There are now 80 million members of the Communist Party of China (CPC), according Chinese state-owned news agency Xinhua.
But the CPC is still fairly exclusive. The article reported that of the more than 21 million applications for membership received, just over 3 million were accepted.
The two leading demographics in party membership -- something of a recent trend -- are wildly different:
1) College students
2) Workers from both the agricultural and industrial sectors.
The Chinese Communist Party has long sought to navigate between two objectives, illustrated in the new demographics of Party membership:
1) Maintaining a strong relationship with China's future leaders and intellectuals who might otherwise turn against the government in the style of the June 4th incident-- a 1989 pro-democracy movement crushed at Chinese economic reformer Deng Xiaoping's behest. Hence, the government's move to espouse its college students.
Many college students are recruited into the CPC during their years in undergraduate studies. Party membership accords students better opportunities for social mobility in business and government, although many say that lower-ranking Party members without connections will see virtually no difference in their professional prospects.
There is some question among students at Chinese universities regarding whether it's cool or not to be part of the establishment.
2) Maintaining a strong socialist identity, in this case by introducing more workers-from both the city and countryside -- into the party.
The CPC is the largest political party in existence.