Feature: Party building, key for foreign enterprises in China

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-06 19:52:26|Editor: Liangyu
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by Xinhua writers Liu Xin and Li Meng

BEIJING, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Each month, Japanese-funded Toshiba Medical Systems (China) Co., Ltd. (TMC) holds regular activities for its Chinese employees in Beijing who are also members of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

In their over 100-square-meter Party activity room, Party members often discuss their work and political study experiences.

Toshiba started business in China in 1972, and in 2007, it established its Party branch. There were originally about 30 Party members, according to Yue Changhai, the company's vice president. Now they have more than 40 Party members, most of whom are 30 to 40 years old

"Unlike state-owned enterprises and governmental organs, Party building is not the core of our daily work in foreign companies," Yue told Xinhua. "We don't have any full-time Party staff."

Being a Party member is not a requirement for promotion at TMC. "But 20 percent of the senior executives in our China office are Party members," said Yue, who joined the CPC in 1994.

He said that the Party members exhibit better performance and exceptional abilities in their everyday work.

"Foreign enterprises in China have gradually realized the importance of Party building," said Wen Qinshan, Party secretary at Beijing Foreign Enterprises Human Resources Service Co., Ltd. (FESCO). "It helps improve work efficiency and personnel management."

Previously, many foreign senior managers did not understand how grassroots Party branches can unite employees and help improve cohesion by organizing group activities, Wen said. Party building and business culture can co-exist well.

"Attracting talent and qualified personnel are crucial for foreign companies," Yue said. "Party building can play a unique role in retaining high quality talent."

"Furthermore, Party building can help foreign companies facilitate communication and exchanges with government organs," Wen added.

TMC Party members have combined their Party activities with social welfare projects. In 2003, when SARS swept the country, they sent engineers to maintain medical devices in hospitals. Earlier this month, they invited doctors and provided facilities to conduct free clinics in Pinggu District, a rural area in northeastern Beijing.

Yue said the TMC Party branch holds eight to ten activities each year.

"Almost all Party activities in foreign companies are undertaken outside of work hours," said Xu Zaibo, secretary of Party Committee Office of FESCO.

Party building in foreign companies is not as easy as in stated-owned enterprises, Wen explained. Foreign companies generally have a higher turnover of labor and younger Party members.

"Young people not only face economic pressure, they also have dreams and ambitions," Yue analyzed. "They long for a life full of positive energy which can be found in Party membership."

FESCO has over 20,000 business clients, including TMC. It looks after Party organizations for those working in the foreign companies.

Wen said there are about 189 Party branches consisting of more than 17,000 members among their business clients.

As of the end of 2016, China had a total of 89 million CPC members, up by 688,000 from 2015, the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee announced on June 30. The number of grassroots Party units was 4.5 million, 105,000 more than the previous year.

It is hard to confirm the exact number of the Party members in foreign companies, since they may also be members of central Party organizations at a local level, such as community groups, Wen Qinshan said.

According to the Constitution of the CPC, a branch should be established wherever there are more than three Party members.

In the late 1970s, China started its opening-up policy and began welcoming foreign companies. Since then, FESCO has undertaken the management of Party members who work for foreign companies. "We were not asked to do it by any higher department," Wen said.

FESCO cultivates 20 to 30 new Party members each year. "Employees who want to join the Party can submit applications to grassroots branches," Wen said. "We then inspect and evaluate them for over one year according to the requirements for new Party members."

FESCO also organizes Party activities, including annual training and study for the Party members in foreign companies. "We provide teachers and venues to support Party activities," Wen said, adding that FESCO also helps grassroots branches make work plans.

Every two years, FESCO selects outstanding Party members and grassroots Party organizations within foreign enterprises.

The TMC Party branch has received outstanding grassroots Party organization awards several times.

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, the CPC has been comprehensively enforcing strict Party discipline. FESCO set up an online information management system, as well as a mobile phone app to help Party building in foreign companies.

The app was launched in July 2016, Wen said. It includes updated information on Party building activities and currently has over 3,000 downloads.

"We hope grassroots Party building can follow the steps of comprehensively enforcing strict discipline within the Party," Wen said.