Keeping Up With the Purges
Beijing Cracks Down on Communist Youth League

Someone ordered a fifty percent budget cut to China’s Communist Youth League, the organization traditionally responsible for training many of China’s political elites. Reuters:

The Global Times, an influential tabloid published by the party’s official People’s Daily, said the league’s budget for this year would be 306.27 million yuan ($47.33 million), compared with spending of 624.13 million yuan the previous year.

The league “has been working on a detailed plan for the organization’s reform, which is expected to be released shortly”, a league official surnamed Zheng told the newspaper.

The paper said the league has faced public criticism for “being too elitist and inefficient” and pressure has been growing for it to adhere more closely to the party’s leadership and operate in a cleaner, more transparent way.

The paper did not say who ordered the budget cut.

The League was an important base of support for Hu Jintao, China’s former president. Now, it’s the latest victim of Xi’s corruption crackdowns and has apparently fallen from favor.

The incident is the latest indicator of how much Xi is shaking up China’s political institutions—all the way down to the basic building blocks of Party rule. From newspaper editors to high-ranking government officials, few have been protected from Xi’s purges. Beijing has even encouraged average Chinese citizens to keep an eye on their neighbors, and there’s a hotline concerned patriots can call to report their friends and enemies.

Xi spoke about his plans the other day, saying he isn’t trying to silence anyone but simply wants to make sure no one is “singing out of tune”:

“Some party organizations think political discipline is soft or false, and when it comes to wrong words and deeds that go against party discipline they don’t care, don’t report it, don’t resist it, don’t fight it and certainly don’t investigate and deal with it,” Xi told the party’s anti-graft watchdog.

“The reason we demand party members and cadres not to make baseless comments is not so you can’t raise opinions and suggestions or even critical opinions,” he said.

“It’s so that on important political principles, on issues of right and wrong (you) cannot sing out of tune with the party center and engage in political liberalism.”

So everyone is free to say whatever they want, as long as what they want to say is true. Who is the arbiter of truth? The Party, of course.

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