China’s Communist Party

China’s Communist Party

The world’s second-biggest party
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features one important number about China to give you insight into the rising power. 91.9 million: How many people that were members of the Chinese Communist Party at the end of 2019. The ruling party of China, also known as CCP, has continued to grow 99 years after its founding in 1921, adding 1.3 million people to its ranks last year. Only India’s 180-million-strong Bharatiya Janata Party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, has more members. Today, about one in 15 people in China are CCP members, and they come from all walks of life. They can be factory workers, farmers, entrepreneurs and elite politicians. Notable party members include Jack Ma
Hong Kong’s Tiananmen vigil goes ahead, with a new generation galvanized
Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen Square vigil gained fresh urgency as people defied a ban to gather on Thursday to remember the 1989 crackdown. In recent years, the organizer of the annual vigil had faced questions about its relevance from young people who dismissed it as naive and idealistic for caring about democratic change over the border in mainland China. But this time, Hong Kong activists put aside such differences in the face of a looming threat: a national security law to be imposed on their city by China’s central government, which could come into effect within weeks. Many feared the law – which Beijing says will “prevent, stop and punish” secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign i
Wuhan to test all 11 million residents for Covid-19
The 11 million residents of the central Chinese city of Wuhan are to be tested for Covid-19 after a cluster of new cases of the disease emerged over the weekend. The city – the outbreak’s initial epicenter – gave all of its districts until Tuesday to come up with plans to test all residents within 10 days, with residential estates and densely populated areas expected to receive special attention. The tests will cover not only people classed as residents, but also migrant workers, estimated to number in their millions. The district of Wuchang, which has a population of more than one million, is aiming to conduct the tests between May 13 and May 20, according to a government document obtained
A Chinese tycoon criticized coronavirus response. Now he is missing
Friends of Ren Zhiqiang, the Chinese former property tycoon and outspoken critic of the country’s ruling Communist Party, are concerned about his whereabouts after losing contact with him for several days. The 69-year-old has been out of touch since an article he wrote criticizing the way in which Chinese authorities responded to the coronavirus outbreak was widely circulated online, they said. “I haven’t been able to reach Ren Zhiqiang since Thursday night … it’s been over 72 hours already,” Wang Ying, an entrepreneur and friend, said. Zhang Ming, a history professor at Renmin University in Beijing, said he too had been unable to contact Ren. “A citizen can’t just disappear, we need to know
Xi’s China faces ‘crisis of Chernobyl proportions’
Long before it became synonymous with a viral outbreak, the central Chinese city of Wuhan had been at the heart of some key political events in the country’s modern history. It was where an armed uprising began in 1911 that ended thousands of years of imperial rule. It was where Mao swam across the Yangtze River in 1966, at the age of 72, in a publicity stunt that helped rally support for his Cultural Revolution. This winter, it was the starting point for an outbreak of a new coronavirus – which causes the disease now officially known as Covid-19 – that has rapidly spread across the country and beyond, killing more than 1,380 people and paralyzing cities. The crisis has been referred to as C
China commemorates national hero: its first female tractor driver
Liang Jun, a woman who became an archetype for the ideal socialist worker, died on Tuesday in the northern Chinese city of Harbin. She was 89 years old.  Liang, who had been sick for the past two years, was famous in China because she was featured on the country’s 1 yuan banknote, which pictured her contentedly driving a tractor. The banknote was released in 1962 and stopped circulating in 2000. In 1950, Liang was hailed as “China's first female tractor driver” by People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece. That same year, she became a “national model worker,” which is an honorary title given to those deemed to have contributed significantly to building a socialist society. The title w
Here’s why Beijing’s new Hong Kong envoy was a surprise choice
Bringing a political veteran with no relevant experience out of semi-retirement and making him the top envoy to Hong Kong shows Beijing’s determination to reset its policy on the city, according to insiders and observers. Luo Huining’s appointment as the new director of the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong came as a surprise even to Communist Party insiders. But while he is seen as capable, he was an unlikely candidate for the job. Having turned 65 in October, Luo was supposed to be easing into semi-retirement. Under party rules, senior officials of Luo’s rank are relieved from key positions at the age of 65.  They are then transferred to less demanding roles – usually in Chi
Why Xi Jinping wants everyone to know he ate on the train
Chinese President Xi Jinping is the kind of president who does not mind eating his dinner on the train and who shuns luxurious accommodation, according to the latest state media reports designed to portray him as a thrifty and frugal leader. The report by state news agency Xinhua published on Monday depicted him as a man who would spend his birthday working and personally intervened to ensure that meals in honor were not too extravagant. The report was also intended to reinforce the message to officials that staying down to earth was “no trivial matter” but was key to fulfilling the party’s “original mission” in what one analyst described as a Mao Zedong-style effort to show he was on the si
Can China learn the lessons of a failed dynasty?
Are we finally seeing Pax Sinica 2.0, or is China engaging in a self-fulfilling prophecy that will lead to its doom (again)? Back in 2013, I wrote that China proffered a valid voice that would help maintain and shape the international order in its current form.  My 2015 book China, State Sovereignty and International Legal Order argued that China’s assertions and exercise of sovereignty should not be taken automatically as signs of aggression, or acts beyond the remit of international law, that would threaten world peace.  In turn, international law would moderate and influence China’s state behavior, both within its territory and in its relations with other states. Since then, President Xi
The year the Chinese propaganda machine failed spectacularly
If President Xi Jinping’s team carries out annual job appraisals, China’s overseas propaganda team will surely be found to have performed catastrophically.  Whether it is Hong Kong or Xinjiang, Huawei or the trade war with the United States, the Chinese regime has had a string of notable public relations failures this year. While the regime’s propaganda efforts have worked quite well on the domestic audience, mainly because of the Great Firewall, the overseas propaganda arm has suffered major defeats.  Despite deploying numerous resources via official and unofficial channels, the regime has not only failed to achieve its intended purpose of interacting well with the rest of the world but als