For Al Jazeera, Melissa Chan reports from the Central Party School in Beijing where she listens in on surprisingly freewheeling discussion:
China’s ruling Communist Party’s 80 million members attend special schools to learn party ideology at facilities that serve as a training ground for the next generation of Chinese leaders.
And defying stereotypes, it appears that one of the freest places in China is at the heart of the Communist Party.
[…] “We have to talk about and analyze sensitive issues,” Liu said. “The academic and teaching environment here is very relaxed. There are no limitations to what can and cannot be discussed.”
The Party School is an open forum, Liu went on to explain, because it has to be. Officials can’t afford to avoid problems that could directly threaten their governance. The Propaganda Department may present news to the public, selecting facts and fabrication for inclusion. But on the closed campus of the Party School, officials must consider the real issues of income inequality, protests, and what direction the country should be headed, both politically and economically.
Read also CDT’s translation of a personal account: Developing a New Understanding of the Communist Party at a Party School.