YAN’AN, China – The Chinese Communist Party has been pulling out all the stops to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its founding. There have been concerts, commemorative coins, exhibitions of revolutionary paintings, saturation coverage in the state-controlled media, and even a “red games” sporting competition.
But though the party has used Friday’s anniversary to try renew interest in its past glories, the hoopla might be having an unintended consequence, causing some to question whether the current leaders have lived up to the original ideals of its founders.
Nearly each day brings new revelations of corruption and excesses by senior and provincial-level party officials. And China’s security apparatus, shaken by the fall of authoritarian regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, is engaged in a broad crackdown on dissent, jailing bloggers, lawyers or anyone who questions the party’s right to rule.
Many Chinese are asking whether the party has lost its way.
“A real Communist Party member should always remember that their aim is to serve the people,” said Li Qingrong, who owns a travel agency in Yan’an, the city known as the birthplace of the communist revolution. “Nowadays, when you read the newspaper, you see so many cases of corruption. Maybe they should come here to Yan’an, to see if their soul can be touched by the revolutionary spirit. Then maybe they would change their behavior.”...