The Communist Party of China (CPC) today, with its membership over 80 million, is the world's largest political party. It is probably also the longest ruling party in the world.
In this age of market driven globalized economic growth and rising economic affluence, the term communist party appears much as an anachronism. The classical definition of "communism" based on the notion of the rule of the workers and abolition of private property ownership, sounds particularly unrealistic and irrelevant to the present highly materialistic generation, both in and out of China.
A Confucian would start everything with "what is in a name?" For any political party in this day and age, whatever name it carries is no longer as important as how it actually functions and how it actually serves its people. The CPC is more of a pragmatic ruling party in China rather than an ideological "communist" party.
However, the CPC is not just an ordinary ruling party. It is still different from many other political parties the world over, particularly in terms of performance.
The CPC takes it upon itself that it has a mission to stay in power so as to transform and develop China. Whereas most political parties in other countries go for short-term policies, the CPC adopts to long-term policies and addresses the long-term development needs that China is facing.
Not surprisingly, the CPC has become a highly achievement-oriented political party. The CPC's overall performance in terms of China's economic development and social progress for the past three decades has been truly remarkable. Thanks to Deng Xiaoping's success in economic reform by first removing its rigid ideological straightjacket on the economy and society, the CPC was able to launch an industrialization program on a scale never before witnessed in human history. Successful industrialization in turn led to near double-digit rates of economic growth. China's total GDP increased 100 times from 1979 to 2010, making it the world's second largest economy today.
The CPC is thus known to the Chinese people as a party that delivers successful economic growth, generates employment, and creates wealth. In fact, its "mandate from heaven" to rule China largely stems from its stella performance in the economic arena.