“A few years ago, calling someone ‘red and expert’ (又红又专, youhong youzhuan) was a criticism. But now, we own the moniker with pride.”
This comment by twenty-five-year-old graduate student Yang Hao (pseudonym) is representative of many young Chinese’s views of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). On the eve of 1 July, Yang travelled specially from Sichuan to Shanghai to visit a “red landmark”— the site of the First National Congress of the CCP.
Already a CCP member for five years, Yang told Zaobao that China’s rapid rise over the past few years cannot be delinked from the CCP’s leadership. With his party badge firmly fastened, Yang is proud to be a party member: “When I joined the party, I didn’t think about whether I would become a civil servant in the future. But being a CCP member is a status symbol. It means that your performance is recognised by your teachers and peers.”
Incidentally, Shanghai white-collar worker Shen Yumeng, 29, also used the phrase “red and expert” to describe the peers around her. She told Zaobao that over the past week, various new media platforms featured news or videos on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP. Rather than it being a turn-off, she said the festivities deeply encouraged her generation as they felt a great sense of national cohesion.
Among those who have joined the party in the past one and a half years, 80.7% of them are below the age of 35, higher than the 80.3% in 2019, and 80% in 2018. New members with a college degree and above also increased from 44.9% in 2018 to 46.8% this year.
The term “red and expert”, which was popular during the Cultural Revolution period, recently regained popularity among colleges in China. When CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping visited Tsinghua University in April this year, he used the phrases “red and expert” and “comprehensive development" (全面发展) to describe the university’s characteristics.
The party’s data releases over the years also show the trend of an increasing number of young college students joining the party. Among those who have joined the party in the past one and a half years, 80.7% of them are below the age of 35, higher than the 80.3% in 2019, and 80% in 2018. New members with a college degree and above also increased from 44.9% in 2018 to 46.8% this year.
Netizens’ comments with the most number of ‘likes’ included “I cried after listening to this speech”, “I’m so proud to be a Chinese”, and “China does not have to be afraid of being bullied now”.
Xi Jinping’s video shared 400,000 times
Yesterday, the video of Xi’s speech commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP went viral on Weibo, a social media platform with a majority of young users. Highly nationalistic, his statement that any foreign force that tries to bully China would “find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people” made it to the top of Weibo’s most searched topics and was viewed over 440 million times within three hours.
Yesterday, the CCTV video of Xi’s speech was also shared over 400,000 times. Netizens’ comments with the most number of ‘likes’ included “I cried after listening to this speech”, “I’m so proud to be a Chinese”, and “China does not have to be afraid of being bullied now”.
In Shen’s view, since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, China has outperformed many Western countries in containing the outbreak and boosting the economy. This greatly enhanced the level of national pride among Chinese youths and made them agree with the CCP’s way of governance more. She said, “Even in a private enterprise like the one I work at, the party branch also plays an important role in promoting corporate culture and boosting employee morale.”
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