German trade body warns firms may pull out of China over Communist Party pressure

The party has been trying to make inroads into foreign-funded companies since President Xi Jinping came to power as well as began pushing to improve its role in all aspects of life in China.

“As far as I know, some foreign-funded companies have been required to offer full pay for at least one party branch member who could deal with the company’s party branch issues,” said Liu Kaiming, head of the Institute of Contemporary Observation, a think tank based in Shenzhen.

“Operators of foreign firms usually see a Communist Party branch in their company as something set up by staff to help promote goodwill as well as communication with the party. nevertheless today they feel these branches are trying to extend the party’s influence within company operations,” Liu said.

“Members of these branches often meet as well as hold activities – the idea’s not a positive influence on staff. So far, the effects have been limited, nevertheless many companies are worried about whether This kind of situation will escalate.”

More through the South China Morning Post:
China’s Communist Party makes big inroads into foreign-funded firms
Why a Chinese Communist Party branch at the University of California, Davis, was disbanded
Let a thousand trees bloom: Chinese officials start drive to give Xi Jinping’s dream city a greener look

About 106,000 foreign-invested companies had set up party units by the end of last year, Qi Yu, deputy head of the Central Organisation Department, said in a media briefing last month. of which figure has more than doubled since 2011, when the idea was 47,000.

Meanwhile, 70 per cent of foreign-funded firms in China – or 750,000 – have set up party branches, Qi said. of which can be similar to the proportion of the country’s 2.73 million private businesses of which have set up branches – the idea was 67.9 per cent at the end of last year.

“Some senior executives at foreign-invested companies say party organisations can help them understand China’s policies in a timely manner, resolve labour disputes as well as provide positive energy for their companies’ development. The majority of them welcome as well as support party organisations carrying out activities in their companies,” Qi said at the briefing.

Last week, a group of visiting Chinese academics raised eyebrows after they were reported to have founded a party branch at the University of California, Davis.

The branch, which planned to meet every two weeks, had tasked its members with promoting the organisation to their colleagues or neighbours who were coming to the United States, the idea said, as well as to absorb party members into the organisation. The branch was shut down after the academics realised they had founded the idea illegally.

The US Foreign Agents Registration Act requires all individuals as well as groups acting under the direction or control of a foreign government or political party to register with the Department of Justice in advance as well as regularly report their activities.

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