CCP at 100: How Chinese communism went to the forefront of global politics

The CCP was founded in 1921, and this week, top party brass are touting their achievements with big public relations campaigns. But as the party bolsters its image, is there weakness behind the facade? The CCP is the second-largest political party in the world — it is half the size of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The party had 91.9 million members in 2019, and has ruled China since seizing power after a civil war in 1949. “The Chinese Communist Party’s international influence, appeal and attraction have continually increased, placing it at the forefront of world politics,” Guo Yezhou, deputy head of the party’s external liaison department, told reporters at a press event this week. The CCP has steered China through a century of wars, famine and social upheaval. In the last 20 years, millions of impoverished, starving Chinese who lived in the countryside have been lifted from extreme poverty. This social mobilization has helped create the second-largest economy in the world. However, the party’s concentration of power and expansive foreign policy under President Xi Jinping has raised concerns that China is turning more towards authoritarianism. Criticism of the party and its policies is quickly snuffed out. Chinese military expansion in the South China Sea has drawn international condemnation, as has a crackdown on civil liberties in Hong Kong and the treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority in the western Xinjiang region.