Now, Chinese Communist Party plans to tighten grip over private sector

WION New Delhi Sep 16, 2020, 08.55 PM(IST) Edited By: Gravitas desk

Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong statute Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Xi Jinping has pushed for something called "comprehensive party building" in the private sector. It means setting up party cells in private enterprises. The rules have been in place since the early 2000s

The Communist Party is everywhere in China. It has complete control over the country -  military, police even the media but when China opened up its economy through reforms it seemed like the private sector would follow a different path where market forces will dictate the rules and the government will take a backseat, however, that is about to change.

The Communist Party now wants to tighten its grip over the private sector too. Beijing has issued new guidelines and the role of the united front is being expanded while the specifics are sketchy, it is a clear move to deeply integrate the Communist Party into China's boardrooms.

The united front is a department in the Communist Party. It is an umbrella organisation designed to increase the influence of the Communist Party both inside China and outside. This decision may be new, but the practice is old. China's private sector has been under siege for some time now. 

Xi Jinping has pushed for something called "comprehensive party building" in the private sector. It means setting up party cells in private enterprises. The rules have been in place since the early 2000s and by 2016, 68 per cent of China's non-state enterprises had set up party cells.

Even foreign firms can't escape the Communist Party. Seventy per cent of foreign companies in China had a party cell by 2016 and it hasn't gone unnoticed.

In 2017, a trade group in Germany raised red flags. It said foreign firms may pull out of China over Communist Party pressure but China hasn't relented, now, it is making fresh moves to control the private sector.

A party cell is China's way of co-opting the private sector, one can expect these cells to now closely work with the united front.

A report by the Chinese state wire service Xinuha said: "strengthening the united front work with the private sector is an important way to realize the party's leadership over the private economy".

Beijing is sending a clear message to all business leaders - the party is supreme. 

The private sector accounts for 60 per cent of China's economic output. It creates 80 per cent of the jobs in urban China and already private companies like Huawei and Tencent are facing bans and business losses due to the Chinese state. 

Now, with its latest move, the Communist Party is further blurring the line between private and public.