...the Chinese Communist Party is trying to remake itself into an efficient, modern machine. But to do so, it has chosen one of its oldest political tools -- a Maoist-style ideological campaign, complete with required study groups. For 14 months and counting, the party's 70 million rank-and-file members have been ordered to read speeches by Mao and Deng Xiaoping, as well as the numbing treatise of 17,000-plus words that is the party constitution. Mandatory meetings include sessions where cadres must offer self-criticisms and also criticize everyone else.
Boy, does that sound familiar. This process, known as "bao xian", or "preserving the progressiveness", sounds remarkably like the way the Exalted Leaders of the Glorious State of Alabama treat people arrested for possession of marijuana. In fact, the leaders' insistence that every such person "complete the program" (with a state-stamped certificate of graduation, no less) is also in accord with the principles of "bao xian". And the similarities don't end there:
A Beijing graduate student said that he was required to attend four meetings a week from September through December....(a)t one meeting...everyone watched a movie about the collapse of the Soviet Union "to show us 'the grave consequences' of losing Communism." Businessmen have complained about having to reschedule appointments to make time for bao xian meetings. An older party member in Henan Province, Mao Yinduan, said one of the topics discussed during bao xian meetings held by his party branch was lunchtime boozing. "He used to like drinking," Mr. Mao said...nodding toward an embarassed colleague. But other party members mentioned this in a meeting. NOw he has stopped drinking." Then Mr Mao added, "I used to like drinking, too. People raised that with me, and I've stopped."
The first step is admitting to your comrades in the Glorious Revolution that you have a problem.