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LONDON — The Chinese government recently announced that membership in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has grown to a record 71 million; apparently there are also 17 million applicants waiting to join. Last year 2,540,000 people were admitted. Since 1990 party membership has grown by almost one-fifth.

It would appear, then, that increasing numbers of Chinese, especially younger college-educated city-based people, are concerned about the impact of China’s development on the poor, especially the rural poor. Are they turning with revolutionary zeal to Marx and Lenin to help them turn China’s new capitalists, inside and outside of government, into better communists, fighting for socialist principles? Maybe or maybe not.

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