BEIJING, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- China is planning an overhaul of the Communist Youth League (CYL) to reinforce youth belief in the Communist Party of China (CPC) and pump vigor into the cause of national rejuvenation.
The general office of the CPC Central Committee on Tuesday published a document outlining plans for CYL reforms, noting that CYL committees will be downsized with more staff assigned to the grassroots level to directly serve the country's youth, with bureaucratic procedures streamlined.
According to the plan, positions in the CYL should be filled by talented CPC and CYL workers who "know about, understand and love young people."
CYL delegates should pay more attention to the opinions of CYL members and ordinary young people, the document said.
The CYL should also take responsibility for encouraging young people to "listen to the Party and follow the Party," while serving and protecting teenagers' lawful rights.
A Risk of Alienation
The CYL had about 88 million members and more than 3.87 million organizations across the country at the end of 2015.
Since its founding in 1922, the CYL has been regarded as a bridge and bond linking the nation's youth with the Party. It also plays a fundamental role as the assistant and talent reserve for the CPC.
But there has been a worry that the CYL has lost its connection with young people and formed undesirable work styles, including formalism, bureaucratism, elitism and a focus on entertainment.
"Some CYL delegates have misinterpreted their role and placed themselves as administrative bureaucrats, focusing merely on official promotion instead of serving the immediate needs of young people," said Lu Shizhen, professor with the China Youth University of Political Studies, which is directly affiliated with the CYL Central Committee.
According to a statement released by the CPC's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) in February, there has been a general problem with the weakening of the party's leadership in the CYL.
The statement said that the CYL Central Committee "has not studied the spirit of the CPC's conference on improving mass organizations in-depth and translated it into daily work, and has not resolutely carried out reforms and innovation through concrete measures."
Coming Down to Earth
Chinese central leadership has attached great importance to the reform and development of the CYL since the 18th CPC National Congress.
In June 2013, General Secretary Xi Jinping of the CPC Central Committee called on members of the CYL to reinforce belief in the CPC.
Speaking to the leadership of the CYL Central Committee, the Chinese president said the CYL should "help young people to set high ambitions, strengthen their belief in the socialist path with Chinese characteristics, equip them with scientific theories and inspire them with a historical perspective."
He also encouraged young people to make achievements at the grassroots level.
According to Tuesday's document, selection criteria for CYL officials should be flexible, with more being selected from grassroots organizations, and those in office should work directly among young people for most of their time.
There have already been changes underway. A pilot program on CYL reform was launched in Shanghai and Chongqing municipalities late last year.
The Shanghai municipal CYL committee has already made huge progress in becoming less bureaucratic, with the original office managing to streamline and absorb outstanding new young members for part-time and temporary posts.
The committee also actively employs internet strategies to attract young people. It has provided digital CYL identity cards to its members so that they can have easy access to activities, both online and offline, and instantly exchange ideas with CYL officials.
"Post-1980s and '90s generations have very active thoughts and a different set of interests and values, and the Communist Youth League has to adapt to that to expand its fan base and improve its service functions," said Ding Yuanzhu, a professor with Peking University. Enditem
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