Since childhood, the 20-year-old student had wanted to join the longest-running and largest communist party in the world, having grown up hearing "red tales" of its revolutionary past from her family.
In recent years, as she embarked on the long journey to become a member of the Chinese Communist Party, she had balanced hours of lectures on party ideology with course work for her biology degree, and spent 30 minutes a day on a nationalist app reading articles and watching videos. Her latest challenge was to impress local party members. Hu, along with 12 other young hopefuls, presented a report on her family background and how her thoughts, studies and life had improved since receiving party training. Next, she fielded questions on her respective shortcomings -- for Hu, gaps in her knowledge of party history and being too strict with team members -- before being sent out of the room so the members could vote on their fate.
All of them were accepted.
"When they announced that I had become a probationary party member, I was very happy, but the atmosphere was so solemn you couldn't show your happiness," said Hu, who is not using her real name as she is not authorized to speak to media, of the June meeting in southern China, where she studies. "You had to appear calm and couldn't even clap."