Skip to main content /WORLD /WORLD

'Red bosses' join China's Communist Party

President Jiang Zemin's calls to recruit non-state entrepreneurs as Communist Party members has been realised with
President Jiang Zemin's calls to recruit non-state entrepreneurs as Communist Party members has been realised with "red bosses" selected as provincial congress delegates in Guangdong  

Willy Wo-Lap Lam
CNN Senior China analyst

(CNN) -- The status of private businessmen has been raised in southern China with a dozen-odd "red bosses" being made members of the Communist Party Congress of Guangdong Province.

The congress is expected to pick a new party secretary -- the highest official in the rich province -- next week.

It is the first time in the 81-year history of the party that private entrepreneurs have been selected as provincial congress delegates.

Among the delegates is Liu Zhaoxi, whose company in the eastern Guangdong city of Shantou has assets of more than 2 billion yuan.

There are also representatives from joint ventures and from the professionals.

A long-time cadre in Guangdong said the incumbent party secretary Li Changchun, wanted to set an example in giving businessmen a higher profile in the party.

Li's mentor, President Jiang Zemin, stirred up a big controversy last July when he announced that the party was ready to recruit non-state entrepreneurs as members.


Jiang has also made it clear he wants to amend the party constitution at the upcoming 16th party congress to enshrine the political rights of the "new classes" of non-state entrepreneurs and professionals.

The party secretary of Beijing Jia Qinglin, another Jiang croney, has also been active in granting a new deal for businessmen.

Jia, who was re-elected Beijing party boss last Wednesday, said more than 90 private businessmen in the city had made an application to join the party.

Official media quoted Jia as saying businessmen with "satisfactory performance" who had passed the scrutiny of party authorities would become party members.

Diplomatic analysts in Beijing said, however, that leftists, or ultra-conservatives, were pulling out the stops to prevent a constitutional revision to favor what they regard as the "exploiting classes."

The analysts said the leftists were drafting their own set of criteria for admission to the party, which they would publicize by the time of the 16th congress.

Apart from opposing the recruitment of private businessmen, the conservatives would sound a warning against promoting party cadres who are "sympathetic to the ideals of social democratic parties."

Leftists have accused leaders including Jiang and Vice-President Hu Jintao of trying to turn the party into a Western-style social democratic party.

Intellectuals close to the Jiang camp say the president will retaliate by issuing a tough warning against the resurgence of leftism when he addresses the Congress.

They say Jiang is expected to revive the instruction given by late patriarch Deng Xiaoping in the early 1990s, that the main task of the party is to fight leftism.




Back to the top