CPC Seeks Closer Ties with China's Grassroots to Consolidate Ruling Status
2011-06-06 16:00

By Xinhua writers Qiang Lijing, Li Yunlu and Shen Yang

BEIJING, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Li Hongmei just finished a long telephone conversation with her daughter, who will take this year's National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), or "gaokao," on Tuesday.

Li, a 42-year-old Communist Party of China (CPC) member from the Ganzhou Municipal Forestry Bureau in east China's Jiangxi Province, is doing a year of public service in the village of Lixin in Jiangxi's city of Ganzhou.

"My daughter complained about my neglect over the past six months while she was preparing for the NCEE," Li said.

Li came to Lixin to offer assistance to 40 rural households around the end of 2010, when 20,000 other Party members were dispatched to 3,751 villages by the Ganzhou Municipal government.

A nationwide campaign launched by the CPC at the end of 2010 called on Party members to go deep into China's most remote towns and villages. The campaign is intended to give Party members a better understanding of the problems and issues facing the country's rural population, and to give those rural people a helping hand.

"I have to leave my family and stay with the locals in this small village for one year to fulfill our Party's commitment to the people," said Li.


The transformation of China's economic system and social structure has created a great deal of conflicts and contradictions. These issues are now acting as both an opportunity and a challenge for the CPC's rule.

President Hu Jintao, also the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said during the fifth plenary session of the 17th Central Committee of the CPC, which was held from Oct. 15 to 18 last year, that "isolation from the masses" is one of the most troublesome issues facing the Party.

"China has made great achievements since adopting its reform and opening-up policy in 1978. However, many rural people are still living difficult lives," Li said.

When Li first came to Lixin, she met a young woman who could not afford to pay for her deceased husband's funeral. The village government didn't have enough spare money in its budget to help her. Li gave the woman 200 yuan (about 31 U.S. dollars) without any hesitation.

"If I wasn't taking part in this campaign, I would never know about the problems that rural people face," Li said.

"As the only ruling party in China, CPC members should not alienate themselves from the masses, or they will lose their trust eventually," said Yan Shuhan, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

It will be vital for CPC members to strengthen the Party's ties to the rural population, as grassroots-level committees of the CPC are set to hold elections this year for new leadership positions.

"As the CPC approaches the 90th anniversary of its founding, it has consolidated its ruling status by sending Party members to rural areas to collect grassroots-level opinions," said Dai Yanjun, an expert with the Party School.


In the 1930s, when Chairman Mao Zedong was the Prime Minister of the Chinese Soviet Republic, he delivered a speech in Jiangxi's city of Ruijin in which he said "the strength of the masses is indestructible."

Ruijin was the birthplace of the Provisional Central Government of the Chinese Soviet Republic in 1931, and was also the starting point of the Long March, a famous military maneuver carried out by the Red Army from 1934 to 1935 that helped the army to combat the Kuomintang regime.

Party members from the Red Army forged close ties with the masses to aid them in their fight.

Although the total population of China was only 240,000 at that time, 113,000 of China's citizens joined or provided assistance to the Red Army, according to historical documents from the CPC history office of the Ruijin municipal CPC committee.

A salt pot that is still on display in the Jinggangshan Revolutionary Memorial Museum in Jiangxi is a symbol of the close ties established between Party members and ordinary citizens.

The Red Army sent the pot to a farmer named Li Shangfa after it was found that China's citizens were suffering from a salt shortage. In fact, the Red Army has a long history of giving much-needed supplies to the nation's people during tough times.

"Although the goods weren't always valuable, they are evidence of the excellent relations between the Red Army and the masses," said Mao Binghua, the 82-year-old curator of the Jinggangshan Revolution Museum.

Professor Yan said that the CPC earned extensive support from the masses during China's revolutionary period due to its dedicated efforts to fight for the interests of the people.


President Hu Jintao remarked during the fifth plenary session that Party members from different levels should serve the masses with great passion and profound sentiment.

"I can understand this requirement of the CPC," Li said.

"Farmers were moved when they learned that we were sent to help them without asking for anything. This has given them more confidence in our party," Li added.

After living in the remote village of Lixin for half a year, Li now understands the village's problems and has made constructive suggestions as to how to solve them.

"Young people in rural places are inclined to go out to work in big cities, leaving older residents to stay at home," Li said. "The government should make some long-term plans to develop local economies in rural areas in order to attract more labor," Li said.

Like many female Party members, Li has sacrificed spending time with her family to serve the needs of the masses.

"I know you need my support and encouragement to pass this important exam. But Mom has something more important to do," Li told her daughter on the phone. "I hope both of us can succeed in the tasks before us," she said.

(Xinhua correspondents Ming Xing, Xu Xiaoqing and Caimin also contributed to this story)

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