Thursday, February 19, 2009

Training, Indoctrination, Think Tanks: The CCP's Party Schools

Today I came across an interesting article in The China Quarterly on a subject I've never given much practical thought to: Training China's Elite: The Party School System by David Shambaugh. It appears that you can download a pdf of the article for free, but I'm not sure how long that lasts. Mr. Shambaugh doesn't have a thesis, rather the article is an illumination of China's party schools, a topic that he writes has only been briefly covered in one other published work. Mr. Shambaugh's focus in on the Central Party School (CPS), and its provincial level affiliates.

The CPS in Beijing plays three roles for mid-level Party cadres: 1) training; 2) indoctrination; and 3) think-tank. Reform and policy ideas generated in its think-tank capacity are either implemented across the country or are tested out in the provincial schools. The provincial schools also generate their own reform ideas which tend to be suited to the local traditions. The CCP has also setup education and training programs for its cadres with Cambridge University, Copenhagen Business School, and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

In a 2006 Directive, the CCP ordered that all cadres must attend at least 3 months of training at a part school every 5 years. The training focuses on the Three Basics of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, and Deng Xiaoping Theory, and on the Five Contemporaries of world economy, world science and technology, world legal system, world military and China's national defense, and world ideational trends. CPS also offers a number of electives, and upper division courses for MA and PhD students. Maybe if we gave our Representatives some of this basic education our House Financial Services Committee members could come across at least as well as "your average mid-level mortgage broker" when discussing banking.

In 2001, CPS began a program to bring in entrepreneurs and businessmen for Party training. They claim a total participation of 10,000 since 2001. Mr. Shambaugh points out that these training programs serve two functions: 1) "political protection for the business elite," and 2) "political co-optation by the CCP." And there's the RMB 6,800 per class, of course...

The article's scope is wide and includes further details on the history of Party schools from their origin in 1933 through to the present, the life of a CPS student, details on the curriculum, and closer looks at a handful of the schools including the schools in Guangdong and Pudong. And, the article does not gloss over the corruption scandals that have hit some of the Party schools.


FOARP said...

Important also to note that the 'Revolutionary Committee of the KMT' continues to run similar schools for its members in mainland China, as (presumably) do some of the other tame parties - are they government funded? I have no idea, but I doubt they're as well equipped as the CCP schools.

If anything is proof that the CCP is not planning on introducing democracy any time in the foreseeable future (by which I mean the next 20-30 years), it is surely the way in which only CCP members are really being trained for government.

Simone@Business-communication said...

I actually didn't know that China did this. However I don't see why countries in other areas of the world aren't doing the same thing.

There are too many nations where people rise to power and as you pointed out in your example, don't even have a clue how the banking system works. People are appointed to head departments that they have no experience in.

How can even businesses carry forward a goal and mission without sharing that goal and mission with employees on a regular basis? It makes sense to take time out and review the fundamental values of the organization, even with commercial enterprises.