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Growth of Party membership records slower growth

2014-07-01 08:38 Global Times Web Editor: Li Yan
Graphics: GT

Graphics: GT

CPC wants quality, not quantity, say experts

For the first time in a decade, the Communist Party of China (CPC) saw a decline in its membership growth rate last year, the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee announced on Monday, a day before the world's largest political party celebrates its 93rd founding anniversary.

The number of CPC members totaled 86.69 million by the end of 2013, up 1.8 percent year-on-year. The growth rate saw a rare decrease of 1.3 percentage points from 2012, according to the statement from the organization department.

Some 2.41 million people joined the Party in 2013, 825,000 fewer from the previous year, which marked the first drop in newly-enlisted CPC members in the past decade.

Statistics from the organization department showed that 2.42 million members enlisted in 2004 and the number of new members per year kept growing and finally exceeded 3 million in 2012. Some 21.66 million people had filed their applications by the end of 2013, read the statement.

The CPC Central Committee urged earlier in June that new Party members should be enlisted a "prudent" and "balanced" manner. The new recruitment efforts should control the overall size of the Party, optimize the structure, improve the quality and enhance the role of Party members in society, following requirements raised at a meeting of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau in January.

Zhang Xi'en, a political science professor at Shandong University, told the Global Times that the decrease was an implementation of the decision made at the top to control the size of the CPC, rather than a result of fewer people being willing to join the Party.

"Stricter controls on new membership cannot fix the structural problems of the CPC. There are some CPC members who are not able or willing to fulfill their obligations to the public. The system needs a mechanism to exclude unqualified members," Zhang noted, adding that the present standards, including a "lifelong struggle for Communism," are too empty.

Some 114 unqualified people out of nearly 220,000 total members from Yichun, East China's Jiangxi Province have been expelled or told to quit during the discipline overhaul which started in April 2013.

An official from a district justice bureau in Shanghai told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that the many problems have been revealed among Party members that require rectification and new members must go through strict inspection.

"Some don't care for the Party, instead, they focus on their own promotion," the official said.

Zhang also observed similar utilitarianism among student Party members, who make up 3 percent of all CPC members and 39 percent of the newly enlisted, as many students file their applications because Party membership can open some doors in job hunting.

The Monday statement also noted that the number of the Party's grass-roots committees rose to 4.3 million last year, a 2.4 percent increase from 2012.

"Instead of focusing on the number of CPC members or the coverage of local Party committees, what's more important is their role in and contribution to local communities. Many have failed to actually represent people's interests. Some damage the Party image through their wrongdoing," Zhang warned.

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