While Americans were celebrating their independence this year, China’s Communist Party had just had its 100th Anniversary on July 1. The Chinese Communist Party was founded in 1921 by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The party survived a civil war and emerged victorious, becoming the sole ruling party in China for 72 years. The party has survived much longer than critics predicted. China is one of the few dictatorships to go through poverty and famine to become the second-largest economy in the world.
According to the Economist, the Chinese Communist Party has been able to maintain power for three reasons. The first would be the party’s ruthlessness. The party makes a habit of terrorizing Chinese citizens into submission. Their response to citizen protests is definitely what separates the Chinese Communist Party from the Soviet Union’s. President Xi Jinping himself said the Soviet Union failed because the leaders were not “man enough to stand up and resist.” Another reason for the party’s success is its “ideological agility.” Under President Xi, the party has shifted to a focus on intellectual orthodoxy. The Economist states, “Mr. Xi has rebuilt the party at the grassroots, creating a network of neighborhood spies and injecting cadres into private firms to watch over them. Not since Mao’s day has society been so tightly controlled.” The final reason for the party’s strength is that China has not been caught up in straightforward corruption. Rich families are noticeably wealthy, but ordinary people feel their life has improved as well. Benefits, such as the abolishment of rural taxes and a welfare system that provides pensions and health care to all, are not necessarily plentiful but are appreciated.
People still predict the end of the party considering China’s lack of freedom, as freedom is required for a modern economy. China’s economic growth will eventually stall, and with that downturn comes restlessness and protests.