The Chinese Communist Party is moving further away from its origins as a Marxist-Leninst organisation, with explicit praise of the spirit of enterprise at its 19th National Congress as well as the participation of an increasing number of private business people as delegates.
The report delivered by President Xi Jinping on the opening day of the congress made special reference to “the spirit of enterprise” and the need to “stimulate and protect the spirit of enterprise, and encourage even more social entities to undertake innovative enterprise.”
The remark come just China’s central government made reference for the first time ever to the “spirit of enterprise” in official documents, pointing to the need to “operate an environment for the healthy development of entrepreneurs,” uplifting an outstanding entrepreneurial spirit,” and “better employing the role of the entrepreneur” on 25 September.
The increasingly favourable official view of entrepreneurs is embodied by the participation of a significant number of business executives in the 19th National Party Congress.
According to official data members of the corporate sector accounted of 148 of the 2338 delegates to the 19th National CCP Congress, the vast majority of whom were executives in state-owned enterprises or financial institutions.
27 of the corporate delegates to the National Congress were executives from private enterprises, however, prompting discussion in China’s state media about the significance of their inclusion in the Communist Party’s headline event.
“The private economy is account for half the share of the whole country’s development,” said Zhang Xixian (张希贤) a professor from CCP’s Central Party School, in a People’s Daily editorial on the involvement of private enterprise in the party (民企为何要建党支部？中组部给了正面回应).
“Giving executives from private enterprises 27 seats amongst the ranks of party representatives is significant of the emphasis and support given by the Chinese Communist Party to the private economy, as well as the expectation that the private economy will continue to prosper under the leadership of the party.”
According to official data private companies comprise over 90% of China’s corporate legal persons, as well as account for over 60% of GDP and 80% of urban employment.
Private enterprise also accounts for 90% of new employment, and more than 50% of tax revenues.
In tandem with its acknowledgement and praise of the economic significance of private enterprise, Beijing is also re-emphasising the role of party leadership and the importance of its involvement in business.
“The private economy has already grown from a ‘spill over supplement’ of the state-owned economy to accounting for half of the Chinese economy,” said The People’s Daily. “Given its scale and influence, it must follow the leadership of the party, in order to be able to scientifically and rationally engage in various productive activities.”
To this end Beijing is emphasising the need to establish party organisations within enterprises in the private sector.
Speaking at a press conference on 19 October Qi Yu (齐玉), the vice head of the CCP’s Organization Department, said that “in accordance with the provisions of the Chinese Communist Party, all enterprises, villages, schools and other base level entities that have three or more official party members should establish party organisations.”
“There are 100 million people in China aged between 16 and 64,” said Zhang Xixian. “They play a fundamental, decisive role in national wealth creation. Yet these 100 million people are primarily scattered in various enterprises – this is the true significance of the establishment of parties within enterprise.”