During a conversation with Professor Kishore Mahbubani, the former Singaporean diplomat told me of an episode in which one of his most brilliant interns, a Chinese woman, revealed to him great frustration.
The girl had graduated from high school in China as the second best student in her school. I was disappointed. Getting second was not the problem in itself. The frustration was that only the first place in the school was invited to join the Chinese Communist Party.
Although 95 million Chinese are members of the acronym, getting accepted into the club is difficult. In 2019, 19 million people applied to join the party. The success rate was 12.3%. The process can take up to three years.
Looking at it from a distance, it would be almost intuitive to think that young people wanted to keep their distance from the Chinese PC, generally seen as serious, hierarchical, dominated by sixties and in which promotions are associated with age and age. experience.
The centennial celebration, however, maintains its appeal to young people. A quarter of the acronym’s members are under 35 years old. The interest in entering the legend would reach 80% among students of some universities.
Why the interest? What are today’s young people looking for with the club membership card? Grandiose aspirations or ideological convictions tell only part of the story. While it’s hard to measure the real reasons, studies point to very practical reasons behind the nominations.
Getting accepted into the party is literally a star on your resume. It helps in a career in the public service or in a public company and also in the private sector. Command positions in government are almost always held by members. Managerial positions in universities and hospitals, ditto. It is interesting to note that there are vacancies in the private sector reserved for members. Tech giant Baidu gained attention last year because of this demand for a government relations job. It was not the only one.
Contacts facilitated by club membership enhance professional prospects in any industry. And the so-called “guanxi” – personal relationships – are of great value in China.
Being linked to the party is also a sign of prestige. Combined with good academic credentials, membership makes a young person’s resume stand out. If the legend knows how to be pragmatic, Chinese youth too.
However, it is wrong to think that it all comes down to a utilitarian perspective; let everyone seek the party for individual gain. The interest is also motivated by idealism, which is interwoven with political and ideological convictions hard cultivated since kindergarten.
In the absence of real alternatives, many choose to join the club to make their contribution to causes whose boundaries are deliberately blurred – party, country and society. Chinese CP devotion is promoted as a sign of devotion to others.
Not only are young people interested in the party, but the party also cultivates the interest of young people. The Communist Youth League has over 109 million members, aged 14 to 28. Recruiting good executives is important in the logic of Chinese technocracy. In addition, the acronym’s longevity can be explained in part by its ability to adapt to new circumstances. This characteristic could be reinforced by the presence of young people.
The Chinese Communist Party aims to achieve the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” in another centenary, the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 2049. It knows that it will not rejuvenate without the young, especially the more prepared. The communism they believe in is another story.
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