JINGGANGSHAN, China — Backs straight, heads high, three dozen Communist Party members in red neckties who hope for leadership posts belt out a poem by revolutionary leader Mao Zedong at a historic mountainside battle site in central China.
“We stay upright even as we’re surrounded by countless enemy forces!” declare the men and women, who are on a two-week course at the China Executive Leadership Academy. “Together, we will defeat the enemy!”
As the party celebrates the 100th anniversary of its 1921 founding, training centers such as the one in Jinggangshan play a key role in efforts by President Xi Jinping’s government to extend its control over a changing society.
Drawn from among its 95 million members, ambitious people at state companies and government offices are schooled in an idealized version of the party’s early revolutionary fervor before Mao’s guerrillas fought their way to national power in 1949.
Zhou Xiaojing, who works at a political training center for…
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