When I first saw a webpage on Xinhuanet.com that was devoted to promoting the campaign of "Maintaining the Advanced Nature of the Communist Party," it reminded me of the "red sea" phenomenon in the Cultural Revolution era. The page was designed using red as the main theme. The communist symbol of "hammer and sickle" was put in the prominent place. Xinhuanet.com is not alone. On any homepage of the Chinese government or the state-controlled Chinese press media, you can find a link to such a similar, devoted webpage.
The push comes from the very top Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders. It is reported by Xinhuanet that in January this year, the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee spent its first three group study sessions of the year to study how to maintain the Communist Party’s "advanced nature." At one of the sessions, Party General Secretary Hu Jintao warned his comrades that this educational political movement "concerns the fundamental issues of Communist Party’s survival and growth."
This new political campaign has been the main propaganda theme for several months in China. The main purpose of the campaign is to continue brainwashing the Chinese, especially the Party members. It requires Party members to study and repeat the Marxist theory that socialism will eventually replace capitalism, and to remember the "superiority" of the CCP and socialism.
According to the Xinhua News Agency, the CCP has entered the second phase of the campaign. On June 23, 2005, the campaign "leadership group" held its working meeting in Beijing. The meeting summarized the previous activities of the campaign and completed the planning for the second phase. According to the requirements of "the Opinion of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee regarding the use of the ‘Three Represents’ as the Core Contents of ‘Maintaining the Advancement of the Party,’" the second phase will start from July 2005 and end approximately in December 2005. It will involve 1.8 million grass-roots Party organizations and over 30 million members.
The central committee instructs that different levels of local Party commission and relevant agencies of Party and government organizations should further strengthen leadership and accountability. Enterprises in the second phase of "Maintaining the Advancement of the Party" should form core leadership organizations, and the Party head should be the group leader.
According to plans of the Party Central Committee, the Central Leadership Group of the "Maintaining the Advancement of the Party" campaign will conduct national tour checks to make sure the campaign has been carried out thoroughly.
Outside the CCP leadership circle, however, this political campaign was not well received by the people. Instead, Chinese people are more curious about censored news that many Chinese people are renouncing their membership in the CCP. (See photo on this page.)
These days it’s easy to find people’s real opinions by just reading their anonymous online posts. The online post room of www.baidu.com, the largest search engine in China, shows thousands of such opinions from anonymous Chinese Internet users. Most are cynical and express discontent with the CCP campaign. The following are a few examples of such short, sometimes subtle posts regarding the CCP campaign to maintain advanced nature:
1. We are going through formalities with meticulous care; while, in truth, we are only cheating ourselves.
2. The apple is rotten to the core, how can it keep "fresh (advancement)?" [Note: the words for fresh and advancement pronounce the same in Chinese.]
3. From initial estimates, this campaign costs the nation more than 100 billion yuan. I’m sad. This campaign is cheating oneself and cheating others!
4. What has the "advancement" campaign advanced? Has it benefited the people? Has it changed anything? All paper and printing businesses are now revitalized (due to the campaign spending)!
5. This is the essence of unique Chinese politics. They want to cheat people with false, big, and hollow theories. Even though they themselves don’t believe it!
6. What is a Communist Party member? They are the ones eating, drinking, playing, and enjoying. The nation is sleeping. The Party is playing the society. People are weeping. It’s a pity that we Chinese people have such a strong slavery mentality, we won’t stand up until the final moment of life and death. I’m sad.
7. On the tree of the Party, there are so many corpses of dried rotten apples. They are still hanging on the tree. If there’s no determination to pick them off the tree, how can the "advancement" campaign win people’s hearts?
8. The formality of the Chinese Communist Party is murder.
9. Our leaders are lunatics. They should be sent to mental hospitals.
Christene Chen is a correspondent for Chinascope.