Unswerving loyalty to the Communist Party may be mere lip service for most of China’s 80 million members. But 86-year-old Zhao Jianfan says his dedication is real – and will continue "in spirit" long after he is gone.
Zhao, a retired worker from the Tangshan Municipality waterworks department, plans to accomplish this by prepaying 20,000 yuan (HK$25,300) in monthly party fees for the next 100 years.
According to the Guangming Daily, Zhao appeared at the water department’s party committee office on Monday to hand over the prepayment in cash.
Staff at the committee office accepted his payment and called him a “good role model for younger party members”.
“The party has given me too much while my own contribution [to the party] has been minimal,” he told the newspaper. “I want to be a spiritual member of the party 100 years after I die."
Zhao, who joined the Chinese Communist Party on January 12, 1986, says he has scrimped and saved and even forfeited buying a cemetery space to realise his “lifelong dream” of paying off a century worth of membership fees. Party fees are about 15 yuan per month.
He lives a simple and frugal life with his 88-year-old wife in a 40 square metres house in Tangshan, Hebei province. He says any extra cash he has will either be saved or go to charity.
Zhao says he donated close to 1,000 yuan for disaster relief after the Wenzhou earthquake in 2008.