The concept of a millionaire Communist might not sit well with Mao’s Little Red Book, but it appears to be just fine with the modern Chinese Communist Party. The Forbes China 400 Rich list revealed this week that ‘over 90% of the 1,000 richest people tracked by the Hurun Report are either officials or members of the Chinese Communist Party.” The list reinforces the view that the CCP has become more of a cartel or, in some cases, a criminal enterprise than a true political party. Communist officials are routinely accused of breathtaking corruption and use of state power to force peasants from their land in development schemes.
In 2001, President Jiang Zemin announced that entrepreneurs would be welcomed as members of the party. This opened the door for members to cash in on state-owned-enterprises (SOEs) — becoming a new Mandarin class.
There are now 85 million card-carrying CCP members with a waiting list of another 80 to 100 million to join.
On my visits to China, I often ask citizens how they feel about the huge mansions and walled properties of party members. When you land in Beijing, you fly over massive tracts of new mansions for the new Mandarins — located where the air is considered better in the heavily polluted city. The response is always a shrug and a comment that no one is really a communist anymore in China. Yet, you have a ruling class that uses state power to imprison environmentalists and reformers as CCP members profit on state-run enterprises.
They may want to heed the warning of Mao that “The ruthless economic exploitation and political oppression of the peasants by the landlord class forced them into numerous uprisings against its rule…. It was the class struggles of the peasants, the peasant uprisings and peasant wars that constituted the real motive force of historical development in Chinese feudal society.”