A few weeks ago I wrote a post where I commented that the Communist Party doesn’t interfere with my daily life for the most part. That was accurate. However it should also be modified, since the party is ubiquitous (American’s can’t even pretend that what we have is ‘big government’ by comparison).
After looking at that chart it should be no surprise that today in China there is 1 government official for every 40 people. My thought is that this is at least partially an effort to limit unemployment.
Even though there have been Party officials at every place I have worked, I’m still not really sure what it is they do. At the hospital we have two offices for Party leaders. According to Grace they go to a lot of banquets. My other co-worker says it is their job to find workers that should be nominated to join the party. It reminds me a bit of the old quote, “the bureaucracy is expanding to me the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”
At the colleges I worked at the Party was a bit more apparent. Almost all teachers are Party members, and every department has a Dean and Party Secretary (along with a vice-Dean and vice-Secretary). In Longzhou the Party would organize Communist Youth League activities, like talent shows and English speaking competitions. I don’t know exactly how effective these were at transmitting Marxist and Maoist ideas.
Which brings up the other point I wanted to make today: it seems that nobody in China can really give a clear definition of what Communism even is. They usually give some explanation that doesn’t make much sense, and then tack on as an afterthought “with Chinese Characteristics,” which is something Deng Xiaoping said a long time ago. It’s funny to me that for the most part, college students in China would be unable to show you a single difference between our economic system and theirs.