Joining the Party

March 11, 2013

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has 83 million members, more than a quarter of the US population. For a comparison, there are about 63-million Democrats, 47-million Republicans and 32-million independents registered to vote in the United States.

How does a Chinese citizen become a member of the CCP?

One source for CCP members may come from the Communist Youth League of China that has 73-million members. China’s Youth League, although overseen by the CCP, is a separate organization. The two are not necessarily one and the same and not all Youth League members go on to join the CCP.

The China Daily says, “It (the Youth League) is a school where a large number of people learn about socialism with Chinese characteristics and about communism through practice. It is the Party’s assistant and reserve force.”

However, “Many of today’s party members are culled from the top ranks of high schools and colleges: top students are invited to join the party, and it is the sort of invitation that can’t be refused. Others can be nominated by friends who are party members, or apply on their own initiative if they have the support of other party members. During the past two decades, the ranks of the party have been expanded to include businessmen (who were previously not allowed to join) as well as more ethnic minorities, who currently account for 7 per cent of party members.” Source: Beyond Bricks

The conclusion of Leslie Hook’s Beyond Brick’s piece quoted Sidney Rittenberg, who says of the CCP, “Dictatorship gives you more dictatorship, not democracy.”

But, I do not agree with the term “dictatorship” to describe the CCP.  China is ruled by an authoritarian, one party political system and decisions are made by the consensus of hundreds of Party members. A dictatorship is a form of government in which absolute power is concentrated in a dictator or a small clique. Source: Merriam-Webster.com

There are also factions within the CCP that have different political opinions and agendas that balance each other. Political theorists have identified two groups within the Communist Party, a structure which has been called “one party, two factions”. The first is the “elitist coalition” or Shanghai clique which is composed mainly of officials who have risen from the more prosperous provinces. The second is the populist coalition, the core of which are the tuanpai, or the Youth League faction which consists mainly of officials who have risen from the rural interior, through the Communist Youth League.

Within his “one party, two factions” model, Li Cheng has noted that one should avoid labeling these two groupings with simplistic ideological labels, and that these two groupings do not act in a zero-sum, winner take all fashion. Neither group has the ability or will to dominate the other completely.

Then there is this study from the China Quarterly that explains why we find so many of China’s wealthy as members/supporters of the CCP.

“This article presents original survey data from 1999 and 2005 to evaluate the Communist Party’s strategy towards the private sector. The CCP is increasingly integrating itself with the private sector both by co-opting entrepreneurs into the Party and encouraging current Party members to go into business. It has opened the political system to private entrepreneurs, but still screens which ones are allowed to play political roles. Because of their close personal and professional ties, and because of their shared interests in promoting economic growth, China’s capitalist and communist officials share similar viewpoints on a range of political, economic and social issues. Rather than promote democratic governance, China’s capitalists have a stake in preserving the political system that has allowed them to prosper, and they are among the Party’s most important bases of support.” Source: The China Quarterly, 192, December 2007, pp.827-854

Discover Rumors of China – Fact or Fiction

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Keeping Mao Alive in the West – Part 4/4

July 2, 2011

As for Bo Xilai, the so-called darling of the Maoists according to The Economist, the weekly rag failed to mention that last year when this Chinese “Maoist” splinter of the Communist Party thought they had a leader in Bo Xilai, he had thirty Maoist hard core leaders arrested and locked up. Source: Serve the People

Bo Xilai may be a leader among Chinese conservatives but those conservatives are not Maoist revolutionaries dreaming of a return to the upside down world of The Cultural Revolution, which would turn China into a train wreck, and most Chinese have worked too hard building a modern, capitalist China to throw all that away.

Maoists have followers as well as critics in modern China. While these supporters of Mao claim that it was during his era that China witnessed mass development in terms of economy, industry, healthcare, education, and Infrastructure, his critics (that have ruled China since 1976 leading to a middle class of about 400 million) hold a different view.

According to them, the history of Maoist China was marked with uncountable deaths, and an extreme economic crisis that damaged China’s cultural heritage.

What is the difference between the Maoists in China that are a minority in the Communist Party and the American Nazi Party in the US? Do we read pieces in the Western media criticizing the US for having an American Nazi party after what the Nazis did during World War II?

In fact, in 2006, NPR.org reported, “New schoolbooks were about to be introduced in Shanghai that were moving a bit further away from the traditional communist ideology. And in them Mao was actually only mentioned once, and very fleetingly, as part of a lesson on the custom of lowering flags to half mast at state funerals.”

In that interview at NPR, Louisa Lim said, “The official verdict on Mao that the Party came to in 1981 was that he was 70% good and 30% bad. And their mythology about Mao was really that he was a great national hero who unified the country. He sort of threw off the yoke of Japanese imperialism and freed people from poverty, and that any later mistakes were made when he was older and should be weighed up against his great contributions to China.”

If Bo Xilai sounds as if he wants to bring the Maoism of The Cultural Revolution back, he is probably doing what all “good” politicians do (even in the US), and that is telling people what they want to hear to gain support. After all, in 2012, China’s leaders are changing and Bo wants to get as close to the top as possible. That is not a secret.

Start with Keeping Mao Alive in the West – Part 1 or return to Part 3

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Religion’s “Cold War” with China – Part 1/3

December 20, 2010

The Economist’s December 11 issue wrote about The party versus the pope.  “The Communist Party is trying to tighten its control of the Catholic Church in China. Some of its members, as well as the Vatican, are fuming.”

The Economist says, “China forced its Catholic church to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, two years after the party seized power.”

Interesting language.

If the Communists “seized power”, in China, then United States revolutionaries seized power in America from the British Empire in 1776 and French revolutionaries seized power from the King of France in 1799.

However, there was no revolution in China between the Communists and the Nationalists. The Communist Party did not sieze power since Dr. Sun Yat-sen formed a coalition between the Communist Party and the Nationalists (KMT) to build China’s first republic with a two party system.

When Sun Yat-sen died unexpectedly in 1925, it wasn’t the Communist Party that broke the republic’s two-party system and plunged China into a Civil War that lasted until 1949.  Chang Kai-shek’s KMT army fired the first shots slaughtering thousands of communists in southern China then Shanghai.

The Communist Party had no choice but to fight since it was clear that Chang Kai-shek, a converted Christian, was going to have all the communists hunted down and killed.

The Civil War between the two political parties of Sun Yat-sen’s republic lasted for more than twenty years.  The facts do not support The Economists’ claim that the Communist Party “seized control”.

In fact, the Communist Party won China’s Civil War as the North did in America’s Civil War in 1865.

In Part 2, we shall see how the Catholic Church is not a religion but a religious nation with almost one billion members and the pope is a Christian dictator elected for life.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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The Emperor is Dead

November 5, 2010

In a Republic, everyone “does not” have the right to vote and that’s the way it was in the United States until 1965 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act and created a democracy.

In 1776, when the US was a Republic, only white men with property had the right to vote, and the electorate consisted of perhaps only 10 to 20 percent of the population.

In fact, “”This made the country (America) far more stable than places that did not have this tradition and later went through dozens of constitutions and revolutions. In short, when it came to government and voting, Americans had a model to build on.” Source: History – Voting in Early America

Since America took almost two centuries to become the chaotic democracy it is today where almost everyone may vote but many don’t, why should China be rushed.

In China, members of the Communist Party make up the electorate, which is about 5% of the population. If the Communist Youth League were added, it would be closer to 10 percent. Regardless of how this electorate makes decisions, they do have a voice.

However, the consensus (rather than a majority vote) of that electorate still decides the direction China is moving.

China’s Central Committee has about 300 members (connected by a hot line) and nominally appoints the current 25 Politburo members, who select the Standing Committee of 5 to 9 men who select the President and Prime Minister.

Before 1911, only one man had a vote and that was the emperor. China has no emperor today. Today, China’s leaders may only serve two, five-year terms and there are also age limits, which the US doesn’t have. In fact, China’s next leader will not be the son of an emperor.

At its birth, the United States was not a democratic nation—far from it. The very word “democracy” had pejorative overtones, summoning up images of disorder, government by the unfit, even mob rule — considering the run up to the 2010 election, which sounds about right.

The explanation for the pressure from the “so-called” free world that China throw away the more stable Republic that has led to a steady, controlled modernization, improved health care and lifestyles and stumble quickly into a chaotic democracy is that misery loves company.

In 1950, the average life expectancy in China was 32.  Today life expectancy at birth is 73 (78 in the US). The infant mortality rate in 1950 was about 200 for 1,000 live births. Today that number is 20 (6 in the US).

If you want to see what happens to a country that became a Democracy before it was ready, study India carefully.

In India, the infant mortality rate is 51 for 1,000 live births. Life expectancy at birth is 66.

So far, since 1982 (which marks the end of Mao’s era and the birth of China’s new Constitution), China has avoided many of India’s mistakes, and India has been a democracy since 1947.

The learn more about India, see Comparing India and China’s Economic Engines, India Falling Short and The India, China battle to eliminate poverty and illiteracy.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Building the Rest of China’s Republic

October 15, 2010

I’m looking at a site, American President, An Online Reference Resource, and this site has divided the history of the U.S. into eight eras and lists the presidents of each era.

The Early Republic (1789 – 1829)
The Jacksonian Democracy (1829 – 1854)
Sectional Conflict (1853 – 1881)
Gilded Age (1881 – 1897)
Progressive Era (1897 – 1921)
Depression & World Conflict (1921 – 1961)
Social Change & Soviet Relations (1961 – 1989)
Globalization (1989 – )

In Democracy, Deceit and Mob Rule, the embedded YouTube video mentioned that Woodrow Wilson was the first president to refer to the U.S. as a democracy.

By the time President Johnson left office in 1969, America was no longer a Republic. The transition was complete and the democratic mob ruled leading to Political Correctness, Rush Limbaugh and the Self-esteem Generations.

To avoid becoming a democracy, China should consider adding a lower house of Congress as in the U.S.

All eligible voters, who do not belong to the Communist Party, would elect the representatives in the lower house and the upper house would be the National People’s Congress, which would be elected from within the Communist Party as it is today.

Since legislation in the U.S. must be approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the president, this would allow the Communist Party in the upper hosue to kill unpopular or destructive legislation from the lower house and the other way around.

That way, the mob rule of a democracy would be avoided.

Since in a Republic, no mature citizen has to vote as in a democracy, it would be wise if China defined who the eligible voters outside the Party would be.

I suggest people only be allowed to vote if they have a high comprehension level that helps understand the issues.

As has been seen in the U.S., with its falling literacy rate, many in the population cannot understand the political issues and don’t vote or use misleading information from politically biased people like Rush Limbaugh to decide for them.

Of course, a democracy ruled by the mob would cry foul, but a republic is ruled by the elected officials—not by the majority as in the U.S.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Tiananmen Square Revisited

July 23, 2010

When I was writing and posting Part 8 for China’s Capitalist Revolution, there was a scene in that segment of the documentary of a student dressed in pajamas sitting in a chair.  This so-called student leader for the Tiananmen Square incident was rude, arrogant and demanding.

There was no sign of the piety I see everyday—that I have lived with and witnessed since I married into a Chinese family. My wife and her family lived in China during Mao’s time. They suffered through the same changes everyone else did but their respect for piety never changed.

I read the “What is the truth about Tiananmen Square?” post again.

Why did President H. W. Bush change ambassadors in the middle of the incident with a man who had once been an operative for the CIA working in Asia inserting agents into China? James Lilly wouldn’t have to meet with the students himself. He knew who the double agents in China were. He had to know.

“The protesters were not demanding Western style politics or an end to Communist Party rule as many in the West believe.  They wanted the government to listen to their opinions about   reforms and corruption.  The banners the protesters carried said, “We Support the Great Glorious Communist Party of China.” Source: China’s Capitalist Revolution, Part 7

It was the Western media and the rude, arrogant students, who turned the event into a democracy movement but only after Lilly was in the country or on his way. Did President Bush seize an opportunity?

In fact, it wasn’t until after that student treated his elders with disrespect, that Deng Xiaoping sent the troops in—a reaction to be expected in a country with a collective culture like China’s where practicing piety is the same as breathing.

What choice did he have?  After all, the students had demanded the negotiations be broadcast live on TV to the nation. Embarrassed in front of the country he ruled, Deng had no choice. It was a great loss of face for him and the government.  Loss of face is probably the leading cause of suicide in Asian countries like Japan and the two Koreas.

That student acted as if he was untouchable–that he had insurance. Maybe he did. He had taken a huge risk to gain face, and it turned into a tragedy.

Moreover, why has America’s media made such a big deal out of the Tiananmen Square incident where hundreds died and almost nothing about the slaughter conducted by (an American ally) Chiang Kai-shek’s troops in Taiwan where almost thirty thousand were murdered? See 2/28 Massacre in Taiwan

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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China’s Great Leap Forward (1958 to 1961) – Part 3 of 6

June 22, 2010

The nation goes on a cleaning spree. Posters say everyone must help exterminate pests. Songs were sung, “Pest free areas are glorious. Let’s wipe out the flies, bugs, mosquitoes and rats.”

Sparrows were considered pests since they were accused of eating crops. Whoever killed the most sparrows in each village was rewarded. However, exterminating sparrows caused insect populations to explode endangering crop yields.

Cleaning Rice in Mountain Village

Then the people were asked to watch for capitalistic or counter revolutionary behavior and to denounce suspicious people.

In 1958, the boldest program was launched. Mao wanted to out-produce industrialized nations in manufacturing and crop yields. The land given to the peasants was confiscated and 100 thousand people communes were created. Mao believed that more people meant larger projects. He said,  “Revolutionary enthusiasm will triumph over all obstacles.”

To achieve Mao’s goals, the Communist Party encouraged competition between communes. Instead, overproduction caused crops to rot in the fields and the communes hid the truth by faking records.

Huge construction projects began without proper planning leading to accidents and deaths, which were hidden by the project managers. No one wanted Mao to discover the lack of proper revolutionary enthusiasm.

Return to Part 2, China’s Great Leap Forward or go to Part 4

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.