On the afternoon of January 16, members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Guang'an, Sichuan Province, attended a mobilization rally.
"The meeting marks the beginning of a citywide education campaign aimed at assisting members to maintain the Party's advanced nature," said Party official Guo Jianping.
The rally at Guang'an -- the hometown of former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping -- is just one small part of the largest education drive the CPC has seen in the 26 years since Deng's reform and opening policies were first implemented in 1978. All 68 million Party members will be participating in the three-phase education program that is to run from January 2005 to June 2006, when the party will celebrate the 85th anniversary of its founding.
Classes began on January 14 in Beijing's Zhongnanhai compound, where the CPC headquarters and the Chinese cabinet are located. President Hu Jintao announced that strengthening the CPC's advanced nature is essential to the Party's survival, development and expansion.
The CPC Central Committee issued a document stating that the 21st century has brought profound changes to the environment the Party operates in, the tasks it performs and the composition of its membership. The campaign is intended to help the Party adapt to these changes and will be an important part of improving the Party's governance capability and consolidating its authority.
According to the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, maintaining the Party's advanced nature is an issue affecting its cause and the nation's long-term stability.
"The CPC has throughout its history carried out various internal education campaigns to help solve problems. This time, it has given sufficient attention to learning helpful lessons from the past," said Professor Zhang Rongchen of the CPC Central Committee Party School.
Currently unqualified Party members are expected to obtain the proper qualifications through the campaign. Those who continue to fall below standards will be dealt with according to regulation, according to Zhang.
The Party will set up an open-end, long-term feedback mechanism to invite criticism and comments from non-Party citizens to guarantee the effectiveness of the campaign.
"The campaign is not only to resolve problems of the Party members, but also to address complaints of ordinary people," said Zhang.
In Guang'an, the leading group for the education campaign conducted a survey of more than 3,000 Party members. Nearly half the respondents said that local leading Party officials have not performed well and cannot serve as examples for other Party members.
A special website was opened at www.xf.org.cn to help promote the campaign. Called "Vanguard" (Xianfeng), the website will provide related news, report on implementation and detail helpful experience collected from around the nation.
(Xinhua News Agency January 20, 2005)