New waves of CCP instructors in non-state-run companies in China

On January 10, the official daily of Shaanxi Province published an article praising the placement of 25 promising young party cadres in as many large private enterprises (non-state, literally “civil enterprises”) in the province as “first secretaries” of the Communist Party with the aim of developing… the non-state sector.

The Department of Organization of the Shaanxi Provincial Party Committee – ie its HR Department – made the selection. Their primary task is, according to the article, “to help the host enterprises strengthen the construction of the Communist Party in the enterprise and the implementation of the measures enacted at the 20th Congress”, which was held last October in Beijing.

Their use in the “private” company will be either part-time during crises – the one that occurred in the main factory of Foxconn, Apple’s subcontractor in China, deserted by its employees last autumn comes to mind – or full-time.

Their mission statement also mentions support for “new” economic and social organizations. These organizations – whose statutes have been evolving for more than a decade and are not new – include any form of entity not directly funded by the state or its apparatus. Their official definition refers to the “development of the socialist market economy” and covers any economic structure owned exclusively or in majority by Chinese, Hong Kong, Macao or foreign businessmen.

This policy of secondment of CCP cadres to non-state enterprises in China is intended to be the translation of the national economic policy known as the “unshakable balance” (两个毫不动摇) between the development of the state-run and state-financed economy and the “market” sector.

For some months now in China, this policy has been the subject of bitter debates and clarifications within the governing elites, including through the official media.

As far as foreign companies in China are concerned, the phenomenon is not new. It was instituted in the 1980s in Beijing.

In 1984, the city of Shanghai established the Shanghai Foreign Service Co, now called the (Shanghai) Foreign Service Group, a company specializing in providing human resource services for domestic and foreign companies and foreign representative offices in China. In 2012, the FSG boasted that it had developed a digital platform called the “Party House for Foreign Enterprises” providing services to 24,000 foreign enterprises around 400 specialized party branches.

Isn’t it time to take stock and learn from this situation, which has been developing ever since towards a progressive takeover of our economic and industrial decision-making centers in China and abroad?

Photo: Inauguration ceremony of a CCP cell in a foreign company, People’s Daily ® , January 18, 2018

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