Why does Communist Party still appeal to youth after 90 years?

13:11, July 04, 2011      

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The Communist Party of China recruited 3 million new members in 2010, 40 percent of whom were university students, according to data released by the Organization Department of the Party Central Committee on the 90th anniversary of the Party's founding.

Of the new recruits, about 2.5 million, or 82 percent, are below 35 years of age. An earlier survey on 25,000 students at 140 universities by the Ministry of Education shows that about 80 percent of the students surveyed are willing to join the Party.

The two sets of figures all show that joining the Party is a significant choice for the youth. The cause behind such a choice lies in their recognition of both the Party and China's current government and society. It is a wonder that the Party is still so attractive and appealing to a new generation in an era of globalization and informatization despite 90 years of constant changes.

Analyzing the two sets of figures against the background of China's 90 years of struggle will prove that the Chinese youth in different eras have made remarkably similar choices.

"The gate of Yan'an is open all the time, through which the youth from around the country went into the city all the day, with luggage on their backs and fervent hope in their hearts," famous poet He Qifang described Yan'an as a magnet for the youth during the early period of the Anti-Japanese War. As many as 2,300 patriotic youth went to Yan'an between May and August of 1938, and the figure totaled 40,000 during the first two years of the Anti-Japanese War. Despite a tough journey with winds and rains, the patriotic youth went to Yan'an under the "Red Star" in order to pursue lofty beliefs and pure faith.

"We should go back for the truth. We should go back for the nation. And we should go back to serve the people," famous mathematician Hua Luogeng said at the beginning of the founding of New China. He called on Chinese students in the United States to return to their motherland.

Nearly 400 Chinese students who studied in the United States and more than 200 Chinese students who studied in Britain (accounting for two-thirds of the total Chinese students in Britain) returned to the motherland during the first year of the founding of new China. A total of 1,536 overseas Chinese students returned to China by the end of 1955. As everything of new China was in chaos, numerous overseas students returned not for high posts with matched salary and a luxurious life, but for the "rising red sun" which is full of ideals and enthusiasm.

The Party gathered so many young people capable of independent thinking and possessing distinctive personalities over the past 90 years. The Party's attraction comes from the faith.

The Party always has always been a pole of strong attraction for the country, the nation, the compatriot and human beings — especially the young people — regardless of the times and circumstances. Everyone had more or less asked about the meaning of life. Where did I come from and where am I going? What do I live for? The Party's faith and belief gives young people a wider, more meaningful, more stirring and more forceful answer to a certain degree.

One's life is always limited. An individual can break through the narrow pattern only through blending in the collective. Just as Lei Feng said, "a drop of water will never dry as long as in the sea." Likewise, people can find the value of life and the meaning of existence only through fighting for the interests beyond their own interests.

Admittedly, due to the rampant materialism and consumerism of modern society, a small number of young people have joined the Party for personal motives, which is unavoidable. However, it should be noted that the party is playing a leading role in China's political life and serving as the captain of a super ship carrying over 1.3 billion people. After 90 years of hard work and unremitting efforts, its leading role has become irreplaceable. In this stable and peaceful era, young people make choices in their best interests, which will also help promote the national development. Although there are no bloody battles or life-and-death survival experiences in today's China, the charm of political beliefs is no different from that during the Yan'an period or that during the initial period of the People's Republic of China.

In 1921, 13 people attended the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and their average age was only 28. More than 20 million young martyrs scarified their lives in the revolutionary period of the last century before they began to enjoy life. Qu Qiubai, Liu Hulan, Dong Cunrui, Lei Feng and countless other people sacrificed their youth and lives for a great cause.

The party has been a youthful political party since its founding, and Li Dazhao, one of the Party's founders, said that although he was young, he would devote himself to the cause of liberty and independence. It is because they were young that they were more passionate and more willing to strive for their ideals, and it is because of the firm political beliefs and unremitting efforts of countless young people that the Party has been able to maintain its vitality and youthful passion over the past 90 years.

"The world is yours as well as ours, but in the last analysis, it is yours. You young people, full of vigor and vitality, are in the bloom of life like the sun at 8 or 9 in the morning. Our hope is placed on you," Mao Zedong said. Many facts in the past 90 years have proven that the future of the country and the Party relies on young people, be they born in the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s.

By Jin Cang, and translated by People's Daily Online.

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