CNN has done an excellent job of giving a timeline of the 10 pivotal moments in the country’s Party development and progression. July 1st marked the celebrations surrounding this momentous occasion. I hope this helps with your understanding of China and the Party’s importance in the country.
What many don’t know about being a Communist Party Member
Many who are not Chinese don’t realize that not everyone in China is a Communist Party Member. I certainly didn’t when I first arrived in China in 1991. Out of 1.4 billion people, according to the 2020 CCP (China Communist Party) roster, membership is 91,914,000.
That certainly doesn’t make every adult a Party member, especially since there are reported to be about 1.1 billion adults in China.
How does a person become a member?
I can only speak from my experience of knowing Party members and having asked them. From their explanation, it’s a bit like belonging to a strict organization which vets its members quite carefully.
The first step is to find a Party member who will recommend you to join and be your mentor through the process. I remember at my school, there were announcements made for any student interested in joining the Party to come to an introduction meeting. The process was a year, there were tests involved, dues to pay and a formal ceremony of new initiates. It was a very serious matter and one of great pride. My students who went through the steps to be Party members were responsible individuals, very good in their studies and had a great feeling of duty to country and school.
One of my best friends who is a Party member told me Party members are to set good examples. They shouldn’t be seen playing mahjong, considered a frivolous activity, or drinking too much and making a scene in public. They should be respectable people who are seen to be charitable toward others, have a compassionate heart, be law-abiding citizens and be good role models for others, especially China’s youth.
Party members should not belong to any religion so as not show favoritism toward that religious body or be associated with it. Why not associated with it? Think on that a bit. If someone wants to get in good with a Party member who might hold a position of power, he or she might curry favor by joining groups that the Party member belongs to.
From what I was told, it doesn’t necessarily have to be religion. It could be any special group which might make the Party member seem to place that organization above other worthy organizations.
Party members also pay monthly dues to the Party leadership they belong to according to their city or region. I am uncertain how much the dues are now but they are not so high that it’s difficult to pay.
Here’s a fun story concerning Party membership dues: You remember “Snow” Xue, whom I wrote about in the last entry? She is in a wheelchair due to a stroke. About 6 years ago, when Snow was a go-getter individual, she took a group of us to the countryside where there was an abandoned school from 2014 that was on the site of a Buddhist temple. The school was located in the middle of nowhere, was a boarding school and had teachers’ apartments as well as dormitories and buildings. When we went, it was overgrown with weeds and the entire thing completely desolate with sad-looking, empty and lonely buildings which once held life and an enthusiasm of learning. The school’s offices were left with doors wide open with a vast amount of paperwork strewn about. Stacks had been rained on and scattered around the floor, on top of desks or were overflowing from open drawers.
Snow, ever the curious one, began picking through the documents, pulling out interesting bits and pieces from among what she found. In one of those, she discovered someone’s Party dues booklet, listing his name and his monthly dues he’d paid from 1984. What a find!
Snow’s eyes lit up with wonder as she pointed out to me the amounts and told me how small they were compared to today. The dues amounted to 3 yuan (about 50 cents today) every month. Whoever it was had carefully, diligently recorded the amounts, within the pages for over a year. Snow, ever a good teacher, squirreled the booklet away in her backpack, along with other things of interest, so she could present a history lesson to her students at her junior high. She felt the materials she found would be excellent visual aids for the kids.
I wonder today if she was able to do that lesson as it wasn’t too long after that she and Geoff left for Africa, where she had her stroke.
I’ve heard there are many activities and events taking place from July to December to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the CCP. I mentioned a few of my college students and teaching colleagues had entered an English speech contest surrounding this theme and topic. I haven’t heard how well they did but I do know the prizes were quite substantial. It would be such a great honor, even to be in the runner-up categories.
I wish them the best of luck, and hope you’ve learned a little from my limited understanding and knowledge of Party membership.
Next entry will hold some very special connections I’ve made in the past few days. It’s a huge surprise and one which I’m sure you’ll enjoy hearing all about.
Until next time, here’s wishing you 平安, Ping An (Peace), for your upcoming week.