Excerpts from an article by Li Qian from China Daily:
When China opened up to the world over 20 years ago, Wei Jianhua joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) because of its social ideals. A decade later, she became an owner of a chemical manufacturing corporation – a private enterprise.
At the end of last year, more than 2.86 million party members work in privately owned enterprises, including 810,000 running their own businesses, shows figures released by the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee.
Party members going into private businesses, especially those who left state-owned enterprises and government positions once became a national hot topic starting from the early 1990s when the country deepened development towards the market-oriented economic system.
The businesswoman's conversion has led to a fresh interpretation of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The CPC's constitution states that human society should eliminate the exploitation of the labor class, and calls on party members to establish businesses that are owned by all citizens or a collective of people.
But for Wei and many other Communist entrepreneurs, serving the people and country could be practiced in other ways.
"I believe the key issue is how to properly allocate profits to benefit the society," Wei said. "My company didn't receive a single penny from the government, but provides job opportunities and products. And we're committed in shouldering social responsibilities.”
"I feel I'm not a pure businessperson. When commercial interests conflict with social duties, I'll definitely place responsibilities ahead," Wei explained. "It's not just me, actually there are a great number of private business owners who have the same philosophy as me."
In the Sixteenth National Conference of the CPC in 2002, private owners and individual entrepreneurs were labeled for the first time as "Builders of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics".
"My heart was moved when I heard the news," Wei recalled. "I immediately felt my life was fulfilled."
China Daily: Red capitalists keep socialism alive