Event highlights work of CPC diplomatic arm

Updated: 2016-06-26 23:19

By ZHANG YUNBI(China Daily)

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Event highlights work of CPC diplomatic arm

The International Department of Communist Party of China saw dozens of ordinary people invited to its headquarters in Beijing on Sunday to witness the start of a two-way talk. [By ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY]

A low-key, mysterious presence for 65 years, the Communist Party of China’s diplomatic organ saw dozens of ordinary people invited to its headquarters on Sunday to witness a talk.

Many of the assembled foreign experts, students and netizens took out their mobile phones to capture the first few minutes of the talk between Song Tao, head of the CPC International Department, and the visiting Cuban Communist Party delegation.

Ahead of the main event, Song told visitors that his department had compared notes with its counterparts on domestic governance as well as global and regional issues, and their recent work on the South China Sea issue.

“Through party-to-party exchanges, many political parties across the globe offered their voices and supported the Chinese government’s stance on the South China Sea issue. This shows the effect of our party-to-party exchanges,” said Song, who is a former vice-foreign minister.

Established in 1951, Song’s department has built contacts with more than 160 countries and around 600 parties or political organizations.

About 400 visits are handled annually by the department, which has also increased its contact with think tanks and the media, according to Song.

Party-to-party exchanges help shape long-term, stable two-way relations between China and other countries, he said.

“Our foreign exchanges cover not only the ruling parties, but also opposition parties — the opposition today may be the ruling party in future,” Song said.

Several officials with the department also spoke about their evolving mission to help China and the Party address emerging issues domestically and overseas.

Zhang Guangping, an official on political party research at the department, said they track how foreign political parties tighten self-discipline and fight graft as the CPC seeks to root out corruption.

By comparing China’s national conditions and experiences with other countries, the department can provide policy advice and identify setbacks, Zhang said.

Sun Shouliang, a department official who specializes in making contact with countries such as Germany and Austria, said it was important to establish long-lasting relationships with both veteran politicians in important positions and younger players with great potential.

These relationships are cultivated via email, text messages and even through WeChat, the most popular instant messaging app in China, Sun said.

Wu Xingtang, a former chief of the department’s policy research branch, said it acts as “both an adviser and an aide on international relations for the Central Committee of the CPC”.

Xu Liping, a researcher on Southeast Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, noted that China’s “wide spectrum” of party-to-party contacts with Southeast Asia countries such as Indonesia has included many opposition parties and built effective communication mechanisms.