China’s ruling communist party has ordered its members to celebrate a different kind of birthday every year – the day they joined the party.
“For ordinary people there is only one birthday. For Chinese communist party members, there are two … In addition to the day one was born, another special day is one’s ‘political birthday’,” the central commission for discipline inspection, the party’s disciplinary watchdog, said in a notice on Tuesday.
“A birthday serves to remind one to respect and value life. A political birthday is for remembering love and devotion for the party.”
After issuing guidelines to all departments and regions in March to focus on “political rituals” such as political birthdays, the commission outlined how cadres should mark the occasion.
Under Xi Jinping, China’s president and the head of the communist party, officials are increasingly focused on ideological education and loyalty to Xi within the party ranks. Party members have had to download an app to study the thoughts of Xi Jinping and other party material. On Thursday, a party website under the People’s Daily published instructions, with images, for party members on how and when to wear their party badges.
Noting that there were no explicit provisions, the commission suggested party members could revisit the oaths they took when joining, take part in a study session, do volunteer work or have a “heart to heart” with superiors so they can “identify and improve their shortcomings as soon as possible”.
“Through this solemn sense of ritual, party members can remember their original heart and mission. The political birthday is an opportunity for each party member to be fuelled, recharged … so party members can feel the warm care of the party organisation and further their sense of identity and purpose.”
The commission advised that the celebration of political birthdays should not become a bureaucratic formality and must be “genuinely popular”.
“Celebrating one’s political birthday may seem simple but the meaning is quite deep. It is to remind party members: No matter how much time has passed, don’t forget the day you joined the party,” it said.