of China's advanced production capacity, represented the progressive direction of China's advanced culture, and represented the fundamental interests of the broad majority; in establishing the development of the correct lines, principles and policies, the Party has untiringly struggled to realize the Nation and People's fundamental interests. Humanity has come again into a new century and a new millennium. In these new historical conditions, how our Party can best dispatch these "three represents" is an important issue that all comrades, especially the Party's senior cadres, need to consider deeply.
The official statement of the ideology stipulates that the Communist Party of China should be representative to advanced social productive forces, advanced culture, and the interests of the overwhelming majority.
The formal statement of the theory is:
|“||Reviewing the course of struggle and the basic experience over the past 80 years and looking ahead to the arduous tasks and bright future in the new century, our Party should continue to stand in the forefront of the times and lead the people in marching toward victory. In a word, the Party must always represent the requirements of the development of China's advanced productive forces, the orientation of the development of China's advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people in China.||”|
— Jiang Zemin's speech at the 16th CPC Congress, November 2002)
One possible interpretation of the "Three Represents":
- "Represents advanced social productive forces" = Economic production
- "Represents the progressive course of China's advanced culture" = Cultural development
- "Represents the fundamental interests of the majority" = Political consensus
One of the main goals of the Three Represents is to change the Communist Party of China into a governmental and more democratic party, rather than a strictly communist system of government. This opens up the Party to "the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people", as well as businessmen and managers. This makes for a party ("dǎng" 党) that is much more attractive for a greater number of people. The Theory of the Three Represents is another expansion to what the communist government of China would define as "allies". Over the years, the number of people that could in fact still be defined as "class enemies" kept reducing, seeing how the number of people that belonged to the "wavering middle" (people that were not allies, but could in fact not threaten the Party's regime) increased.
See also 
- Jiang Zemin quote from the Baidu Encyclopedia, translated by sinopop.org, http://baike.baidu.com/view/545466.htm
Further reading 
- Lewis, John W.; Xue Litai (2003). "Social Change and Political Reform in China: Meeting the Challenge of Success". The China Quarterly (176): 926–942. doi:10.1017/S0305741003000559.