Unlike many of his peers in the Communist Party leadership, President Xi Jinping did not join the Communist Youth League (CYL), which is a traditional path to political power in the country.
Now it seems that path may be getting cut off.
Bloomberg reports that the Communist Party is considering ending undergraduate admissions into the League’s University of Political Science, which was founded back in 1985 when former President Hu Jintao attended.
Such a move would send a message to younger people about an organization that’s been a traditional springboard for leadership posts but was not the route to power for Xi. It could reverberate through a twice-a-decade reshuffle at next year’s party congress, when several prominent league alumni will be in the running for positions in the party’s uppermost echelons.
The news that the CYL might discontinue this program was initially met with a little bit of resistance. One instructor wrote a post about the decision on Weibo and said that it was perhaps a bit too hasty. That was on Thursday, but it had already been taken down by Friday, when the university put out a statement saying that it was looking at “reform” options, according to Bloomberg.
Experts say that you can expect more cuts to CYL programming and more “reforms” coming for the organization in general. You can also expect to see fewer CYL members ascending the ranks of politics. This was an organization for China’s elite – for princelings – and Xi was not a part of that growing up.
In fact, you may recall that everything we know about Xi’s childhood is pretty terrifying. The party turned against his family early in his life during the Cultural Revolution, and his father was put in a work camp. This has colored Xi’s entire view of politics, as he told the Chinese Times back in 2000:
“People who have little experience with power, those who have been far away from it, tend to regard these things as mysterious and novel,” Xi said.
“But I look past the superficial things: the power and the flowers and the glory and the applause. I see the detention houses, the fickleness of human relationships. I understand politics on a deeper level.”