Planet China

First Night

Members of the Communist Party of China are supposed to take the term dangxing seriously. It roughly translates as ‘Party-ness’ and is generally used to describe one’s obedience to the Party. When divided into two Chinese characters, though, dang means ‘party’ while xing could be translated as ‘sex’.

When it comes to dangxing, few could beat Chen Yun, one of the Party’s Eight Immortals. Chen got married in 1938 and he spent the first three nights lecturing his bride on the Party’s history. (His son Chen Yuan, former head of China Development Bank, was born seven years later.)

A couple who work in Nanchang’s Railway Bureau seems to have been inspired by Chen senior. The newly weds spent their first night hand copying in beautiful calligraphy the Party’s constitution. Photos of them at work were posted on the weibo of the Nanchang Railway Bureau this week. Understandably, it has stoked heated discussion. “Now I know what dangxing truly means,” a widely thumbed-up comment said. “Who was taking the photos?” others asked.

But why were they doing it? According to the People’s Daily, the gesture was part of a campaign aimed at the country’s 80 million or so Party members. In order to deepen their political understanding, members have been encouraged to handwrite the 15,000-word charter – penning 150 words a day – and then send their manuscript to their respective Party bodies. That could keep the couple in Nanchang busy for some time to come – and delay some of their other nocturnal activities.

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