Inside China’s National Academy of Governance that shapes CPC cadres

By Théophile Niyitegeka
On 18 April 2024 at 04:45

Located in Haidian District, Beijing, close to the Old Summer Palace, the National Academy of Governance, also known as the Party School of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, occupies a central position in China’s political and educational arenas. Since its establishment, this institution has devoted itself to the education of both high and middle-level officials, playing an essential role in the development of national leaders.

Initially founded as the Marxist Communist School in Ruijin, Jiangxi, in March 1933, the academy has experienced numerous evolutions, mirroring the ever-changing political landscape of China. By 1935, during the historic Long March north, it was renamed the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Following a period of dormancy during the Cultural Revolution, the school not only recovered but also broadened its educational reach and influence, culminating in its renaming in 1994 as the National School of Administration.

A major organizational transformation occurred in 2018 when the Central Committee of the Party merged the functions of the Central Party School and the National School of Administration.

This merger was a strategic move intended to unify the training of China’s civil servants and policy analysts within a single framework. Presently, the academy operates as a dual facility—functioning both as a traditional party school and a contemporary administration school, thereby preserving its historical significance while addressing modern governance challenges.

The primary mission of the academy is multi-dimensional. It acts as the chief venue for training provincial and ministerial-level leaders, executives of major state enterprises, and university presidents, among others. Its curriculum is expansive, covering Marxist-Leninist theory, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the "Three Represents," the Scientific Outlook on Development, and notably, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.

On March 1, 2023, during the 90th anniversary celebrations of the Central Party School, General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized the institution’s foundational goal—to educate and serve the Party, playing a crucial advisory role in national governance. His address highlighted the school’s ongoing dedication to ideological education, theoretical research, and the broader goals of Party development.

During a press conference on April 15, 2024, the academy’s Vice President responsible for daily operations, Xie Chuntao, accentuated its function as a think tank and its international influence, noting engagements with foreign dignitaries eager to gain insights from China’s governance model.

Chuntao emphasized the significance of effective governance and China’s advancements in fostering a strong governance framework marked by consultative democracy and judicial reforms to improve accountability.

Notable legislative advancements, such as the elimination of agricultural taxes in 2016, demonstrate the tangible impact of the academy’s training programs on policy formulation. The academy also promotes inclusion and representation within China’s legislature, ensuring that a variety of perspectives are considered and that governance remains attuned to the populace’s needs.

China’s advancements in regional autonomy and ethnic integration, guided by President Xi Jinping, further highlight the successful governance strategies derived from the Party School’s teachings.

This comprehensive approach to governance ensures that all 56 officially recognized ethnic groups in China support one another in creating a diverse yet cohesive economic and social framework.

The influence of the Party School extends beyond China’s borders, with its initiatives under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) enhancing international cooperation and creating development opportunities for numerous participating countries.

The BRI has become a pivotal element of global economic collaboration, involving 151 countries and encompassing nearly 75% of the global population. By 2040, it is projected to increase global GDP by $7.1 trillion annually, substantially improving international trade by addressing infrastructural deficits.

More than 50 African nations have benefited from Chinese-led projects, including the construction or enhancement of over 10,000 kilometers of railways, nearly 100,000 kilometers of roads, about 1,000 bridges, and 100 ports, leading to better infrastructure, reduced unemployment, and expanded trade opportunities.

China’s governance strides are also mirrored in its economic performance. In 2023, China recorded a GDP growth of 5.2 percent, reaching a total of 126 trillion yuan (approximately $17.67 trillion), reaffirming its position as a major global economic powerhouse.

With more than 98 million members and growing, the Communist Party of China continues to steer the nation under the steadfast leadership of President Xi Jinping, with the ambition to exceed 100 million members.

The Party School, at the core of this monumental effort, remains steadfast in its founding mission, adapting to the needs of a new era and contributing to the creation of a modern socialist country and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Visitors can see statues of the 13 founders of late cadres that attended the first meeting of CPC on a small boat.
Placed on Luoyan Lake, the red boat complements a striking red sculpture, adding to the picturesque and historically resonant landscape.
The statue of Mao Zedong. His profound influence is palpable throughout the school grounds.
In the heart of the school's Beijing campus stands a full-length statue of Mao Zedong. Positioned in front of the auditorium, this imposing sculpture serves as a constant reminder of Mao's revolutionary leadership. Mao Zedong is celebrated for leading the Chinese people to redefine their destiny and dramatically transform the nation’s societal and political landscape.
A statue of Deng Xiaoping, hailed as the Chief Designer, stands prominently in the square before the auditorium. This statue pays homage to Deng's transformative leadership in modernizing China and guiding its emergence as a global power.
At the Central Party School, visitors are greeted by the core concept of 'concrete party school education' brought to life through vivid red sculptures.
The statue of Mao Zedong. His profound influence is palpable throughout the school grounds.
The school's auditorium
The design of the Red Campus at the Central Party School is crafted to concretize the content of theoretical education and instill party spirit. Art forms rich in symbolism enable students and visitors alike to feel the profound impact and power of the red spirit.
It is believed that as students walk the campus, the sight of statues of monumental figures instills a deep, sacred sense of mission, enhancing their commitment to their roles in shaping the future.
On July 23, 1921, the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China convened in Shanghai. The meeting was abruptly moved due to a spy's disruption, ultimately finding a unique resolution on a small boat in Nanhu Lake, Jiaxing. This historic shift symbolizes the enduring resilience of the party's founding members under unexpected adversity.
A replica of the 'red boat' at the school's premises. It is placed on Luoyan Lake and holds great significance in Chinese history.
The academy’s Vice President responsible for daily operations, Xie Chuntao speaking to members of the press.