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Thursday, June 30, 2016, 15:20

China innovates Party branches to reeducate members

By Xinhua

JINAN - Being of member of a Communist Party of China (CPC) branch is usually something to brag about, but not in a district of Shandong Province, where new branches have been set up to reexamine and reeducate underperforming or wayward CPC members.

A total of 118 CPC members have been invited to attend "reforging Party branches" at 12 townships in Linzi District in the city of Zibo. Zhang Qinghui, 53, is one of them.

"I thought I was being shamed by being included," Zhang said.

Zhang was asked to attend the new Party branch at Zhutai Township in late April after he failed a recent CPC member assessment, a new evaluation system for cadres managed by village-level CPC branches, as he had been involved in a fight with other villagers over a debt dispute.

For the following six months, Zhang and 20 other CPC members had to attend a two-hour session once a month to absorb and learn the CPC Constitution, as well as documents and instructions issued by the leadership. Each attendee is also assigned a mentor, a senior member who supports them through the reeducation and correction process. For the duration of the reeducation, the attendees are not allowed to attend election of their villages.

After the reeducation, Zhang will be tested on what he has learned, as pass indicates that the "reforging" was a success. Failure could lead to their expulsion from the CPC.

Zhang introspected what he did during the class, and learned his lesson.

"I now realize how the fight damaged the reputation of a CPC member, and I must adjust my behavior to make up for my mistake," he said. "Since I took an oath in front of the Party flag while joining in the CPC, I should have set an example."

The CPC has more than 87 million members. According to its Constitution, an organization of more than three members should establish a CPC branch.

On July 1, the CPC will turn 95. After almost a century, the Party is continuing to improve its members and nip minor shortcomings in the bud.

Song Lei, head of CPC Linzi District Committee organization department, said the members enrolled on the reeducation program had been deemed "sub-healthy" or "unhealthy."

Some failed to attend Party-related training, others were overdue on membership fees, while a handful had been implicated in misconduct, like Zhang.

As regulated in the CPC Constitution, the Party branch should provide education to a CPC member who violates the Party rules or fails to fulfil related obligations. If a timely correction is not seen, the member may be persuaded to quit the Party, and even expelled.

"The Party branch for reforging was named as it is like a furnace -- it melts down defective iron products and removes the impurities," said Song.

Song said such Party branches had been invented to maintain discipline and ensure local-level members have access to the latest CPC laws and instructions.

Ma Wenjuan, 46, had missed many Party-run classes because she was so busy with her grocery shop. However, she had no choice but to leave her business in her daughter's hands to attend the reforging Party branch. ' "I didn't think the organizational department would become this strict," she said.

The reeducation program has proved to also work as a deterrent. Zhong Jintang, Party head of Luojia Village, said following the establishment of the reforging branch, attendance at Party meetings and other activities had greatly improved.

"Even those living in cities come back to town to attend our activities. The sight of the packed parking lot on Party occasions has become a view," he said.

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