Global Politics

China's communist party

This woman sits outside an apartment building in Beijing. She understands what it means to be a Communist Party member: thousands of families in Beijing have been displaced and moved into the suburbs. She works as an evictor. She says those who are poor have to move out to the suburbs. Choice housing is one of the many perks of Communist Party membership. Residents of this southern Chinese city say bribes are another. They accuse local officials of contributing to the substandard building of many of the schools that collapsed during the recent earthquake and killed hundreds of children. Party members have vowed to weed out corruption but some corruption is inevitable when the Communist Party is so large. This analyst says when it comes to the Party, ideology has been thrown out the window and anyone who thinks it's advantageous to be part of the party is welcome to be a member. But the concept of economic development has changed a lot since the birth of the Communist Party in China. originally, economic development meant the advancement of the proletariat. To that end, the Cultural Revolution was launched in 1966, and peasants assumed government leadership. In 1976, a new phase began for the party: fostering development by embracing capitalism, even if it still cracked down hard on political dissent. The Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 shocked the world but it also sped up the pace of party recruitment, and thus coopted much of the elite says this analyst. He says the Party has recognized that the needs of its people have shifted from basic necessities to modern consumer goods. But many Chinese realize this still doesn't mean there's political freedom in China. And life is still not good for 10% of China's population which has yet to realize the benefits of a socialist market economy. The cost of housing and basic public goods are out of the reach for many families. But China's leaders believe their policies are still consistent with the original meanings of the Communist Party. The Party believes the welfare of several hundred million is worth the difficult welfare of a couple million people. That's a view in which hardline Marxists would probably disagree.

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