Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Chinese Political System

The People's Republic of China was founded on 1 October 1949 under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party. The Communist Party was created in 1921 in the French concession of Shanghai. Many of the historic leaders of Chinese communism had visited France in the late 1910s and early 1920s, programs of study and work.


The Chinese Communist Party since 1949 has a leading role throughout the political system. Each level of government is headed by a Party organ, for example, the provinces are run by governors, these governors obey the guidelines set by the Party Committee of the province, and it the secretary of the committee that the real issue is a provincial. The Chinese political system is characterized by a dual control at all levels, one being in the hands of state institutions, the other in those institutions of the Party, who still rule. 

The institutions of the Party 
The Secretary General of the Communist Party and the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau are in charge of the political system. Since November 2002, Mr. Hu Jintao is General Secretary of the Party. The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau has 9 members. The principle of "democratic centralism" applies in the party, that is to say that the decisions taken by a higher authority must be applied by lower level bodies. This principle ensures the cohesion of the Party's top up basic cells. Combined with the rule of the Party over the government, while provincial governments have a fairly wide degree of discretion by the central government, it allows the central government to ensure social cohesion. 

The Party Congress is convened once every 5 years for a session of ten days. The Sixteenth National Congress, composed of more than 2000 delegates met in November 2002. He elected for 5 years a central committee, which meets at least once a year, elects the Secretary General and members of the Politburo, and adopt the proposals of the Political Bureau on policy directions and appointments of the highest leaders. The Central Committee currently has 198 members. 

The Party established organizations at all territorial levels: provinces or cities, districts, villages or neighborhoods and basic cells in companies or governments. Recently, the Party also established cells in private enterprises, but in this case, the cell's Party has no leadership on the conduct of the business. 

Today, the Chinese Communist Party has more than 66 million members, nearly 5% of the Chinese population. 

The state institutions
If the Communist Party sets guidelines and provides the rule at all levels is the state administration which is responsible for implementing the policies. 

The President of the People's Republic of China is currently Mr Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin was army chief as president of the Central Military Commission. The formal role of the President of the People's Republic of China is comparable to that of President of the French Republic: enact laws, ratify treaties, appoint the Prime Minister and government members, receive and appoint ambassadors, all under decisions of the NPC. He is assisted by a Vice-President Zeng Qinghong currently. Both are elected for 5 years by the NPC. 

The government called the Council of State affairs. It is headed by a Prime Minister, currently Mr Wen Jiabao, followed by several Vice-Premiers, State Councilors (umbrella several departments) and ministers and chairmen of national committees. The prerogatives of the Council of State affairs and its members are comparable to those of the French government. 

The NPC, which has about 3,000 members, meets once a year for a session of ten days. Deputies are elected for 5 years by indirect suffrage. The NPC, which is under the leadership of the Communist Party as any other state body, elects the President and Vice-President and Prime Minister and may revise the Chinese Constitution, it finally elected for 5 years, a Standing Committee of about 150 members, which exercises the legislative power between two plenary sessions of the annual meeting. The Standing Committee meets approximately every two months for a one-week session to debate the bills and adopt. 

Local governments 
China has 34 local governments of provincial level, comprising the provinces themselves, autonomous regions (populated largely by national minorities like Tibet or Xinjiang), the 4 major cities with provincial status (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing) and two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao, including the Basic Law stipulates that they should enjoy broad autonomy. The provinces are headed by a Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the administration is, as the center, divided between a provincial people's congress and provincial government, headed by a governor. Some provinces are densely populated, such as Henan and Shandong, which are around 100 million inhabitants. 

The provinces are in turn subdivided into smaller entities, prefectures, counties, townships, and villages or neighborhoods. The districts - more than 2,000 across the country - a very different appearance from one region to another, are on average comparable in size and population to the French.

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