Today’s skies over Beijing were particularly blue—no doubt a pleasant occurrence for the Communist Party of China, as it celebrated its 95th birthday on July 1, 2016.
News sites have taken up the cause, displaying the Bolshevik hammer and sickle on the red flag. In an unsurprisingly bright tone, Sina Finance reports in the early morning that “the Shanghai Stock Index is sitting on a explosive point, the Birthday of the Party will witness terrific news for the equity market”.
So what are typical birthday activities for the Communist Party? Well, singing “red songs” and reciting “red poems” that commemorate the significant moments in the Party’s struggles and accomplishments are some common ones. Schools, enterprises and residential communities have also held red-themed concerts, chorus competitions, art exhibitions, and knowledge contests on Party history.
Perhaps most important of all, President Xi Jinping himself gave a speech laced with the expected pleasantries. Certainly, the “great rejuvenation” of the Chinese nation was a key theme.
There was also a distinct revolutionary flavor on TV. According to The Chongqing Morning Post, several TV series based on the Party’s revolutionary history and life experiences of Chairman Mao, such as On the Taihang Mountain and The Oriental Battleground are being screened on CCTV and several other major provincial-level TV channels.
So how many Party members are there anyway? Well, as of December 2015, the members of the Chinese Communist Party had reached 88,758,000, according to the Xinmin Evening News. It’s certainly come a long way since its origins: in the summer of 1921, the Party was born out of a secretive conference that took place on a small boat in South Lake in Jiaxing, Zhejiang in an attempt to avoid imperialist spies. There were only a handful of participants at the time.
“One huge Party started off a small boat, one great spirit leads the way of the Party”, is the way Xinhua put it.
Cover image from He Hongzhou, Huang Faxiang: Sailing – the First Conference of the CPC