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Busybodies, backed by AI, are restoring the party’s visibility

IN 2018 XI JINPING visited one of Shanghai’s grandiose new structures, a ponderous, low, glass-clad building that had been used mainly as an exhibition centre. A space inside had been taken over by the district government for an entirely different purpose. On one wall a vast screen showed live feeds from street cameras. With the help of artificial intelligence,...

A future, but with Chinese characteristics

AS COLUMNS OF smoke rose from Tiananmen Square and tanks took up positions along Beijing’s central thoroughfare, it was hard to imagine the Communist Party celebrating its 100th birthday still firmly in charge. It was the day after the army had slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands, of people on June 3rd-4th 1989. The massacre had crushed a nationwide...

The party is eager to expand its influence within business

IF IT EVER was Shanghai’s tallest building, the 40-metre-high headquarters of the North China Daily News did not remain so for long. Skyscrapers became fashionable before the Communists took over in 1949 and turned China into a world leader for them. In 2015 the tallest building in China (and second-highest in the world) opened in Lujiazui, Shanghai’s...

Getting into the vanguard of the Chinese elite 

THE FIGHT against covid-19 has been a propaganda boon for the Communist Party. China swiftly crushed the disease and allowed its economy to return to near normal, even as much of the rest of the world struggled to cope. State media have crowed. “The advantages of the leadership system of the Chinese Communist Party and the shortcomings of the capitalist...

As Chinese citizens head overseas, the party does likewise

“PARTY-BUILDING has no borders.” So intones the Communist Party to encourage Chinese firms to set up party branches abroad. “No matter where the project, that country will have a party organisation,” is another slogan. China’s rise has expanded the party’s influence abroad. As Chinese citizens head overseas for work and study, its branches are spreading...

Trying to heal the party’s wounds

A FEW DAYS after he took power in November 2012, Xi Jinping convened a “collective study” session of the Politburo. Looking at the 22 men and two women round the table in an imperial-era building in Zhongnanhai, the party’s headquarters, he may have felt uncomfortable. Most owed their positions to his predecessors, not him. The party had been traumatised...

The push to revamp the Chinese Communist Party for the next 100 years

CHINA IN JULY 1921 was a poor country, racked by civil war. Most of its 400m people lived in the countryside. A famine had swept the north, killing hundreds of thousands. But foreigners in Shanghai led a charmed existence, living in self-governing enclaves of about 30 square kilometres. Their troops and police—turbaned Sikhs for the British and pith-helmeted...

A dream deferred

VINICIUS RABELO’S grandparents were manioc farmers in the interior of Bahia. His parents moved to the city for a better life and, after opening a clothes shop, sent their children to private school. In 2018 Mr Rabelo started as an electrical mechanic in Camaçari, near the state capital, Salvador. Home to a petrochemical plant and a Ford factory, Camaçari...

In need of reform

TABATA AMARAL wanted to be an astrophysicist, not a politician. She was raised in the outskirts of São Paulo and graduated from Harvard in 2016. On her return she saw the sorry state of education in Brazil and decided only policy change would improve it. So she launched a bid for Congress and became a federal deputy at 24. On her first day in Brasília...

Of Bibles and ballots

A T 4PM EVERY Sunday in Barra de Pojuca, a poor town in Bahia, the streets suddenly empty. You may think people are taking a siesta, until you spot the crowded churches. “For every sister in church there’s a brother in the bar,” jokes Cremilda, a member of the Assemblies of God, as she climbs to the cinderblock chapel. But in the 20 years since she...

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