Recently, my office was visited by a local office of the Chinese Communist Party to establish a formal relationship with my company. My thoughts are below:
The Party is a very top-down, protocol driven organization. This meeting was with grassroots workers from the Party, meaning from a sub-district office. At the meeting, they hung up the Communist Party flag on the wall, and before we began, we stood facing the flag as the Chinese national anthem was played. At the closing of the meeting, we stood to the Internationale. The meeting proceeded with strict protocol, leaders sat at the front, one gave introductory remarks, and then the Secretary gave most of the other comments. In general, it was more of a lecture as opposed to discussion. Non-Party members were not allowed to speak.
The Party is struggling with how to stay relevant in today's China. Throughout the entire meeting, the Secretary seemed to be promoting the benefits of being affiliated with the Party, for example, mentioning how they can help introduce us to people and organizations that can collaborate, and how we can be mentioned in the Party's publications. To the company's Party members, the representatives encouraged them to recruit new members, and reminded them that the Party branch regularly organizes talent shows and singles mixers. For reference, out of a company of over 100 mostly young (under 30) employees, only four are Party members. This is a far cry from decades ago, when Party membership was widely sought by young and upwardly mobile Chinese.
At the same time, the Party is remaining true to its principles, to remain as the primary vehicle for personal betterment, and one through which members of society can contribute to their communities. The representatives reminded us that they hold courses and lectures on being better workers, better citizens as well as numerous volunteer opportunities.