Chinese Communist Party, leading the world’s second-biggest economic power, a secret society – Times of India


BEIJING: China’s ruling Communist Party, which leads the world’s second-biggest economic power, is characterised by secrecy.
It was founded as an illegal Marxist underground movement in Shanghai a century ago, and it has subsequently been defined by the strict control of information, surveillance and purges of dissenters, writes Patrick Baert, in Asia Times.
There are several things that CCP does not like people to discuss.
The party is one of the largest in the world and claims to have 95.1 million members, but the list of these names is never revealed completely. From the latest figures released by the CCP’s Organization Department, only 6.5 million members are labourers and 25.8 million are agricultural workers – compared with a majority of 41 million white-collar professionals and 19 million retired cadres.
Another thing that the CCP does not want the people to discuss is how it is funded. Its budget is never made public, while the personal wealth of its leaders is an extremely sensitive topic.
CCP members donate 2% of their income to the party. CCP members contribute up to 2% of their income to party coffers. In 2016, an official journal reported that the total amount of contributions for the previous year was 7.08 billion yuan ($1 billion). But these contributions are a small part of CCP’s income, the government directly controls financial empires, companies, hotels and factories, Asia Times reported citing Jean-Pierre Cabestan of Hong Kong Baptist University.
Most foreign scholars of Chinese history estimate that between 40 and 70 million people in China have died as a result of the party’s policies since it came to power in 1949. These include numerous internal purges, the Great Leap Forward (Mao Zedong’s disastrous economic policy, which led to tens of millions dying from starvation), repression in Tibet, the decade-long Cultural Revolution and the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.
Human rights groups say an estimated one million Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang have been rounded up into internment camps – which Beijing says is to eradicate Islamic extremism – alongside claims of imposed sterilization and forced labour.
Another thing that China does not want to reveal is that hundreds of thousands of activists, lawyers and rights advocates have been detained or arrested over the years. Under Xi, the space for civil society has tightened. More than one million officials have been punished under his crackdown on corruption, though critics say the campaign has also served as a cover to purge political rivals.
Patrick Baert also states that a 2015 crackdown rounded up hundreds of lawyers and human rights activists while, in Hong Kong, dozens have been charged under a sweeping national security law that criminalizes anything deemed subversion.
Lastly, the secret meetings. CCP meetings include a five-yearly congress, which usually ends with the near-unanimous adoption of decisions. High-level meetings of the 200-strong Central Committee take place behind closed doors, as do those of the Political Bureau, the inner cabinet. State television usually broadcasts an officially approved readout later. The debates, if there are any, are not made public.





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