19th National Congress of the Communist Party in China

In  the recent 19th National Congress of the Communist Party, Chinese President Xi Jinping has been given a second five-year term as leader of the Communist Party. Mr. Xi leads the party’s seven-member Politburo Standing Committee. This article deals with the basic information on how the communist government runs in China.

History of communist party in China

China has a Single Party System where the Communist Party of China is the only and ruling party. There are eight other small political parties also but all of them work with CPC as a united front. CPC was founded in 1921 and would celebrate centenary in 1921. It aims to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects by 2021, and achieve a modernization of China by 2049, 100 years from 1949, when the People’s Republic of China was established.

Through an internal and rigorous appointment system the Party also controls the Chinese political system at all administrative levels and from the basic township level up to the national level, no leader is appointed without the consent of the CCP.

According to the party’s constitution, the highest leading body of the CPC is the National Congress and the Central Committee it elects, and all constituent organisations and members of the party are subordinate to the National Congress and the Central Committee.

National Congress of CPC and its importance

The National Congress of the Communist Party is held every five years and it brings together more than 2,000 delegates from party organisations across the country. The main function of the congress is to elect high level bodies which form the country’s most exclusive leadership circle like Central committee, Politburo standing committee. Selecting delegates to the congress begins months ago, with recommendations made by the party’s 82 million members.

Central committee

The Central Committee is the party’s policy-setting body and is selected by the Congress for every five years. Nearly 370 members are present in the committee. They are chosen by 2,287 delegates from diverse backgrounds and groups from a Pre-selected pool of candidates. Among them are farmers, professionals and academics. The main function of central committee is to elect Politburo and Standing committee. The Central Committee also appoints the party commission that oversees the military.

Politburo

After the congress ends, the Central Committee meets to select a Politburo. The Politburo will then choose members of its Standing Committee. The real decision making power lies with standing committee. Total 25 members are present in Politburo and 7 members are present in the standing committee.

The politburo controls three other important bodies and ensures the party line is upheld. These are the Military Affairs Commission, which controls the armed forces; the National People’s Congress, or parliament; and the State Council, the government’s administrative arm.

How government Works in China?

Chinese government also has 3 branches: The Executive (handling the administration work), The People’s Congress (law making), and the court/law enforcement. All positions in these three branches are appointed, not elected. There’s no democratic election in China. The below flowchart explains how China is governed.

The State Council of the People Republic of China is similar to the Council of Ministers in other countries particularly USSR. It is descried by the constitution as the executive body of highest organ of the state and the highest administrative organ of the state.

Outcomes of recent congress

More than 2,300 delegates voted unanimously to enshrine “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” into the party’s constitution. Till now only two philosophies have names attached to them in the Communist commandments: “Mao Zedong Thought” and “Deng Xiaoping Theory”.

The plenary also confirmed Xi’s re-election as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission.

From India point of view, electing Yang Jiechi politburo is the most interesting promotion. Yang Jiechi, who as the State Councillor in-charge of foreign affairs is also the Chinese Special Representative for dealing with the border issue and Sino-Indian relations with his counterpart Ajit Doval.

On economy, China announced to relax market access for foreign investment, expand access to its services sector and deepen market-oriented reform of its exchange rate and financial system, while at the same time strengthening state firms.

Importance:

To analyze the importance of the recently conducted congress, we need to have look on what happened in 1981. At that time, after years of economic suffering and the “Cultural Revolution” the CPC identified the main contradiction faced by Chinese society as the tension between ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social productivity rather than the class struggle (identified by Mao Zedong). This re-identification under leadership of Deng Xiapong organized the basis of reforms China would need to undergo. The need to deliver high economic growth and actions towards that led the transformation of China in next three decades. However, there was an extensive collateral damage to this high growth also.

The recent meeting has raised the status of Xi Jinping  and may define the road towards which China would move in coming times. After Mao, Xi Jinping is added to the constitution of China. The Chinese Communist Party has only added only one leader, Mao, to the constitution while he was alive. The party added Deng’s name and vision for China to the constitution after he died in 1997. No other Chinese leaders have had their name added to the constitution.

When Xi Jinping, in 2012, was appointed general-secretary of the CCP, China was in the middle of a deep political crisis. After he became premier, Xi spearheaded a centralization of Party leadership. He has emphasized that the Party should be presented at all levels and in all types of organisations, agencies and enterprises in China. Even private and foreign-funded companies are now required to have a Party committee, which has to be consulted on major issues regarding running the company. This makes him more powerful.

Xi also championed China’s growing influence on the world stage, celebrating the country’s increasing control of the disputed South China Sea under his first term and calling for efforts to make the Chinese military more powerful.

Exam Topics

Prelims

Which are the countries in India’s neighborhood where there exists (1) single party system (2) communist governments

Mains

A question may be asked on basics of how government runs in China and how it is different from India.

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