This article analyses trends in the Chinese Communist Party's recruitment strategy and the composition of Party members. Based on original survey data, it analyses the motives for joining the CCP, the consequences on career mobility, and the effects of Party membership on political beliefs and behaviour in contemporary China. These data reveal three key findings. First, for those who aspire to positions in the Party/government bureaucracy or SOEs, Party membership is a necessary, if not sufficient, condition; for those in the non-state sector, it is youth and college education that are the keys to top jobs, and not Party membership. Second, CCP members are more likely to donate time, money, and even blood, for various causes, and to vote in local people's congress elections. This behaviour demonstrates mobilized loyalty: the CCP mobilizes its members to participate in these activities to demonstrate their loyalty to the regime and to serve as examples to the rest of the population. Third, Party members are not more likely to support and trust their state institutions: while they do have higher levels of support for the centre than the rest of population generally, Party membership does not produce increased support for the local state. Nor does economic development: all else being equal, support for central and local party-state institutions is lower in the most developed cities. These findings call into question the Party's recruitment and development policies, as well as the conventional wisdom on the link between economic development and popular support for the status quo.