SCMP, November 15, 2002 The Chinese Communist Party made an historic step in transforming itself yesterday by formally incorporating a new political theory into its constitution that paves the way for admitting businessmen as members. To show it practises what the Theory of the Three Representatives preaches, a number of party members who are businessmen have even been elected alternate members of the Central Committee. The significance of their election has been tempered by the fact that most of them are executives of state-owned enterprises. Only one, leader of the township enterprise Haier group, could be seen as a private entrepreneur. Still, it is important that after more than two decades of developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, the party has had to find a way to accommodate the political ambitions of members who have gone 'capitalist'. Of course, the real test of the party's capacity to embrace businessmen will have to await the promotion of private entrepreneurs to its ruling machinery. Tokenism must be avoided. But the sooner 'red capitalists' are seen to be joining the party leadership, the better. For as China marches further down the road of developing a market economy, it is inevitable that it has to have policy-makers who are well-versed in business. Only then would it be able to introduce rules that would ensure a level playing field, the key to the development of orderly markets. As a political ideology, communism once dominated a big chunk of civilisation and played havoc with the lives of millions of people. Following the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe and Russia during the 1990s, China, Vietnam, North Korea, Laos and Cuba are now the only countries ruled by a communist party. Yet, all the signs are communism is being subverted from within in China. The others may well follow. As the Chinese Communist Party tries to maintain its legitimacy to rule, it is re-engineering itself into something beyond recognition by Marx and Lenin. Implicit in the Theory of the Three Representatives is the realisation that the private sector can deliver many functions far more effectively than the public sector. Champions of capitalism should find considerable solace in this. Glossary pave the way for (idiom) to make something easier by preparing well ahead of time preach (v) to publicly proclaim or teach await (v) to wait for; await is commonly used in writing, but we seldom use it in conversation. tokenism (n) something done to show a particular intention or to impress a particular group of people havoc (n) disorder subvert (v) to undermine the power and authority of (an established system or institution) Discussion points - How much do you know about the central government in Beijing? - Hong Kong is practising 'One Country, Two Systems'. What are the two systems? Use five sentences to describe the major differences. - How much time do you spend reading Hong Kong news? What about mainland news? Do you agree that Hong Kong students should read more about what's happening in Hong Kong as well as on the mainland?