Why Chinese youth are always so eager to join the Communist Party
BEIJING – “Ever since I was a child, I have always wanted to join the party …” Yanru, a 22-year-old college student studying at a well-known university in northern China, just became a member of the CCP last year. . For her and her peers, joining the Chinese Communist Party is something that seems only natural: “It has led us to victories, fought against foreign settlers and built a strong and prosperous New China today.
For Yanru, the purpose of joining the party is to serve society, and to be useful for the country. “There is only one valid reason for joining the party, and that is to serve the people wholeheartedly and ultimately achieve communism fully,” she wrote in her request letter. membership.
But for others, being a member of the party is also a proof of excellence, a sign of elite. Another young Chinese student, Jieru, wants to join the party simply because she wants to become a civil servant. As young people focus more on finding public sector jobs and the national civil servant entrance exam becomes more competitive, all are aware of an unspoken soft rule that CPC members are more likely to succeed. ” be selected for such positions.
In online forums there are countless articles explaining the benefits of joining the party: CPC membership would be an advantage when working in public administration and state enterprises. Some companies and institutions will put “Party members first” in their job postings, and some positions are deemed exclusive to the CPC.
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks with students at an elementary school in Zhongyi – Photo: Xie Huanchi / Xinhua / Zuma Wire
In a 2016 speech, President Xi Jinping said China’s state enterprise system is “special” for the integration of Party leaders into enterprises. According to a bank manager in southern China, there is now an atmosphere in companies where everyone actively joins the party with no outside motivation, which has gradually been formed since Xi came to power. “Without party membership, you don’t even dream of promotion.”
But the party also limits the admission of members under Xi, focusing on monitoring “membership quality.” Following this initiative in 2013, the number of new admissions to the party is decreasing every year, reaching its lowest point in 2017 with 117,000 new members. Even so, in some universities, teachers must motivate students to join the party in order to fulfill “quotas and orders from above.”
However, it is not a simple task to join CPC. In addition to the strict exams on political profile, academic performance and social commitments, applicants must also take courses, waiting at least six months of waiting to proceed to the next stages of selection. Loads of paperwork are also inevitable, especially when some of the CPC branch administrations are in chaos.
The irony is that actually becoming a CPC member doesn’t change much in your life. Qiuyuan, a university student, recalled that the only highlight was the admission ceremony, where 30 to 40 new members solemnly vowed, “We are ready to sacrifice everything for the party and the people. Qiuyuan was shocked at the promise, “Were they really serious about this?
Yet for most people, party membership only leads to more meetings and orientation activities, such as visiting “patriotic travel sites” and group meetings where members are. encouraged to communicate and to conduct “constructive criticism”. The latter is a response to Xi’s initiative in 2016, “Criticism and self-criticism are medicine and healing for our comrades… we must name the problems, raise opinions and assess the damage.”
Every effort is made to prevent students from dropping out of the party.
Another problem is the difficulty of withdrawing from the party. Theoretically, members are free to resign; according to party protocols, ordinary citizens will not be expelled from the party, but withdrawal is only granted in two circumstances: when a member voluntarily requests it, or when a member “lacks revolutionary will, does not fulfill his obligations as a party member. ” But no specific directive was given. Official documents only suggest that the withdrawal should not be announced to the public and that the party should not force members to stay. Yet a university professor confessed that in most cases every effort is made to prevent students from dropping out of the party.
Yet being a party member is indeed different. Qiuyuan is starting to feel the benefits of his career, as his housing and social benefits have been increased. Under certain circumstances, party membership appears to be an issue, especially in today’s geopolitical conflicts: the Trump administration had banned current and former Communist Party members from immigrating to the United States, and even their families are limited in obtaining travel visas. As there are currently around 91.9 million CPC members in China, around 200 million Chinese are affected by this policy.
A group of children with red scarves and national flags pose for photos in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square under the party emblem – Photo: Sheldon Cooper / SOPA Images / ZUMA Wire
In the end, the young members of the CCP are more or less as non-political as most of the population of this country. “Each country has its own mode of administration, while public opinion is controlled for the stability of the country, not just in China,” Yanru explains. “Young people are easily enticed, and we all think CPC is good enough anyway.”