Finally, a story worth reading about Obama’s trip to China.
And for the record, it’s normal for top university students to be a members of the Communist Youth League, or 青年团. Does anyone have an idea of how hard it is to get a job for college graduates in China today? Membership in the Youth League can often help with employment, getting recommendations, etc. It’s a bit like a student club in the U.S., just affiliated with the state.
No one, especially the White House, should be surprised that there were students in the audience at an elite school in the People’s Republic of China, who are in the Communist Party. After all, contrary to the Falun Gong propaganda, these are just normal people with extraordinary skills trying to find work and meaning in their lives.
And good luck finding a room full of undergraduates at any American university (besides, of course, my own stellar school, where Chinese fluency has taken hold among a select few non-native Chinese speakers) who can listen to Hu Jintao or Xi Jinping discourse in Chinese.
Full video of the Shanghai colloquy is here on the White House website. One of the funniest and most heartening sections is when the U.S. Ambassador to China welcomes everyone in a slightly stilted yet still serviceable Mandarin. Dare I say it? 美国加油!
哇，我的爱国情绪站起来了。 美国太牛了。 现在有意志，我国还有些思想自由； 欧洲也有这概念（当然，美国母亲的奶就是宗教自由），但那地方太旧了，死，老战院。 奥巴马 （反对“欧“ 巴马听点儿右了）说的对：太平洋就是世界的将来。 我天天在本海洋上起床！ 昨晚飚飚的，有神在舞。
My understanding is that unless you are trying to land a job with those state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the fact that you are member of the CCP, let alone the CYL membership, doesn’t make much difference at all.
JCM, I seem to recall a conversation with a Beida student interpreter I had a while back who was a CCP member; she went on to work for Goldman Sachs but as I recall she said that CYL membership helped her score better letters of rec. So my information here is anecdotal, but I think it makes sense.
For historians (my chosen field so more contact with Chinese grad students), CCP membership helps, because given the paucity of jobs, one of the available career tracks is to get paid a decent salary to teach Mao/Deng/Jiang theory at a Party school or at a regular university. Those courses do manage to keep a lot of people employed, even if they put students to sleep. 邓三毛改, as they say.
Sure, I am pretty sure you have to be a party member to teach those courses. It would be unimaginable to have a Dang Wai Ren Shi teaching CCP history or core CCP theories.