China’s Communist Party: Big, Getting Bigger

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The upper echelons of Chinese leadership appear to have come face to face with a realization that’s true all the world over: slimming down is hard to do

Felicia Sonmez writes: Quality over quantity. Less is more.

Those have been the watchwords of the Chinese Communist Party ever since its top leaders declared in early 2013 that its membership would be controlled in a bid to improve the organization’s “vigor and vitality.”

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Two years later, the upper echelons of Chinese leadership appear to have come face to face with a realization that’s true all the world over: slimming down is hard to do.

In a communique released Tuesday, the Organization Department of the Communist Party’s Central Committee said that the party boasted 87.793 million members as of the end of 2014. The figure – which exceeds the entire population of Germany – represents a net increase of 1.1 million from a year earlier.

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China is in the midst of a sweeping anti-graft campaign under President Xi Jinping, with announcements of corrupt officials’ investigation and ouster from the party a near-weekly occurrence. Along with that crackdown has come a steady stream of warnings for party members to rein in behavior ranging from their mahjong playing to the use of terms like “dude” or “boss” when addressing their superiors.

[Read the full story here, at China Real Time Report – WSJ]

At its heart is the pursuit of the party’s survival. Xi and other top leaders have made a point of reminding cadres that the Chinese Communist Party must avoid the same pitfalls that brought about the demise of the former Soviet Union – particularly disloyalty to Communist ideals – with some Chinese scholars warning that the Soviet collapse came when the ranks of its Communist Party had swollen to an unwieldy 19 million, or nearly 10% of the Soviet Union’s adult population.

The membership of the Chinese Communist Party currently stands at about 7.8% of China’s adult population. Read the rest of this entry »


‘But it was a really good parking place!” Chinese man sentenced to death for killing toddler after argument over parking space

Han Lei, center, is handcuffed by police officers after his verdict was read in a court in Beijing, China Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. The court convicted Han and sentenced him to death for hurling a toddler to the ground in a case that horrified the Chinese public.

Han Lei, center, is handcuffed by police officers after his verdict was read in a court in Beijing, China Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. The court convicted Han and sentenced him to death for hurling a toddler to the ground in a case that horrified the Chinese public.

BEIJING — A Beijing court on Wednesday convicted a man of murder and sentenced him to death for hurling a toddler to the ground in a case that horrified the Chinese public.

The 2-year-old girl was severely injured and died in a hospital days after the incident. Her attacker, Han Lei, fled the scene, but police caught him the following day. In court, he said he thought he had been throwing a shopping cart to the ground. Read the rest of this entry »


Bo Xilai found guilty on all charges, sentenced to life in prison

Beijing (CNN) — A court in eastern China sentenced Bo Xilai — the former rising star of the ruling Communist Party who fell from power amid a scandal involving murder, betrayal and financial skullduggery — to life in prison Sunday.

Bo received the life sentence for bribe-taking, as well as 15 years for embezzlement and seven years for abuse of power. Read the rest of this entry »