Life of the Party; with a Glitzy New Cadre School and a 'Rejuvenation' Campaign, the Chinese Communist Party Is Scrambling to Remain Relevant in a Fast-Changing Society

Newsweek International, May 30, 2005 | Go to article overview

Life of the Party; with a Glitzy New Cadre School and a 'Rejuvenation' Campaign, the Chinese Communist Party Is Scrambling to Remain Relevant in a Fast-Changing Society


Byline: Melinda Liu and Jonathan Ansfield (With Craig Simons in Beijing and Duncan Hewitt in Shanghai)

At first, the place looks like an American business school. The new China Executive Leadership Academy dominates a manicured campus covering 40 hectares of Shanghai's Pudong district. The massive chrome-and-mirrored-glass buildings are accented by architectural features in bright red. The color is appropriate: CELAP is actually a training center for the best and brightest cadres of the Chinese Communist Party. In a country where party elders traditionally run the show, the average age of CELAP's 128 instructors is a mere 34 years. "The central government wants us to be creative, to get away from routine. So we choose young teachers instead of famous names who might have fixed ideas that are hard to change," says Prof. Xi Jieren, executive vice president of the academy. And here--especially here--what the party says, goes. "Our first graduates were easy to control," says Xi, beaming. "When teachers told them to line up, they lined up."

The Chinese Communist Party is scrambling to remain relevant--and dominant--in a society that's liberalizing and commercializing at warp speed. Forget about Mao Zedong's "Little Red Book." Today, cadres study everything from B-school case studies to speeches by former British "new left" imagemeister and current EU Trade czar Peter Mandelson to policy books from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. In February, the party launched an 18-month rectification campaign to "stay advanced" in a fast-changing world--and to retain tight control over its 68 million members. In addition to Shanghai, the CCP recently opened national-party schools in Jinggangshan and Yanan--the cities where Mao's historic Long March began and ended, respectively. What's more, the party is actively wooing many "society" (nonparty) individuals--especially promising private-sector executives--with, among other things, refresher courses for M.B.A. s. "No matter whether you're in government or business, you need leadership qualities," says Xi.

That should be a statement of the obvious. But in the topsy-turvy world of contemporary Chinese politics, governance has too often taken a back seat to ideology, connections, factionalism and class background--often with tragic results, such as the chaotic 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution. It wasn't until Deng Xiaoping started reforming China's moribund, centrally planned economy in 1979 that comrades who were "expert," meaning professionally competent, were considered on par with those who were "Red," or ideologically correct. The mainland's unique--and uniquely successful--hybrid Leninist-market system is still euphemistically called "socialism with Chinese characteristics." Only in 2001 did the CCP publicly endorse the induction of private entrepreneurs into its ranks.

Now the party seems determined not simply to control China Inc., but to become it. That means the party--which used to execute landlords and persecute former capitalists--is now training private-sector business executives who are contributing significantly to China's economic boom. (In Shanghai, privately run firms comprise 70 percent of all businesses and in 2004 accounted for nearly 40 percent of the city's $90 billion GDP.) The party is concentrating on corporate leadership in part to combat corruption. At the Jiangsu Far East Group, one of China's top electrical-cable manufacturers, 42-year-old CEO Jiang Xipei says the current drive is crucial if the party is to thin its ranks of crooked, profligate and selfish apparatchiks. "They've hurt our party's image and made ordinary people very angry," says Jiang, who was among the first group of private entrepreneurs invited to attend the 2002 Party Congress.

The past two decades of sizzling economic growth should not obscure the fact that the Communist Party remains an opaque, hidebound, Leninist-style hierarchy. Party always trumps government. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Life of the Party; with a Glitzy New Cadre School and a 'Rejuvenation' Campaign, the Chinese Communist Party Is Scrambling to Remain Relevant in a Fast-Changing Society
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.