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China's Communist Party

China’s cadres should believe in the party, not ‘gods and ghosts’, if they want to be promoted

Some officials have lost their faith in socialism and turned to Western concepts of democracy, personnel chief Chen Xi says

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 November, 2017, 7:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 November, 2017, 10:59pm

The violation of political principles is no less damaging to China’s Communist Party than corruption, and meeting the party’s political standards should be the paramount criterion when considering cadres for promotion, according to its new personnel chief.

In an article published on Thursday in the state mouthpiece People’s Daily, Chen Xi, head of the party’s Organisation Department, accused some senior cadres of losing their faith in socialism and turning to Western concepts of democracy.

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“Some [leading officials] do not believe in Marx and Lenin but believe in ghosts and gods,” he said.

Others, who disguised themselves as liberals had shirked their responsibility to defend the party’s fundamental political position by sitting on the fence, he added.

Chen’s words echoed the sentiments expressed by President Xi Jinping during his epic speech at the national congress last month, at which he secured a second term in power.

Xi’s call for changes to the party’s promotion policy came after the purge of dozens of top politicians during the anti-corruption campaign he launched in 2012 and the declining influence of the Communist Youth League faction.

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While most of the cadres – like ex-security tsar Zhou Yongkang, retired President Hu Jintao’s former chief of staff Ling Jihua, and disgraced Chongqing party boss Sun Zhengcai, who was once seen as a possible successor to Xi – were charged with corruption offences, some were also accused of being disloyal to the party.

Although few details of the latter allegations have been made public, there have been references made to officials forming their own factions, not being honest with the party and attempting to usurp power.

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“Political traits are hidden in people’s minds and are difficult to judge,” Chen said. “So we need to listen to people who are familiar with the cadres.”

To gain promotion in the future, officials must be dedicated to upholding Xi’s status as “core” of the party, and sternly oppose “wrong ideas”, like Western notions of a separation of powers, he said.

They must also demonstrate their understanding of political responsibility, their ability to steer political direction and manage risks, as well as their self-discipline.

The official guide to Xi’s congress speech, published after the weeklong conclave, said that an overemphasis on promoting young cadres had spawned a class of officials who were good at nothing but asserting themselves and courting others.

“As well as young cadres, we should make good use of cadres from other age groups,” it said.

“Youth and high academic qualifications are not everything.”

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The party should return to the proven practice of having a healthy mix of senior, mid-career and young cadres, instead of focusing on promoting only junior officials, it said.

The South China Morning Post reported earlier that the mean age of the 376 full and alternative members of the party’s Central Committee appointed at last month’s congress was the highest for three decades.

Former leader Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s introduced the idea of promoting younger officials, whom he said had the skills necessary to help modernise China.