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World > Asia > China > Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

China - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)


GOVERNMENT

Chinese Communist Party
The 70.8 million member CCP, authoritarian in structure and ideology, continues to dominate government. Nevertheless, China's population, geographical vastness, and social diversity frustrate attempts to rule by fiat from Beijing. Central leaders must increasingly build consensus for new policies among party members, local and regional leaders, influential non-party members, and the population at large.

In periods of greater openness, the influence of people and organizations outside the formal party structure has tended to increase, particularly in the economic realm. This phenomenon is most apparent today in the rapidly developing coastal region. Nevertheless, in all important government, economic, and cultural institutions in China, party committees work to see that party and state policy guidance is followed and that non-party members do not create autonomous organizations that could challenge party rule. Party control is tightest in government offices and in urban economic, industrial, and cultural settings; it is considerably looser in the rural areas, where the majority of the people live.

Theoretically, the party's highest body is the Party Congress, which traditionally meets at least once every 5 years. The 17th Party Congress is expected to take place in the fall of 2007. The primary organs of power in the Communist Party include:
The Politburo Standing Committee, which currently consists of nine members (one seat is vacant following the June 2, 2007 death of Huang Ju); The Politburo, consisting of 24 full members, including the members of the Politburo Standing Committee; The Secretariat, the principal administrative mechanism of the CCP, headed by the General Secretary; The Central Military Commission; The Discipline Inspection Commission, which is charged with rooting out corruption and malfeasance among party cadres. State Structure
The Chinese Government has always been subordinate to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP); its role is to implement party policies. The primary organs of state power are the National People's Congress (NPC), the President (the head of state), and the State Council. Members of the State Council include Premier Wen Jiabao (the head of government), a variable number of vice premiers (now four), five state councilors (protocol equivalents of vice premiers but with narrower portfolios), and 22 ministers and four State Council commission directors.

Under the Chinese constitution, the NPC is the highest organ of state power in China. It meets annually for about 2 weeks to review and approve major new policy directions, laws, the budget, and major personnel changes. These initiatives are presented to the NPC for consideration by the State Council after previous endorsement by the Communist Party's Central Committee. Although the NPC generally approves State Council policy and personnel recommendations, various NPC committees hold active debate in closed sessions, and changes may be made to accommodate alternate views.

When the NPC is not in session, its permanent organ, the Standing Committee, exercises state power.

Principal Government and Party Officials
President--Hu Jintao
Vice President--Zeng Qinghong
Premier, State Council--Wen Jiabao
NPC Chair--Wu Bangguo
Vice Premiers--Wu Yi, Zeng Peiyan, Hui Liangyu
Politburo Standing Committee--Hu Jintao (General Secretary), Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun, Luo Gan
Other Politburo Members--Cao Gangchuan, Guo Boxiong, He Guoqiang, Hui Liangyu, Liu Qi, Liu Yunshan, Wang Lequan, Wang Zhaoguo, Wu Yi, Yu Zhengsheng, Zeng Peiyan, Zhang Dejiang, Zhang Lichang, Zhou Yongkang, Wang Gang (alternate)
Alternate Politburo Members--Wang Gang
Chairman, Central Military Commission--Hu Jintao

Foreign Minister--Yang Jiechi
Minister of Commerce--Bo Xilai
Minister of Finance--Jin Renqing
Minister of Agriculture--Sun Zhengcai
Minister of Information Industry--Wang Xudong
Governor, People's Bank of China--Zhou Xiaochuan
Minister, State Development and Reform Commission--Ma Kai
Ambassador to U.S.--Zhou Wenzhong
Ambassador to UN--Wang Guangya


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Chinese Yuan Renminbi Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Chinese Yuan Renminbi Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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