context: Two schools of thought currently dominate thinking about how to build a better Party. One school might be called ‘The Institutionalists’: they believe in sharper organisation and management, coupled with a clear mission. The other school has it that the issue is not management but membership: that what ails the Party is a dearth of dedicated and loyal personnel. It is this group—who could be termed ‘The Elitists’—whose view is represented below.

A People’s Daily commentary states that the key to realising a better Party lies in selecting and cultivating a loyal and clean contingent of high-quality cadres. He Wen 何文, a Hubei official, argues that putting political standards first is crucial, and that loyalty to the Party is the primary quality to be sought.

Cadres should be managed strictly, starting with selection and appointment. Candidates should be selected based on their honesty and political reliability, the writer argues, rather than to simply fill an open slot. The Party should strictly implement a comprehensive system of selecting and employing personnel, inspecting and checking, using both research into their nomination and judgment, making those recommending candidates accountable if a cadre should fail.

Political determination, political responsibility, political ability and political self-discipline are the main principles by which Party colleagues need to be evaluated, and on what promotion should rely. Party members must not turn a blind eye to some cadres’ violations of discipline for fear of offending their sponsors and supporters. Transgressors should not receive a second opportunity to offend. Cadres need to be fearful and cautious but also participate fully in Party life, instead of simply playing at it—to be dedicated, because, He argues, a great cause demands great men. Cadres, the essay concludes, should be ‘soldiers’ instead of ‘gentlemen’.