The Party Forever: Inside China's Modern Communist Elite
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A century after its underground beginnings, the Chinese Communist Party today exerts far-reaching control over every aspect of private life. Beyond its legendary control of the internet within China's borders, even seemingly non-political domains are subject to its authority: routine business deals require party approval; university courses reflect party doctrine; and party families amass incredible wealth while other enterprises are squeezed out. Experts predicted that the Party leadership would mellow as the country's economic fortunes soar, but the next generation of political heavyweights is keeping a tight grip on the reins of power. Today's huge new class of young professionals, whether they believe in the Party's ideology or not, are as focused as ever on strengthening the Party's role and silencing dissent. In The Party Forever, Rowan Callick goes behind the scenes to reveal the workings of China's political elite, introduce us to its future leaders and explore how prepared it is to meet the challenges of its new role in the twenty-first century. This is an essential and eye-opening account of this poorly understood but hugely influential player in world politics.
I even cried. I just felt something was wrong, after more than ten years when my life should have been guided by the party. I wanted to tell the truth. My colleagues were very surprised. But by then I didn’t care what they thought of me. No one put an arm around me; they just gave me some tissues. My boss was a bit embarrassed. “That’s the only time I tried to tell people something true at a meeting.” CHAPTER 2 CADRE SCHOOL When the charismatic, telegenic “princeling” Bo Xilai, party
was to advise “crossing the river by feeling the stones,” the water is now deeper, so China should be careful. The obvious reforms have been done already. The new challenges are being taken on by a younger generation, who will only have seen Mao on TV history shows or on party DVDs. Most of the cadres who come to CELAP are aged in their forties. These are very senior officials, says Jiang. “We can’t say we are never affected by history—and China is such a large country, and under the imperial
human history must have a colourful new spring.” When Xi Jinping became president in 2013, his first overseas visit was to meet Putin in Moscow. Generally, however, areas in which China sought to copy directly from the Soviets failed—as in the planning system, said CELAP chief Jiang. As a result of taking that Soviet route, by the 1980s China had more than 100 government ministers. In 2012 it had 27. Now, China is sending officials to learn about best administrative practice from countries all
within this period. In most cases, the commission aims to complete its task within six months, although it sometimes takes up to a year. Liu Zhenbao, the deputy director-general responsible for reviewing cases, explains the commission’s work. A poem by Mao Zedong, titled “Snow” (Truly great men / look to this age alone) adorns the wall, written in Mao’s own calligraphy. Liu says that once the initial investigation is completed, his department examines the evidence and the commission’s Standing
result. One angry blogger asked, “What are the people in the government doing? They just want mistresses, they want cash, but out here we’re dying!” Another said, “When they tell us some official is sacked, they are just giving us part of the story. The rest isn’t reported. They just move on to other jobs.” Outraged netizens soon unearthed a speech made by Zhu Yonglan, the director of the State Council Party and State Organizations Special Food Supply Center, in which she explained proudly that