China: Membership decline in the CCP

2 Min
China: Membership decline in the CCP

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has witnessed a sharp decline in its membership drive in 2022, according to recently released data which can be attributed to the stringent screening process implemented for new applicants, which was introduced as part of the party’s organizational restructuring to promote ideological progress.

The stringent screening process was implemented for new applicants, which was introduced as part of the party’s organizational restructuring to promote ideological progress.

The growth rate of the party stood at a meagre 1.4 per cent, marking a significant drop compared to the figures for 2021. This decline and the targeting of young members is not recent but can be traced back to 2012 when Xi Jinping assumed power.

However, in 2022, the party only managed to gain 1.3 million new members. This unexpected drop coincided with a decrease in youths under 30 joining the party, exhibiting a significant decline of 1.5 percent compared to 2021.

On the other hand, the party experienced a surge in membership by an additional 3.4 million cadres in 2021, resulting in a growth rate of 3.7 percent.

Despite a record-breaking 21 million applications submitted, 300,000 more than the previous year, the disdain of anti-corruption watchdogs towards young cadres has contributed to a decline in recruitment numbers.

Consequently, the total number of members below 30 has experienced a steady decline over the past few years, with a significant drop of 1.5 per cent since 2021. Xi’s attitude towards youth cadres plays a role in this trend.

Another notable reason behind this sharp decline is the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, China’s top anti-corruption agency. It conducted a series of high-profile crackdowns on young cadres, accusing them of involvement in corrupt activities.

Xi prioritized political appointments based on governance experience and loyalty, subjecting the party’s youth members to constant surveillance and scrutiny under anti-corruption initiatives.

The turning point came around 2014 when a major corruption scandal involved the former presidential chief of staff, sentenced to life imprisonment in 2016 for accepting bribes, abusing power, and unlawfully acquiring state secrets.

Since then, Xi has favoured promoting officials from his network and emphasized the importance of grassroots work experience, which youth members typically require.

He has often criticized the leadership of the Youth League as “aristocratic,” while the party’s top discipline watchdog has accused them of being excessively bureaucratic and self-serving.

Xi has called upon his anti-corruption watchdogs to further consolidate control over young cadres to enhance youth members’ education, management, and supervision, guiding them towards a politically correct path.

These measures reflect Xi’s influential presence and centralized vision for the party.

—- Beijing News Net, July 16, 2023