It’s 100 years today since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was first formed by just 50 members, mostly intellectuals, but including railway and mine workers. 100 years later to the day, the official membership figure is 95m and there are 4.8m party branches. This is surely the largest political party the world has ever seen. A quarter of the membership is under 35 years; 29% are female, up from 12% in 1949 and over half of members have college degrees (that means half don’t!).
In 2021, is the CCP a party of and for capitalists or of and for workers? The short answer is that it is neither. But the long answer is more complex.
The CCP was led at first by two intellectuals, Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao, with the help of the Communist International (Comintern). These leaders saw the CCP as the party for the Chinese…
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