Red alert: China gears up to avoid Soviet-style collapse - The Times of India JINGGANGSHAN: Bracing for key leadership changes, China's 80-million strong Communist Party is getting ready for yet another long-haul with an ideological makeover to avert a Soviet Union-style collapse which spelled doom for communism worldwide. Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) is going through the phase of "nervous sixties" as it completed 62 years in power, according to some party officials. "The Soviet Communist Party collapsed in 1991, after 74 years in power. It is a wake-up call for the CPC and a very good lesson to be learnt," Zhou Jintang, vice president of the China Executive Leadership Academy, told a group of visiting foreign journalists. One key factor for CPC in the years ahead was how quickly the growing disparities between rich and poor were bridged and how the party would remain in touch with people at the grass roots with steps to firmly put down corruption, Zhou said. Also the CPC is gearing up for a major leadership changes next year, when President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and a host of leaders at different levels are scheduled to quit after two terms to pave the way for new leadership. Vice president Xi Jinping, who has been made the vice chairman of the powerful military commission, is widely expected to succeed Hu in December next year. Though CPC was expected to continue economic reforms advocated by Mao's successor Deng Xiaoping, the party is divided over opening up on political reform fearing it would open floodgates for dissent and unrest. While CPC ideologically equipped cadre, the government geared up to meet any internal trouble by allocating $95 billion budget this year to beef up police, state security, armed civil militia, courts and jails. Incidentally, this year's internal security budget for China was higher than the $91 billion defence budget. The Soviet collapse, besides the major changes introduced by CPC, shedding its founder Mao's hardline policies after his death, were part of the curriculum for the short term courses and the lessons were dinned into CPC officials so that mistakes can be avoided. Senior officials of the CPC say moving away from Mao's era were timely decision aimed at moving ahead with changing times.