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People's Daily Online

Party-building strengthened to welcome 19th CPC National Congress

People's Daily Online

By Xu Ming (Global Times) 12:22, October 03, 2017

Regular Party activities remind members of their identity, strengthen their faith

Mao has been so busy in recent months that she says her feet have "barely touched the ground."

Since the end of last year, Mao has been juggling the duties of both her profession and her role on the organization committee of her company's Party branch.

While this was not a challenge before, she says her Party workload is getting heavier.

"We receive documents and instructions from the higher Party branch every few days. You can feel that the activities related to the Party are increasingly frequent," said Mao.

These activities include holding meetings with her Party member colleagues, listening to professors speak on the topic of Party-building and watching documentaries made specifically for educating Party members.

This increased activity is not limited to branches like Mao's which are at State-owned companies. As the 19th Session of the National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) approaches, Party-building activities of all kinds are being held at CPC branches nationwide.

"The whole Party is making all-out efforts in Party work and Party-building, to welcome the 19th CPC National Congress," Zhang Xixian, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, told the Global Times.

To Zhang, the newfound busyness of the millions of Party branches is also a result of the education campaign which kicked off in February 2016. The campaign sought to encourage all Party members to study theoretical and practical issues related to Party-building.

"In this round of studies, the policy of strict Party discipline has extended to grass-roots level Party members and the whole Party has been exploring methods of strengthening Party-building and Party member management amid new situations and new demands," said Zhang. "It is time to reap the fruit of these efforts."

Normalized Party activities

To prepare for the national congress and to celebrate the 96th anniversary of the CPC's founding, more than 760 Party members from the State-owned China Construction First Building Corporation Limited took a tour to trace the Party's footprints from its birth to today. The 50-day trip took them to several Chinese cities such as Chairman Mao's hometown of Shaoshan, Hunan Province and even Moscow.

Besides their journey, they attended lectures, performances and a commendation conference. All the travelers also renewed the vows they made when they joined the Party.

As the national congress draws closer, grass-roots Party organizations, from those in State-owned enterprises to those in remote mountain villages, are actively reinforcing the education of their members and many new Party branches are being set up, like the widely-publicized Party branch for Internet celebrities established by live-streaming site douyu.com.

In Yongchun township, East China's Fujian Province, CPC members recently learned that from now on they will participate in a regular "Party Day" on the first working day of every month.

"Party members, today is the first working day of May and also Party Day in our county, please join the activity held by the Party branch you belong to," read a message sent to the township's Party members.

"Previously 'Party activities' simply meant attending meetings and studying reading materials, and some members did not actively get involved. Now there are various forms of Party work and Party members call early to ask about the activity every month," Zheng Dade, a Party branch secretary in Yongchun told qzwb.com, a news website in Fujian Province. "The significance of Party Day is that it helps develop members' habit of joining Party activities regularly."

Mao says that this habit has become firmly ingrained in her. She recollected that her Party duties started to become stricter last year. Her branch closely follows the schedule that tells them when to hold different Party meetings and when members should attend classes every month. These classes focus on studying the speeches of General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping and enhancing the members' Party spirit.

They boost this spirit by singing red songs; visiting patriotic sites like Lugou Bridge, where Japan's full-scale invasion of China kicked off; visiting an exhibition named "The Road of Rejuvenation" about China's rise; and watching anti-corruption documentaries.

"The regular activities no doubt remind you that you are a Party member and enhance your sense of identity," Mao shared with the Global Times, adding that Party activities have become an inseparable part of her daily life now.

Fighting indifference

According to Zhang, in the past two or three decades, Party-building has been "softened, dwarfed, weakened and marginalized" due to loose management.

"Some Party members are indifferent about their identity and are weak in their ideals and ethics. Some members even believe in gods or ghosts," said Zhang, "Against this background, enhancing Party members' consciousness and faith is of unprecedented significance and the top priority is ensuring that members study."

While members could easily skip Party branch activities before, they are now required to take part in each session.

They do not only need to show up for classes and meetings, but also need to study for enough hours and take notes in a special notebook.

"We take notes at every meeting, writing down our comments and what we have learned," said Mao. After she lost her notebook, she rewrote all her old notes from memory in her new one in case this homework is checked one day.

"Now our members all attend every activity if there are no special circumstances," Mao said.

Beijing college teacher Lucy Tao shared with the Global Times that her Party branch's meetings and activities have also become more frequent since the latter half of 2016.

"We not only write notes but also take tests after studying the theoretical and practical issues related to Party-building," said Tao. "I believe it helps. After studying many times, you naturally reflect on how to promote yourself, how to play a leading role in life and work."

"Whether one has strong Party consciousness is like how two people deal with their friendship. If two people don't contact each other for 10 years, even though they are still friends, they may have gradually forgotten how close they used to be," said Zhang. "Similarly, if Party branches don't hold activities and their members don't even participate in Party activities, their Party consciousness naturally fades."

"It is very logical to strengthen Party members' consciousness and activate the team through education and management," Zhang added.

Vanguard role

Zhang suggested that it is important to avoid formalism in the process. "When Party branches organize activities and members learn about the Party Constitution, they should also implement what they learn in their daily lives instead of casting it aside afterward," noted Zhang.

"There should be a system to check, evaluate and supervise how Party members practice the Party Constitution and Party members' eight obligations," he added.

The Party Constitution says that one important obligation of Party members is to play a "vanguard role" in production, work, study and social life.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, some 195,000 Party members have been sent to impoverished villages across the country to play a leading role in Party-building and relieving poverty, according to media reports.

According to Zhang, boosting the vanguard role of Party members will be a gradual process that takes time.

"It is quite sensible to expect Party members to play a vanguard role at work. It depends on how grass-roots Party branches encourage them in this direction," said Zhang. According to the Xinhua News Agency, as of the end of 2016, there were a total of 89.44 million Party members in China and more than 4.5 million Party branches.

"The first thing is to draw them closer to the Party through education and management. The next step requires a systematic project and the design of platforms to allow them to take the lead. It takes time," added Zhang.

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