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Amy Li, 30, works for the state-owned magazine Chinaís National Geography in Beijing. She is a member of the Chinese Communist Party.
"When I was in college, you had to be very, very active, you had to be the best one if you wanted to be a Party member.
I wasnít, so I joined the army one year later as a teacher. If you join the army you have to be a Party member.
If you are a Party member you are still regarded as a good person, you know, a good performer or something, especially at a young age.
I donít have any ambition in politics. I donít feel any particular loyalty to the Party, especially this year as I didnít join in with the activities or have any direct information from the Party leaders.
I just feel like anybody else, except that sometimes, if I talk to the government officials they will like me more, you know. Iíll tell them Iím a Party member.
Nowadays there arenít many young people who belong to the Party.
Even in state-owned companies like mine I guess there arenít more than four or five members out of the 30 people there. Some are old and some are young.
I graduated in í94, and at that time being a member of the Party boosted your job opportunities.
But now, eight years later, I think people choose according to peoplesí capabilities, not according to their political background.
Are lots of my friends Party members as well? No. They laugh at me - sometimes they say 'Oh youíre a Party member, I forgot.'
I think that being a Communist Party member is seen as being a very serious thing.
Now people of my age donít want to become a member and even if they did, itís not easy to join now - itís not worth the application process.
The application procedure is long. You have to write a lot of reports about your thoughts about the Party.
But to keep going with it is easy. As long as I pay the fee, I will keep this membership.
I think if you stop your membership, itís a big thing. Youíve got an obligation.
If you didnít pay for a while they would just stop your membership automatically but I think things would be very, very serious Ė whereas the amount of money I pay is not a lot. How much you pay depends on your salary.
Status of women
Is Communismís original premise of equality for women still in practice today? I think less women want a political career so there are less of them. Itís not about equality.
I think Chinese women arenít especially ambitious and if you join a company or unit, you have to work from morning to evening but women are still obliged to take care of the family.
Concerning physical energy or mentality, I think men are stronger, so sometimes I think women tend to have a lower status than men.
Regarding Chinaís economic reform, I think that without Deng Xiaopingís open door policy we wouldnít have so many foreign companies in China, so we wouldnít have so many opportunities.
Foreign companies offer a higher salary and more chances. During my three years as a teacher at the army school I learnt a lot, but I didnít want to be a teacher and I got bored and left.
Five years later, I worked for a joint venture. I learnt a lot there because British and American companies have advanced management.
And the people around me - my boss and my colleagues - were very open-minded and told me a lot of things about their countries.
You can grow faster this way - you donít have to experience the pains other countries have already experienced.
Leaving behind the past
I used to work in a medium-sized town. If I had stayed there I would be a different person. My friends and former classmates all think Iím different now.
But different doesnít mean Iím bad, or capitalist. It means Iím more sophisticated and smarter maybe. I think thatís a good thing.
As for the Party Congress, I think last time [the leadership was overhauled] - which was special, you know with the Tiananmen thing - it felt different, turbulent or whatever.
But this time, we have known for a year or two that itís going to happen, and because the choice of the Party leader is out of our control, we just take it for granted.
I donít think the change in leader will have a big impact, because itís not a Party member change that changes people's lives, itís economic policy that changes people's lives.
I donít think the common people pay much attention to who the Party leader is.
I think if anyone, Zhu Rongji can change people's lives, heís the one. The economy stuff - he seems very smart."
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