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.