Interest Representation and the Transformation of the Chinese Communist Party

Zheng Yongnian


At the 80th anniversary celebration of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on 1
July 2001, Jiang Zemin called on the party to admit into its ranks of 'outstanding
social elements' of private entrepreneurs, professionals, technical and managerial
personnel from non-state firms and MNCs. Party ideologues, however, have raised
a great hue and cry. In order to establish his political legacy, the CCP leadership
has intensified the campaign to educate its cadres and members. Reform and
development have bourgeoisified and benefited many party members and cadres.
Jiang's public support of the capitalists is not going against the tide but is a
recognition of reality instead. In fact, to continue to grow and expand, the party
must embrace the better educated and the most enterprising in society. The
capitalists within the party will certainly be catalysts to quicken the transformation
of the party. In its attempt to admit capitalists, has the CCP unknowingly let in
the Trojan horse? Jiang Zemin's original aim may have been to strengthen the
party-state by broadening its social base. And as the party metamorphoses, perhaps
into a kind of social democratic party, Jiang will be favourably judged for paving
the way for such a metamorphosis. Nevertheless, it is not an easy transition:
insurmountable difficulties lie ahead for the party leadership.

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Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies
ISSN (print): 1395-4199, ISSN (online): 2246-2163

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