A new report indicates that the number Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members passed the 91 million threshold in 2019, putting it ahead of the population of Germany.
The report from Macro Polo indicates that CCP membership rose from 68.2 million to 85.1 million during the the period of the Hu Jintao administration (2002 – 2012), achieving average annual growth of 2.4%.
Xi Jinping put pressure on CCP membership expansion upon assuming office in 2013 however, with new members immediately plunging to 2.4 million that year as compared to 3.2 million the year previously.
According to the report by Neil Thomas Xi was leery of opportunists joining the Party for economic benefits, warning that “we do not want even one of those people who are politically unqualified and want to sneak into the Party to fish for profits.”
Membership growth declined every year during Xi’s first five year term from 2013 to 2017. Average membership growth was just 1% during this period, and hit a low of 0.1% in 2017. In 2016 new CCP members were just 1.9 million.
CCP membership has nonetheless risen from 85.1 million in 2012 to a record level of 91.9 million in 2019, equal to 6.6% of the Chinese population. This makes the CCP the world’s second largest political party after India’s the Bharatiya Janata Party.
While any Chinese national over the age of 18 can apply to become a Party member, the selection process has become more rigorous, entailing tests, interviews and a probation period of several years.
The CCP membership acceptance rate (ratio of new members to new applications) was 14.5% in the Hu Jintao era, but dropped to 8.8% in 2015 just two years after Xi entered office, before rebounding to 12.3% in 2019.
Millennials now account for the vast majority of new members of the CCP, comprising 80.3% in 2019.