søndag 4. august 2019

90 million people are officially members of the Chinese Communist Party. Why have they chosen to take the pledge? And what about those who don’t?

I found out about my father’s Communist Party membership from his obituary.It was the first winter of the new century. I was 10 years old. My father was an engineering professor at a university in southeastern China. I attended its affiliated elementary and secondary schools, where my mother also worked. A black armband pinned to my padded jacket, I went back to my sixth-grade classroom.

There was a giant chalkboard by the school entrance, where I usually stopped on my way home to look up new announcements. That afternoon, beneath faded handwritten messages, a sheet of paper taped near the bottom stood out.

The body of the text started with my father’s name, followed by his titles. The action word was “passed away.” The paragraph concluded with his number of years on earth, “thirty-six.” It was a familiar format. But what surprised me were the seven characters immediately after his name, separated only by a comma: 中国共产党党员 (zhōngguó gòngchǎndǎng dǎngyuán) — “Member of the Chinese Communist Party.”