CPC `remains popular`, membership grows to 78 million
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Last Updated: Monday, June 28, 2010, 23:44
Beijing: The popularity of China's Communist Party has continued to grow, with two million people seeking its membership which is seen as a passport to the ruling class elite.

The Communist Party’s membership touched 78 million in 2009, or nearly 3 percent from 2008. It is an increase of two million, almost keeping pace with China’s population growth.

Even as over 20 million people applied to join the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2009, the party recruited about two million new members, said Wang Qinfeng, Deputy head of the Organisation Department of the CPC Central Committee.

The two million new members were selected from over 20 million who applied for membership, Wang was quoted as saying by the People's Daily newspaper, the official newspaper of the government.

Applicants for party membership need recommendations from current members and his or her company or work unit leader showing a strong degree of party loyalty, plus "good behaviour." They also have to submit essays expressing support for the party.

Elaborating on the membership profile, Wang said about 18.5 million were under 35 years old and about 28 million held a college degree or above.

Founded in 1921 by Mao Zedong, who later emerged as a cult figure heading the most violent revolutionary movement followed by mass purges during the Cultural Revolution.

More than just an ideology, membership in the elite Communist Party opens the way for large networking opportunity with China's ruling class and provides special benefits such as health care perks, retirement benefits and greater career opportunities.

Since Deng Xiaoping took over the reins of the party in 1978, the CPC brought about a vast variety of changes introducing mostly economic reforms that brought billions of dollars for foreign investment followed by introduction of private property, which was virtually abolished by Mao.

The CPC members took the lead in helping China host the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics in 2008, celebrate the 60th anniversary of China last year, Wang said, while skirting uncomfortable issues like growing labour unrest and poverty in the countryside.


First Published: Monday, June 28, 2010, 23:44

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