March 10, 2006

Chinese Communists Losing Their Mao-jo

The Party has an image problem. And the ones from 1989 do not help.

And it is not about new faces or the need for a spiffy new slogan or slick marketing campaign:
BEIJING: Like a giant company with organizational disarray and a sinking public image, the Chinese Communist Party is trying to remake itself into an efficient modern machine. But to do so, it has chosen one of its oldest political tools-a Maoist-style ideological campaign, complete with required study groups.

For 14 months and counting, the party's 70 million rank-and-file members have been assigned readings that include speeches by Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, as well as the numbing treatise of more than 17,000 words that is the party constitution. Mandatory meetings include sessions in which cadres must offer self-criticisms and also criticize everyone else.

"It is an effort to cope with the declining reputation of the party and the distrust of the people toward party officials," said Wenran Jian, director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta in Canada.
Apparently they have decided to call this campaign bao xian--"preserving the progressiveness"--though it is unlikely to lead to any substantive change. Some fear that China could suffer if it loses communism. Not quite sure that that means much any more, aside from the loss of the party, as the ideology is--thankfully--long gone.

Old China, with Mao leading the young revolutionaries to Communist bliss.

New China (photos from 2001), with businesses worried about red ink rather than little red books.


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