Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose real power derives from his position as the head of the ruling Communist Party, has placed more emphasis on quality over quantity. He has demanded absolute loyalty from party members, launched an ideology drive to shore up their faith, and unleashed a crackdown on internal dissent. Members are bound by more stringent rules -- and millions of cadres have been investigated for violating them in the past nine years since Xi took control of the party.
They are also joining at a time when the party is facing increased scrutiny overseas. The Chinese government has faced international opprobrium over its alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, crackdown on Hong Kong and military expansions in the South China Sea. Its foreign policy has grown increasingly assertive, straining already deteriorating relations with Western nations and some of its neighbors.