POLL: 100% of National Congress Delegates Have Never Held a Hammer or Sickle
BEIJING — Of many surveys taken during the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, one that asked delegates about their feelings on the Party’s official logo—the hammer and sickle—has aroused particular controversy.
Out of the 888 delegates polled, 100% revealed that they have neither held a hammer nor a sickle at any point in their lives. Furthermore, 62% chose the response “not sure” when asked to give a context in which either implement could be used.
A startling 18% mistook the sickle for a question mark.
The hammer and sickle was first adopted during Russia’s Bolshevik revolution before being appropriated by every major communist party on earth. The emblem was meant to symbolize the central role of workers (hammer) and peasants (sickle) as instigators and leaders of the communist revolution.
However, the relevance of these implements to the present-day makeup of China’s ruling party is being re-examined. Many within the Party are asking if the hammer and sickle are still the best symbols to represent this new generation of professional politicians heading up an authoritarian bureaucratic plutocracy which discriminates against anyone who is not directly affiliated with the apparatus.
Indeed, no CPC member above the rank of deputy governor has done manual labor since 1986, as part of Deng Xiaoping’s famous “Workers Work, Rulers Rule” drive.
One major aim of this year’s Party Congress was to discuss the possible adoption of “a new, modern symbol to carry the Party forward into the next century.” While some advocated modernization, replacing the hammer and sickle with a crossed Aigo mid-gauge nail gun and a Zoomlion diesel-powered combine harvester, others advocated adapting the Party’s outdated motif into one representing the tools used by China’s present-day revolutionaries: a corkscrew, the Mercedes-Benz logo and a Vertu cell phone.
This is not the first time a major political party has considered changing its official logo. After the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the Democratic Party publicized an “alternative” logo depicting the Party’s traditional mascot—a donkey—anally penetrating an elephant.
Even earlier, in 1945, Adolf Hitler’s final act as Chancellor of Germany before committing suicide was to change the Nazi Party’s swastika to a smiley face, in the belief that this would help his successor bury the hatchet with the Soviet Union.
Even Mao Zedong wasn’t convinced when the CPC formally adopted the Soviet hammer and sickle its official emblem. Until his death in 1978, Mao continued to advocate for a line-drawing of his own face as the Party’s emblem, the centerpiece of the national flag and the mandatory shape of every municipal swimming pool in the country.