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BEIJING - Many people visit Shanghai Tower to admire what is the tallest building in China, but few people know that it is home to one of the smallest cells of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the country.
Lu Jiawei, 24, is the head of the cell. The joint Party branch in the landmark building he overseas is only six-months old.
It had five CPC members from five different companies when it was launched in February. Now its membership has grown to ten, including two from mobile and online payment service Alipay.
Under CPC regulations, such a joint branch can be set up for companies with less than three Party members, as they are not qualified to form an independent branch.
Rising 632 meters over Shanghai"s bustling Lujiazui financial and trade zone, the landmark building is home to nearly 100 domestic and foreign companies.
A large "gold-collar lounge" on the tower"s 22nd floor has been reserved for Party members to study Party policies and principles.
"This is a library, a gym, a teahouse and a place to meet new friends," Lu said. "We hold various activities of the Party organizations, including sessions of criticism and self-criticism."
In August, he organized members to watch "The Founding of an Army," a domestic war film made in honor of the 90th founding anniversary of the People"s Liberation Army.
"If the Shanghai Tower can be regarded as a mark for the physical altitude of China"s economic development, the building of Party organizations within it marks the spiritual altitude of economic and social development," said Shao Zhuqing, deputy Party committee secretary of Shanghai Tower Construction and Development.
The gold-collar lounge is a place to recharge Party members spiritually, a home to offer service to white-collar employees in the region, and a platform to improve communication between Party members and the general populace, Shao said.
Not far away from the tower, functional CPC cells are vibrant in Shanghai Disney Resort, a Sino-foreign joint venture located in central New Pudong District.
"Some of my colleagues are surprised to know there is a Party committee within the company," said Murray King, vice president of public affairs for the Shanghai Disney Resort.
"The Party committee is a normal part of our business, a normal part of our operations, in fact it is a very helpful part," he said. "It"s a source of knowledge and resources, which I think is very valuable for a successful business."
"I"m often pleasantly surprised to find some of our most talented people are Party members. I have to give credit to the Party committee because some really good ideas come from the Party committee, and some of our most dedicated employees are Party members," King said.
In 2013, the Shanghai Disney project, which was still under construction at the time, created a "golden idea" platform for its employees and Party members to provide ideas to help the company improve, and eight of its 39 proposals made had been submitted to the company"s executive team.
Nearly 1,000 kilometers away from Shanghai, grassroots Party organizations are leading villagers toward a better life in Jinggangshan, home to CPC"s first rural revolutionary base, established 90 years ago in the inland province of Jiangxi.
Huang Chengzhong is secretary of the Party committee of Shenshan village.
The committee is responsible not only for enabling the villagers to get to know CPC policies and goals such as poverty eradication, but helping ensure they are carried out and achieved in the village.
There are 19 Party members in the village, with the eldest born during the war against Japanese aggression and the youngest in 1993.
Under the leadership of the village Party committee, a leading group for targeted poverty relief, comprised of five Party members, including Zuo Xiangyun, has been set up.
Poverty relief projects initiated under the group include setting up cooperatives to grow peaches and tea, promoting farm tours, renovating dilapidated houses and helping villagers pay social insurance.
Together with two fellow villagers, Zuo set up a tourism council to arrange farm tours to the village.
"We assign tourists to different households, record the revenue and distribute it among participating villagers," Zuo told reporters when counting one morning"s revenue, which was over 1,000 yuan (152 U.S. dollars).
"The amount was about the equivalent of a poor household"s annual earnings ten years ago," Zuo said.
Zuo attributes the increase to the Party"s leadership, institutional arrangement and hard work of the villagers.
With 50 villagers in 21 households, Shenshan has been officially taken off the list of impoverished areas together with the Jinggangshan region earlier this year, as the number of people who live under the poverty line here has fallen below 2 percent.
"Casting of poverty is only the first step," Huang said. "The next step to which the Party is leading our small village is to achieve moderate but common and sustainable prosperity."