Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Party by Richard McGregor

Image result for the party richard mcgregorChina, the last bastion of the communists. Who had imagined that almost after two and half decades of the fall of the soviet union the communist party of China would survive? not only have they survived the CPC, Communist Part of China, has thrived. They effectively control the world's most populous and powerful state. The Party is a secret club of a select few, its tentacles are spread to all walks on life in China from the state controlled media, to the economy and the Army. The Politburo members are not elected by the citizens of China but are selected internally by the party, making China a single party system with no elections and no democracy. China is in a lot of ways an Oligarchy.

The book keeps the majority of its focus on economics and how China evolved from a third world struggling economy to the economic power house it is today. A myriad of Chinese leaders starting from Deng Xiaoping, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin have been successfully able to transform China into what it is today. Chinese ingenuity and their passion for making money was the real factor behind this success.
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The author takes us through the different departments in CPC and how they control policies and people from the military, courts, media and propaganda. The CPC even has a pseudo HR department called "The Central Organization Department". It was fascinating at least for me to find out about this behemoth and how one party is controlling the entire nation, any voice of dissent is crushed immediately and the Chinese are too busy making money to really care about the politics of their nation.

The CPC was founded by Mao Zedong, who is the architect of modern China. His cult of personality is unparalleled among st the Chinese. Partlt because the state control media has never really allowed the truth about him to come out, the fact that this man was responsible for the deaths of around 48 to 78 million people, he actually tops the list of mass murderers

Mao's great leap forward program led to disaster and unparalleled death. Taking lessons from Mao's unholy program his successors have had a much mellow approach and have perhaps subverted communism in such a way that for a pure communist China is no longer a communist state with its free market policy, budding private sector and rampant corruption.

Richard McGregor does not delve into the history or foreign affairs of the CPC. He keeps the book focused on the party and its leaders. I feel this book is an average introduction to the CPC, the writing style is a bit prosaic and dry. Some parts are particularly interesting like the Red Machine, a red colored telephone which top officials and heads of  state run enterprises use to communicate with each other. A lot of the book felt protracted and boring.

2 stars out of 5, oh I love the book cover.

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