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Party can be one big family

07-01-2011 10:12 BJT Special Report:Celebrating 90th Anniversary of the Founding of CPC |

BEIJING/SHANGHAI - He Ye, branch secretary of the Communist Party of China at Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell Co Ltd, said that the idea of establishing a caucus in the company was sparked by the deadly Wenchuan earthquake of 2008.

"After the disaster, we felt the need to establish an organization so that we could unite ourselves and extend our hands to the victims of the earthquake and help them," he said.

Bosch Automotive Diesel Systems Co Ltd's Communist Party of China Committee organizes regular hikes that attract foreign colleagues as eager participants. [Provided to China Daily]

The branch was officially established in September 2008 and so far more than 400 employees have joined the Party, according to He.

"Before the establishment of the branch, relationships among employees were simple," He said. "They were only focused on their work and they rarely paid attention to community and charity activities."

Now the Party has become a way for employees to exchange ideas and organize activities in their spare time.

Mutual respect

Party branches have existed in foreign companies since the 1980s, when the nation opened up its market to overseas investment.

People used to think that members of the Communist Party of China working at foreign companies were out of place and secretive because they did not like publicity. Some were even called members of the "underground" in the old days.

"But things have changed," said Xiao Linguang, vice-secretary of the Party and chairman of the labor union at Beijing Foreign Enterprise Human Resources Service Co Ltd (FESCO), China's first and largest human resources provider for foreign enterprises.

Today, many foreign companies have set up Party branches and they enjoy mutual respect and affection.

"As international management teams gradually become more familiar with the country and broaden their knowledge of the Communist Party of China, they reappraise their attitudes towards Party members and Party branches," Xiao said.

Also, most management teams at foreign companies admit that Party members take an upfront and exemplary role by performing well in their job and contributing to a company's business development.

"Party members' outstanding working abilities have been widely recognized by foreign management teams," said Xiao.

"They have more knowledge and skills, as well as better working attitudes. They are the most diligent of all employees," she said, citing comments from international bosses.

He from Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell said that foreign executives at his company have come to gradually understand the role of the Party organization in China.

"They used to be indifferent to the Party. Now they have become more open to the idea of the Party organization and show interest in learning more about it," he said.

Currently, of the nearly 10,000 foreign companies under the service of FESCO in Beijing, 105 have their own Party branches and some 30 joint branches have been established, with the total number of registered Party members hitting 13,000, according to Xiao.

The real change started after the 16th Party's National Congress in 2002, when the Party said management and technical staff employed by foreign enterprises, the self-employed, private entrepreneurs, employees in intermediaries, freelancers and other social strata are all builders of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

It means the Party admitted that employees in foreign companies in China are also a part of the building blocks of Chinese society, which was an impetus for them to get close to the Party, according to Xiao and Yue Changhai, vice-president of Toshiba Medical Systems (China) Co Ltd and also secretary of the Party branch in the company.

Yue has been working in Toshiba Medical for 16 years.

Before 2003, there were only joint Party branches - each branch was comprised of Party members from different companies in the neighborhood, and FESCO dispatched staff members to be the Party branch secretaries to organize Party activities.

However, foreign enterprises have mushroomed since then because of China's burgeoning economy. The number of Party members working at those companies also increased rapidly.

"In this way we started establishing companies' own Party branches, in a bid to meet the growing demand and achieve effective management," Xiao said.

Party activities

Employees at foreign companies are often under great work pressure and live in an environment of fierce competition. They often experience feelings of home sickness.

"The Party branch is like a warm family, providing a platform for members to make friends, exchange ideas, and help each other," FESCO's Xiao said, adding that Party activities, even small-scale get-togethers, provide a sense of belonging.

"We would organize employees to plant trees on weekends and donate money and books to schools in rural areas," He from Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell said.

Bosch Automotive Diesel Systems Co Ltd is a foreign-invested joint venture between German technology and service provider Robert Bosch GmbH and Wuxi Weifu Group Co Ltd. It is located in Wuxi, Jiangsu province

"The 90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (July 1) is soon arriving. We have put a series of activities into our schedule between June and July. These include visiting famous places where big historical Party events took place and singing revolutionary songs," said Wang Xiaodong, deputy general manager of the company and secretary of its Party committee.

"Annual activities organized by the Party committee along with the labor union are well received," said Ren Jianyi, the company's Party committee deputy secretary and labor union chairman.

Ren said every January the company calls for all employees to go hiking together under different themes for the purposes of team building.

"The hiking began in January 2009 at the height of the global economic slowdown, so we gave that year's hiking the theme of 'being in the same boat'. This year we are calling it 'Gelivable Bosch'," said Ren. Gelivable is a newly minted pinyin/Western word meaning "amazing".

Apart from the all-member hiking, senior managers of the company and leaders of the Party committee and labor union will have another outdoor activity every October - climbing a famous Chinese mountain. "This smaller group activity, which usually has about 40 people participating, is warmly welcomed by foreign managers of our company. We've done it successfully over the past four years," said Ren.

The group climbed Tai Mountain, Hua Mountain, Huihang Ancient Trail (between Anhui and Zhejiang province), and five mountains around Zhangjiajie in Hunan province between 2007 and 2010.

Expansion

"Since the company was founded in 2004, our Party committee has expanded to 15 branches, and our Party members have soared to 460 from 80 over the past seven years," said Wang, from Bosch Automotive Diesel Systems.

According to Wang, the fast expansion of the organization is down to two sources. Most of the well-educated graduates who joined the company immediately after graduation were already Party members, and many workers born after 1980 also showed great interest in joining the organization.

He from Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell said that it could still be difficult for Party branches to recruit new members because there is not as much incentive for new and young employees to join, given the fact they are not strictly State-owned enterprises.

"We need the higher levels of the Party to pay more attention to the development of Party organization at foreign companies in China," he said.

Editor:Li Wanran |Source: Xinhua

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