On November 15, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) published an authoritative report titled, “China's Political System.” The nearly 15,000-word document reiterated the CCP's ruling status, and stated that the system of multi-party cooperation under the leadership of the CCP is “the choice of history, the choice of the people and the choice of democratic parties.” It asserted that the current number of CCP members found in mainland China is “70 million.”
Several China experts both at home and abroad indicated that while this report carried no new ideas, its release date and purpose are intriguing. Many experts regard the document as an indirect response to the recent open call for political reform emanating from various circles both inside and outside of China, and the ever increasing amount of CCP withdrawals.
Report Blocks Path to Political Reform
In analyzing the reasons for and background behind this document, political commentator Wu Fan indicated that people are generally unsatisfied with the outcome of the CCP's 17th National Congress last month. Represented by Wang Zhaojun, Zheng Cunzhu, Guo Quan and others, people of various social strata have published open letters that urge for a change in the status quo. Wu believes that the recent report can be seen as the CCP's indirect response to those calling for change.
“The content of the report shows that the CCP is still deceiving, distorting and concealing historical facts to propagandize the so-called multi-party cooperation and consultative politics under their leadership,” said Wu. “Eight democratic parties have been pushed to the frontline as canon fodder to withstand the tide of people demanding political reform. The ultimate motive behind this document is to resist political reform through deception.”
“When an open letter triggers a chain reaction in society to the extent that it is even being widely discussed in an open public opinion environment, the CCP has to respond,” explained Zhang Weiguo, chief editor of Hong Kong Trend magazine. “Judging from the content of this report, the CCP has refused to accept these suggestions, and instead has completely blocked the path toward political reform.”
Tide of Withdrawal Scares the CCP
The report repeats the CCP's assertion that the current number of CCP members in mainland China is “70 million.”
Zhang believes that the CCP's report is directly linked to the tide of people withdrawing from the communist party both at home and abroad, and can be counted as a veiled response to it. Zhang expresses that the CCP has always been tight on the inside but loose outside. It dares not to publicly respond to the tide of withdrawal, as it fears causing an inadvertent propaganda effect. However, it has taken measures internally, such as the “Maintaining Advancement” movement, which uses falsifications to block and cover it up. Zhang believes their effort will be in vain.
“The flood of withdrawals is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the CCP,” said Zhang. “Its impact is hitting the CCP at its core, that's why it's very afraid. The continuous flow of withdrawals from various CCP organizations is constantly rattling the regime's legitimacy and stability. The impact is especially significant when officials who control various resources also withdraw from the party.”
Wu said the CCP has been covering up the tide of withdrawals by repeatedly publicizing the number of CCP members. Despite reports that are contrary to this, the government has not been able to deny the rising trend of withdrawal or the legitimacy of the number of withdrawals.
“We are coming up on the third anniversary of the release of The Nine Commentaries,” Wu said. “Withdrawals from CCP organizations have been steadily gaining ground. With this report, the CCP is trying to assure itself and at the same time avoid giving a direct response [to the changes taking place.] This further exposes its fear of the crisis at hand.”
Democracy Party Leaders Are Often CCP Members
According to Shangdong University professor Sun Wenguang, democracy parties are not independent, and they are totally controlled by the communist party, making them unable to fulfill their role of monitoring the CCP.
“Democratic parties are all being run by the United Front Department of the CCP,” said Sun, who was once a committee member of the Shandong Branch of China's National Democratic Construction Association. “When democracy parties want to recruit new members, they would have to get approval from the United Front Department. When democracy parties hold internal elections, the candidate list must be approved by this organization. When democracy parties organize an activity, the UFD would send people to monitor them. Democracy parties are strictly controlled in their recruitment, and their operation budgets come from the United Front Department.
According to Sun, many of the high-ranking leaders of democracy parties hold a dual-identity—they are actually CCP members. Sun believes they have been planted by the government to monitor, control, assimilate, and divide.
“I originally thought it was something that had happened due to historical reasons, but I discovered in the recent years that the CCP is still recruiting new members through these democracy parties, and it's still planting its people in leadership positions of democracy parties,” Sun said.