Okay, dear readers, its the holiday season and things are going crazy in my little siheyuan on this side of the world. Soon you'll see both the 2nd part of "One Night in Beijing" as well as the first mp3 posting (as soon as I can figure out how to do that), but for now, I found this story too good to pass up.
always the purveyor of good news, the People's Daily reports Wal Mart is setting up a Communist Party branch (link can be found here: http://english.people.com.cn/200612/18/eng20061218_333487.html)
So maybe they're waiting until 2007 to change that blue star in their logo to a red one?
In reality, it makes sense for all sides: those employees interested in joining the Party will now have the opportunity to do so, while the Party is able to expand into a huge foreign company. If they can set up a branch with Wal Mart, it should be easier to do so in smaller foreign companies. I also think its a brave move by both sides knowing the PR hit they'd take from this. Think about it, for those Wal Mart haters in the US, could there be any better way to attack the big boxer? The headline/soundbite is enough to embarass the company, despite the good it will do for (some) of its employees in China. At the same time, is there anything more oxymoronic than a Communist Party branch being set up in the 2nd richest company in the US, owned by some of the richest people in the world?
At the end of the day, its really a non-story, except for those willing to make cheap points off it. Beyond that, looking at it optimistically, it shows how much the Party has changed and that a return to the bad old days is highly unlikely.