Zhang Xi'en, professor from the School of Politics and Public Administration at Shandong University, recently suggested that the Chinese Communist Party (CPP) should limit the number of its incumbent party members to 30 million and maintain a "moderate scale" of 51 million members in the future. Professor Zhang deemed this necessary because:
Various people, speculators included, have attempted to make personal gains in the name of being a ruling party member. They swarm into the Party, rapidly expanding its scale, and bringing tremendous danger to the Party.
The CCP, the largest political party in the world, had over 82 million party members as of 2011, 2.33 million more than in the previous year. It takes up around 6% of the total population of mainland China, and the total number is increasing by an average of one million people each year.
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Despite a complex application process, some Chinese are quite eager to join the CCP. In large part, it is not because they believe in communist tenets, which China's period of economic liberalization has largely abandoned. It's not even because they have faith in the CCP itself, which seeks to project an image of technocratic competence but is often beset with corruption scandals. Instead, they join because becoming a Party member is a resume booster that can get a Chinese citizen promoted more rapidly, especially within government or state-owned-enterprises.