China threw open the gates of its secretive Central Party School on Wednesday, offering foreign journalists a rare but carefully scripted peek at the leafy campus where the country's Communist elite are trained.
The tour is part of a drive by the Communist government to show it's becoming more open and transparent.
"In recent years the Central Party School and indeed the whole Communist Party system have not had much interaction with the outside world but this is something we are trying to change," Chen Baosheng, vice president of the school, told reporters. "Our party has nothing to hide."
China's top leaders are under pressure to show more of the government's inner workings amid public anger over rampant corruption in its ranks and demands for accelerated political reform to help deal with sweeping social changes.
The tour was also part of activities marking the 89th anniversary this week of the founding of China's Communist Party.
During the four-hour visit to the campus in Beijing's northwestern university district, journalists got a glimpse of a lively lecture on how to manage people while fostering innovation, a gym where officials whacked at pingpong and tennis balls, and a hotel-style dormitory complete with dry cleaning and CNN.
Each room was stocked with a small library of Chinese Communist classics, including the collected works of revolutionary leader Mao Zedong. The campus bookstore offered a wider selection, including several books on the leadership style of President Barack Obama and "Who Am I, The Autobiography of Bruce Lee."
Founded in 1933, the school is a training ground for China's middle and senior-ranking officials. While long closed to outsiders, it has opened up in recent years, welcoming guest lecturers from overseas, such as U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who recently visited.