China Political System
Short for CH by Abbreviationfinder, China has a legislative parliament, the National People’s Congress, which appoints a president and a prime minister. But there are no free and fair elections under democratic forms. In fact, the country has been ruled by the Communist Party since 1949. Its supreme leader controls both the government and the military.
The Chinese constitution from 1982 has been changed five times: 1988, 1993, 1999, 2004 and 2018. The constitution states that the country is a socialist state where all power lies with the people. But it is a “Chinese feature” socialism, which has legitimized market economy elements. In the latest constitutional amendment, an addition was made that emphasized that the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party is crucial to Chinese socialism. It expressed a new strategy by the political leadership to give the party a key role in society and consolidate its influence over the state apparatus. In the past, it has been seen as desirable to try to keep the party organization separate from the state apparatus, but today the goal is that the party and state power should be increasingly integrated.
- Countryaah: Total population and chart of China for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
In practice, China is a one-party state, although there are eight small parties alongside the Communist Party. These so-called democratic parties do not constitute opposition but cooperate with the Communist Party. An attempt in 1998 to challenge the communist power monopoly with a new free-standing party, China’s Democratic Party (KDP), was brutally harmed by the regime.
The main decision-making body of the Communist Party is the Central Committee. This in turn appoints the Politburo (currently 25 members), whose core is the Standing Committee (which currently has seven members). At a party congress every five years, the members of the various party bodies are appointed.
The highest body of state power is the National People’s Congress, with about 3,000 members, gathering in Beijing each spring. The People’s Congress appoints senior executives, including the President, the Vice President and the Prime Minister, and adopts a financial plan and budget. During the rest of the year, the legislation is passed by the National People’s Congress Executive Committee, which is under the control of the party summit. There is also an advisory conference, the Chinese People’s Political Advisory Conference (KFPRK), which lacks formal power but serves as a kind of consultative body for the People’s Congress with a couple of thousand members, including representatives of parties and organizations approved by the Communist Party and representatives for ethnic minorities.
The supreme executive power is the government (government)), elected by the People’s Congress and chaired by the Prime Minister. The government is appointed for a five-year term and the ministers may be re-elected once. Previously, there was also a restriction on the president and the vice president during two terms of office, but this was removed in the constitutional amendment 2018 (see further Current policy).
Outside the country governs regional and locally appointed national congresses and “governments”. The elections to all the national congresses except those at the local level are indirect, that is, the members are not elected in general elections but by the representatives of the national congress closest to the hierarchy. For example, every five years, the provincial congresses of the provinces elect members to the National People’s Congress. On the other hand, the elections to the local congresses at the local level are direct, but even here the party compiles the candidate lists. General voting rights prevail from 18 years.
In 1987, free elections began to be held at the local level – for city councils and village leaders – with independent candidates. But the elections, which today are organized in a large number of the country’s villages, smaller cities and districts, have had problems with, among other things, corruption and voting. Direct elections by mayors have also been tried in some quarters.
China is administratively divided into 22 provinces, four metropolitan areas (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing), five so-called autonomous regions (Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and Guangxi) and the returned colonies of Hong Kong and Macao, both called Special Administrative Region (SAR). The Constitution states that Taiwan is also part of the People’s Republic and that the two China must be reunited. China therefore counts Taiwan as the country’s 23rd province.
The Communist Party in China is the world’s largest party with about 90 million members. The majority of those working in the state administration are estimated to be party members and a membership is more or less necessary to be able to reach important positions in society even within the business and cultural spheres. But the popularity of the Communist Party has declined in recent years as corruption and the power of power spread in their own ranks. The current Chinese leadership is trying to recreate the party’s power in society and regain confidence in the party among the people. The fierce anti-corruption campaign launched by Xi Jinping when he took office as president has hit many party members and it has also strengthened the rules and training to prevent corruption within the party (see alsoCurrent Politics and Democracy and Rights).
A system of three-level state public courts with ordinary judges and laymen constitutes the backbone of China’s judicial order. Alongside these are also military and special courts. The Supreme People’s Court in Beijing oversees and is responsible for the courts’ work. The National People’s Congress appoints the chairman of the Supreme People’s Court for a maximum of two five-year terms. Since 2014, a comprehensive reform of the judiciary has been underway.
Xi Jinping travels in Guangdong
It was in this province that former leader Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms and openings to the outside world were first tried over 30 years ago. During his journey, Xi promises not to “stop the reform policy, nor the opening to the outside world”. He has also pointed out the fight against corruption as particularly important. See Zhengsourcing for tips and risks about sourcing from China.
Chinese flight over Senkaku / Diayou
A Chinese aircraft flies into the airspace over the Senkaku (Diayou) archipelago. Japan responds by putting F-16 fighter aircraft in readiness.
Xi elected as party leader
The day after the party congress ended, the new members of the Permanent Standing Committee of the Politburo are presented, which has now received seven instead of nine seats. As expected, Xi Jinping has been elected new Secretary-General of the Communist Party. He has also been elected new chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission. Other members are considered by judges to be relatively conservative, but less technocratic than before. Li Keqiang, who is due to become prime minister in March 2013 after Wen Jiabao, was one of the members of the committee, the others were all men who previously sat in the Politburo, all of them relatively aged. Only Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang can remain in committee after the next party congress in 2017, according to the informal rule which says that members must not be older than 68 years. China’s outgoing President Hu Jinto’s representative, 86-year-old Jiang Zemin, still had a strong influence over the appointment of committee members. According to analysts, five of the members could be seen as his guardians, including Xi Jinping himself.
Four Tibetans burn to death
On the same day the party congress begins in Beijing, human rights organizations state that four Tibetans have set fire to themselves and have died.
18th party congress begins
The Congress will appoint members to the Central Committee. These will then appoint the members of the Politburo and its standing committees with the country’s new leaders. Among the points raised by outgoing President Hu Jintao in his report to Congress, foreign media highlighted plans to develop China’s military capabilities at sea
Billions of wealth among power holders
Media company Bloomberg publishes review showing that Xi Jinping’s family has a fortune worth $ 1 billion. A review by the New York Times values Prime Minister Wen Jiabaos and his family’s fortune at about $ 2.7 billion.
Legal investigation begins against Bo Xilai
Chinese state media reports that Bo Xilai has lost the last official post in the party when he is excluded from the National People’s Congress and thus loses his prosecution immunity. Bo Xilai is suspected of abuses of power, bribery and of breaking the Communist Party’s rules of discipline.
Chinese writer receives the Nobel Prize
Author Mo Yan is named 2012 Nobel Laureate in Literature.
Bo Xilai is excluded from the Communist Party
Top politician Bo Xilai loses his membership in the Communist Party and will face trial, among other things, for financial crime, the government announces.
Prison for former police chief
Wang Lijun, the former chief of police in Chongqing, is sentenced to 15 years in prison, among other things, for helping to conceal the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. He is also found guilty of receiving bribes.
An aircraft carrier is being used
China’s first aircraft carrier, Lianoning, is beginning to be used for military exercises. The vessel, which belonged to the Soviet Union and was sold by Ukraine, has undergone extensive refurbishment.
Japanese companies are closed
Tensions are rising between the two countries and in China anti-Japanese demonstrations are being held in several cities and Japanese companies and businesses are subjected to stone throwing and other vandalism. As a result, Japanese companies, including Panasonic and Canon, are shutting down factories pending protests. The United States calls on the parties to the conflict to keep calm and not act overtly.
Patrol boats are sent to Senkaku / Diaoyu
Chinese media reports that two military patrol boats were sent to the disputed archipelago. All of this is a reaction to the Japanese government’s decision to buy three of the islands, which are under Japanese control, from a private owner a few days earlier. Later, it appears that the Japanese government’s decision was an attempt to avoid the nationalist governor buying the islands on Tokyo’s behalf. The Ministry of Defense announced in a statement that the military forces are determined to defend the sovereignty of the Chinese territories. The Chinese government is also setting up a ceremony to be held in memory of the re-established diplomatic relations with Japan 40 years ago.
Regime critic is released
Regime critic Wang Xiaoning is released after serving a 10-year prison sentence. The US internet company Yahoo helped him get arrested by giving Chinese authorities access to internet traffic information.
New self burns in Sichuan
Two Tibetan youths, one of them a Buddhist monk, set fire to themselves and die from their injuries.
Japanese stores are looted and Japanese cars are vandalized in several parts of the country. Behind the protests lies a renewal of the conflict over the Senkaku archipelago (Diaoyu in Chinese) in the East China Sea. After Japan seized Chinese activists who wanted to place China’s flag on the disputed archipelago, 150 Japanese arrived to remember Japanese soldiers who died in World War II. At the same time, additional Chinese activists tried to reach the archipelago but were stopped by Japanese police.
Judgment against Gu Kailai
The notable murder trial of Gu Kailai, wife of deposed top politician Bo Xilai, is held for one day. Gu does not dispute the prosecution saying she has poisoned a British businessman, who should have threatened to reveal Gus’s plans to bring black money out of the country. The trial is being held at the same time as discussions about the shift in power at the top of the Communist Party are going on behind closed doors. Bo belonged to the so-called neo-Maoists, which is one of the factions within the party top. A few weeks later, the verdict comes. Gu is sentenced to death with a delay of two years. According to Chinese law, this means that the sentence is then likely to be converted to life imprisonment. Gu Kailai’s claim that she perceived that the British businessman threatened her son for life is seen as a mitigating circumstance as well as her mental health. Many assessors, both within and outside the country,
Plans change after protests
Following widespread public protests, the authorities in the city of Qidong north of Shanghai are planning to build a waste line from a paper mill through the city. The complete reversal is one of several examples of local authorities in recent years beginning to give way to public opinion.
Many dead in torrential rain in Beijing
Heavy downpours submerge parts of Beijing. At least 37 people are killed and 65,000 are evacuated from the floods, which are the worst in the capital in 60 years.
City is established on one of the Paracel Islands
China establishes the city of Sansha on one of the islands in the disputed Paracel group in the South China Sea. The city is being built so that China can manage the islands that Vietnam also claims. A local government is set up and later in the summer Beijing decides to send a military garrison to Sansha.
Interest rates are lowered
At the beginning of the month, the Chinese central bank lowers interest rates for the first time since 2008. The banks were also given the opportunity to lower interest rates for borrowers and set higher interest rates for savings accounts. The aim was to accelerate domestic demand and economic growth.
Self-burning in Lhasa
At the end of the month, media reports that two monks lit fire on themselves in the city of Lhasa in Tibet. One of the men dies and the other is injured. Suicide attempts are the first to occur in Lhasa, at least as reported in the media.
Increased tensions with the Philippines
The dispute between China and the Philippines over the rights to certain islands in the South China Sea is renewed when a Philippine naval vessel in April attempted to intervene on Chinese fishing vessels which they claimed were not allowed to fish near Scarborough Shoal (in Chinese Huangyan), which both countries do claim on. The incident led to increased tensions between the countries and nationalist statements.
Human rights activist is seeking asylum in the US
According to media sources, human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, who has been under house arrest since 2010, has moved away from his home in Dongshigu City in Shandong Province. He is said to be in security in Beijing. Later it emerges that he was at the US Embassy to seek asylum in the US. The deal risks deteriorating US-China relations, but after high-level diplomatic negotiations, a solution seems to have been reached. The Chinese government has opened up for Chen to study in the United States. In mid-May, he goes to the United States with his family.
Lowest growth in three years
In mid-April, economic statistics from the first quarter of 2012 are presented at the growth rate of 8 percent, which is the lowest figure for the same period in the last three years.
Gu Kalai suspected of murder
Bo Xilai’s wife, Gu Kailai, is taken into custody by police after she was involved in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. A person employed by Bo Xilai and his wife are also arrested for the murder. At the same time, it is announced that Bo Xilai has been excluded from the Communist Party’s second highest body, the Politburo, and from the party’s Central Committee. Later in the month, it appears that there are investigations about Bo suspected of serious violations. According to the American New York Times, which received the information from sources within the Communist Party, Bo and his subordinates must have conducted extensive interception activities for several years as a way to tackle the serious crime in the area. In August last year, it was discovered that President Hu Jintao himself was intercepted when he spoke with a minister visiting Chongqing.
Micro blogs are closed
The affair around Bo Xilai basically shook the party establishment. Rumors are circulating on several microblogging and other social media that a coup attempt has been made because Bo, who had strong ties with the military, lost his post. Several micro-blogs are stopped by the authorities and words related to the scandal are censored.
Scandal surrounding Bo Xilai
The fact that the popular party secretary in Chongqing, Bo Xilai, did not attend the National People’s Congress attracted a stir. He was pre-scheduled to be moved up to the Politburo’s standing committee in connection with the upcoming change of leadership in October. On March 15, Bo Xilai was fired from his post in Chongqing. Bo Xilai’s former hard-line police chief, Wang Lijun, had a few weeks earlier had meetings at the US consulate in Chengdu. What lay behind was raised in the dark. Did he want to seek asylum in the United States and if so why? Other records said the police chief feared for his life. It was rumored that the police chief suspected that a British businessman who recently died of alcohol poisoning had not died a natural death. Bo Xilai’s wife was reported to be involved in a business dispute with the man. Another rumor was that Bo should have fired the chief of police after he announced that Bo Xilai and his family would be investigated for suspected corruption. The police chief eventually left the consulate and was subsequently questioned by Chinese government officials. The former party secretary in Chongqing had been characterized by a quest for law and order and a fight against organized crime; critics felt that he had gone outside the law and in practice built up a police board.
Decreased target for growth
At the National People’s Congress annual meeting in early March, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said the 2012 target for economic growth would be lowered to 7.5 percent. He also called on the upcoming Chinese leadership for political and economic reforms.
Activist elected president
With more than 90 percent of the vote, activist Lin Zulian is elected chairman of the local governing council in the village of Wukan in Guangdong Province (see also December 2011). The election, which is carried out without the usual total control of the Communist Party, is seen as a pioneering example of grassroots democracy in China.
Riots in Sichuan
At the end of the month there will be reports of clashes between police and ethnic Tibetans in Sichuan. At least three Tibetans are killed. According to Tibetan human rights groups, the police have fired on Tibetan protesters protesting against religious repression. The authorities’ version is that Tibetan activists attacked police stations. Following the unrest, the authorities tightened security checks in the province.
15 deceased in self-burns
A Tibetan monk is said to have died after lighting a fire on himself in Qinghai Province. The man must have objected to the difficulties of Tibetan Buddhists in practicing his own religion. A total of 15 people have died in the same way during the past year according to human rights groups.