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Communist Party Strengthens its Role in Business; Will the Old Way Work?
VOA
2/15/2005

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Chinese leaders recently emphasized strengthening the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to play a leading role on industrial and commercial enterprises on a large scale. Observers noticed that slogans from the Beijing government, such as “Fully utilize various levels of the Party organization as bases in a battle ground” and other slogans that people have not seen for a long time are once again dominating Chinese media. It makes people feel China is going back to Mao Zedong’s time. Experts believe the resurgence of Communist Party culture shows that Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao’s leadership has not effectively discovered a new path on the issues of economic reform and managing corruption.

“Lead All Levels of Large and Medium-sized Enterprises”

The Chinese official news agency Xinhua News Agency said on Tuesday that the Politburo of the CCP held the nineteenth group study on the afternoon of January 24. Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the CCP Central Committee once again emphasized strengthening the Party’s structure, improving the Party's reigning ability, persevering in using Marxism-Leninism, Maoism, Deng Xiaoping's theory and the Theory of Three Represents to arm the entire Party. The Organization Department of the CCP also issued notice, asking Party committees at all levels to strengthen the Party’s leadership, especially the CCP’s leadership in large and medium-sized state enterprises. The CCP also emphasized that the management of enterprises at all levels must adhere to the Party. The boards of directors, the boards of supervisors and all significant positions all must be held by communist party members.

The Central Committee of the CCP not only ordered this through documents and the organizational system to carry out and strengthen the party’s function in the basic-level organization, but also sent out a supervision team to monitor the large state enterprises in carrying out the concrete deployment and planning. China Mobile Communications Corporation recently held an educational conference about maintaining the Communist Party members' advanced character under the supervision team of the Central Committee. Hu Jintao also personally led the members of the standing committee of the Politburo to participate in a public lecture by outstanding Communist Party members.

Changing the Direction and Going Backwards?

All of these are unexpected by observers. For many years, the CCP has continued to facilitate the market economy, adopt the policy of separation between Party and government and separation of the Party and business, has encouraged and assimilated private entrepreneurs to join the Communist Party, urged corporations and enterprises to carry out modern management of the companies and to fight corruption. But at present, the climate seems to have changed. The organizational structure of the CCP is once again emphasized, especially the leadership status of the CCP in large and medium-sized state enterprises. The analysts believe this act by the CCP seems to be against the trend of history.

“Old Thoughts Cannot Solve New Problems”

Fang Jue, a critic who had been an economic official in Fujian Province China and now lives in the United States, pointed out that Hu’s raising the issue of strengthening the leadership of the party shows his old ways of thinking, which cannot solve the new problems that the CCP is facing.

Fang said, “The Chinese Communist Party is now facing a difficult choice. The ways of anti-corruption that they are familiar with, such as strengthening the primacy of party thinking through education and political control have little effect. But they dare not to adopt the solutions used internationally, because it might directly threaten the rule of the CCP.”

Fang Jue said that there are three characteristics of the anti-corruption methods used internationally. One is the separation of legislative, judicial and executive powers. Another is freedom of the press. Still another is the judicial system’s independence. Fang thought that the experiences of many countries proved that the methods are effective, but the CCP is apparently not willing to use them. The CCP cannot use Western ways, and its present solutions are useless. Hu Jiantao can only use the CCP’s old solution, that is, anti-corruption through thought education. Fang pointed out that this old solution will definitely fail.

Great Changes in Society and the Economy, But Little Change in Politics

Zhang Jiadun (Gordon Chang), the author of The Coming Collapse of China, said that though China has gone through a huge change in its economy, its political system has not changed. The idea of strengthening the leadership of the party that Hu Jintao raises, reflects this fact.

Zhang said, “This is politics. Mao Zedong has said that politics is the first priority. Though China has gone through a big change, its political system isn’t changing. The economy and society in China have changed a lot and the speed of change is unprecedented. Nevertheless, all these changes are because of economic changes but not political ones. That’s why we find that Beijing always makes familiar decisions."

“Corruption Will Increase to a New Peak”

Zhang pointed out that the reform of China’s state-owned enterprises is starting to have some positive changes. However, if the methods Hu Jintao raises are practiced, the reform might go back to its old path. Strengthening the leadership of the party to lead enterprises not only will not enhance the effect of companies as the authorities think, but will push the corruption to a new peak.

Zhang Jiadun indicated that corruption has mainly happened between enterprises and government agency directors since the reform. Now the implementation of more authority might increase another way of corruption inside enterprises, that is, the corruption between the officials of the party and mangers inside enterprises. It will seriously affect the management of the enterprises and greatly increase the operating cost for the enterprises.


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