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To be a member of the Chinese Communist Party for ideals or interests

Ⓒ AFP – Wang Zhao – | The intellectual and commentator Sima Nan during an interview on October 12, 2017 in Beijing

Among the Beijing-Shanghai skyscrapers, wealthy millionaires on the stock exchange and corrupt leaders, Marx has little to do with his heirs, but the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to attract affiliates, motivated by faith … or interest.

“When I was a kid, in the 1960s and 1970s, at school we were told that being a party was being good. At that time, you went in to defend socialism,” Liu Shimin, 53, exobrero of a state company and affiliated for 25 years.

“Today, the ideological side overcomes me a little: communism is something so vague, no one can say if it is going to take place. But I still feel at the service of society,” he adds.

The Chinese Communist Party (PCC) was founded in 1921 in clandestinity by a dozen revolutionaries in Shanghai. It is now the largest political organization in the world, with 89.4 million members, or 6.5% of the population.

From Wednesday he is meeting in a quinquennial congress that will grant a new mandate of five years to the president, Xi Jinping.

The party came to power in 1949 and survived the disastrous decade of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), launched by the regime’s founder, Mao Zedong, against its own leaders.

– Selective –

The PCC retains a huge advantage: its strength of cohesion, according to Sima Nan, 61-year-old intellectual and commentator.

“There are 1,400 million Chinese, there are many, the merit of the party is precisely its ability to gather the forces of the whole world, to mobilize, to advance the country and maintain order, without the CCP, all that would be very difficult” .

Sima says he signed up for the party in 1980, following an ideal. He saw the first economic reforms and the opening of the country as “a means of reaching communism more quickly,” which is now “far away.”

“If the communist party had not been in power, I would never have been able to get a scholarship and study at university when I was younger.” “I have to be forever grateful,” he told AFP in his Peking apartment , in front of a portrait of Mao.

Since the economic opening in the late 1970s, the Chinese entered massively into the CCP. But it is not a member who wants to be. Applicants postulate or need the recommendation of someone, often from their company or from a university professor.

– ‘Like a diploma’ –

Ⓒ AFP/Archivos – Wang Zhao – | Young people recognize that they not only join to participate in national development, but also because of interest, or because they are flattered that they have received an invitation in recognition of their belonging to “the elite”

Then a long journey begins: courses, dissertations, exams, interviews, probationary period … In the end the party only selects the candidates with the best educational level, considered politically reliable and who can contribute something to it.

“I did not think about going to the PCC at first,” said Xiao Wei, a 30-year-old Pekingese who is part of the 26 percent of women affiliated with the organization.

“To be an official or to work in a state company is almost mandatory to be in the party. It’s like a diploma, it opens doors.”

Xiao Wei is a PCC employee in a residential neighborhood. Their job is to transmit slogans, organize awareness campaigns on fire regulations, the environment or health, or disseminate political slogans.

Young people recognize that they not only join to participate in national development, but also because of interest, or because they are flattered that they have received an invitation in recognition of their belonging to “the elite.”

“Today, some join the party to enter the public administration, have a better job or gain respectability,” acknowledges Sima Nan.

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