Aside from ruling the world’s most populous nation, having the largest political party membership on the globe and being the architect of one of the fastest growing economies over the past three decades, the Communist Party of China (CPC) is so much more.
Turning 96 this year, the Party has ruled China for nearly seven decades. It receives overwhelming support from the public, and the country’s impressive development has left the rest of the world amazed.
The Party is tasked with leading China to rejuvenation, but it also has its own mission: to be the strongest party in the world.
The key to both successes rests on its unchanging faith to serve the people, as well as its staunch commitment to self-discipline and democracy.
UNCHANGING FAITH: When the CPC was first established in 1921, it only had about 50 members. Its strength grew as it led China to rise from a poor nation scarred by brutal foreign aggression and tragic civil wars to become one of the very largest economies in the world.
The Party has 89 million members, more than the population of Germany. Nonetheless, its commitment to serving the people and making them masters of their own fate and future remains unchanged.
With the Party set to mark its 100th anniversary in 2021, it has set 2020 as the year for China to finally become a moderately prosperous society (Xiaokang) in an all-round way.
One aim is to make sure that those still in poverty take their rightful place as citizens of a well-off society. Much has already been done. In the past 30 years, 700 million people were lifted out of poverty. Poverty has been taken even more seriously with Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, at the helm since 2012.
“Not a single family living in poverty is to be left behind on our path to combating poverty,” Xi told villagers of Shenshan village in a trip to eastern China’s Jiangxi Province in February last year.
That line has since become the motto of China’s war against poverty. But with tens of millions of Chinese still struggling on less than one dollar a day, the 2020 task is, without doubt, daunting.
To fulfill its goal, China is sending its finest cadres to the frontline to fight and eradicate poverty. By the end of 2016, over 770,000 Party officials had been sent to rural areas to design bespoke poverty relief programs for local communities.
More than 120 Party members have sacrificed their lives in the process. He Guoquan was one such member. As the “first secretary” in charge of poverty relief in the village of Shiping in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality, He helped build 20 kilometers of road for the village this year, linking the secluded countryside to the outside world.
He also developed a promising livestock industry for the village, effectively lifting all the villagers out of poverty. Sadly, a traffic accident in June took his life and those of three of his colleagues.
The sacrifices of members such as He were not for nothing.
From 2013 to 2016, nearly 56 million rural people were lifted out of poverty in China. CPC members have a spirit, belief and dedication that have played a key role in China’s fight against poverty.
“For over 90 years, every victory claimed by China in the course of its revolution, its nation building and its reform drive is the crystallization of the CPC’s communist faith,” said Professor Dai Yanjun with the CPC Central Committee Party School. “That faith is the spiritual pillar behind the CPC’s wider public support.”
STRICT DISCIPLINE: As the Party’s success stories in improving living conditions for the people continue to be heard, it is also making itself even stronger. Just before the CPC celebrated its 96th birthday this year, it issued a revised regulation to improve supervision and governance of its members.
Shifting its focus from fighting corruption and Party rule violations in the initial rounds of inspections, the amendment raised political inspection to a more prominent place on its agenda.
The revised rules clearly say that “political inspection should be deepened, and inspections should mainly focus on upholding the Party leadership, improving Party building, and advancing comprehensive and strict rule of the Party.”
“Inspections should staunchly safeguard the authority and the centralized, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, and ensure the CPC is always the firm and core leadership of the socialist cause with Chinese characteristics,” it said.
For Professor Wang Yukai, with the Chinese Academy of Governance, the revised rules summarize and institutionalize innovations and practices in inspection work, serving to “further sharpen the sword of intra-Party supervision.”
So far, there have been 12 rounds of Party inspections, covering provincial-level CPC organizations, central CPC and government departments, major state-owned enterprises, central financial institutions and centrally-administered universities.
The 18th CPC Central Committee was the first in Party history to successfully inspect all these entities in a five-year term. These inspections were but a fraction of CPC efforts to intensify intra-Party supervision and step up Party governance — a key feature of the “Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy” raised by Xi in 2014.
Since the CPC 18th National Congress in 2012, the CPC Central Committee under Xi Jinping’s leadership has insisted on addressing “four forms of decadence” — formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance.
The crackdown on corruption and other misconduct also shows the general public the Party’s ambitions to eliminate injustice. Over 200 centrally administered officials have been investigated so far, and more than 1.1 millon people have received punishment for breaching Party regulations and discipline. Among them were senior officials, including Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, Guo Boxiong, Xu Caihou, Ling Jihua and Su Rong.
In addition, about 3,000 fugitives have been returned from 90 countries and regions.
“The battle against corruption has gained crushing momentum,” according to a 2016 report by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
“Strict Party governance is a core part of China’s socialist democratic politics with Chinese characteristics,” said Zheng Changzhong, an expert on Party building at Shanghai-based Fudan University. “It is a key means for the CPC to retain self-purification, self-improvement, and self-reform, as well as to consolidate its foundation of the governance of China.”—Xinhua