Government of the People's Republic of China

Government of the People's Republic of China

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All power within the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

is divided among three bodies: the People's Republic of China, State Council, and the People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 (PLA). This article is concerned with the formal structure of the state, its departments and their responsibilities. Most, but not all, positions of significant power in the state structure and in the army are occupied by members of the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 which is controlled by the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China
Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China
The Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China is a committee consisting of the top leadership of the Communist Party of China, whose membership varies between 5 and 9 people. The inner workings of the PSC are not well known, although it is believed that decisions of the PSC are...

, a group of 4 to 9 people, usually all older men, who make all decisions of national significance. As the role of the Army is to enforce these decisions, the support of the PLA is important in maintaining Party rule.

Power is concentrated in the Paramount Leader
Paramount leader
Paramount leader literally "the highest leader of the party and the state ", in modern Chinese political science, unofficially refers to the political leader of the People's Republic of China....

, currently Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

, who heads all three bodies: He is General Secretary
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China , officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is the highest ranking official within the Communist Party of China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat...

 of the Communist Party and of the Central Committee
Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China is the highest authority within the Communist Party of China. Its approximately 350 members and alternates are selected once every five years by the National Party Congress....

, President of the People's Republic of China
President of the People's Republic of China
The President of the People's Republic of China is a ceremonial office and a part of State organs under the National People's Congress and it is the head of state of the People's Republic of China . The office was created by the 1982 Constitution...

, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission
Chairman of the Central Military Commission
The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China has overall responsibility for the Central Military Commission. According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of...

. Recently, experts have observed growing limitations to the Paramount Leader's de facto control over the government.

The legal power of the Communist Party is guaranteed by the PRC constitution
Constitution of the People's Republic of China
The Constitution of the People's Republic of China is the highest law within the People's Republic of China. The current version was adopted by the 5th National People's Congress on December 4, 1982 with further revisions in 1988, 1993, 1999, and 2004. Three previous state constitutions—those of...

 and its position as the supreme political authority in the PRC is realised through its comprehensive control of the state, military, and media. According to a prominent government spokesman:
We will never simply copy the system of Western countries or introduce a system of multiple parties holding office in rotation, although China’s state organs have different responsibilities, they all adhere to the line, principles and policies of the party.


The primary organs of state power are the National People's Congress
National People's Congress
The National People's Congress , abbreviated NPC , is the highest state body and the only legislative house in the People's Republic of China. The National People's Congress is held in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, capital of the People's Republic of China; with 2,987 members, it is the...

 (NPC), the President
President of the People's Republic of China
The President of the People's Republic of China is a ceremonial office and a part of State organs under the National People's Congress and it is the head of state of the People's Republic of China . The office was created by the 1982 Constitution...

, and the State Council. Members of the State Council include the Premier
Premier of the People's Republic of China
The Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China , sometimes also referred to as the "Prime Minister" informally, is the Leader of the State Council of the People's Republic of China , who is the head of government and holds the highest-ranking of the Civil service of the...

, a variable number of Vice Premiers
Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
The Vice Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China is a high-ranking executive assistant to the Premier. There is a First-ranking Vice Premier , sometimes called Executive Vice Premier wrongly by the non-official media. It is an informal title and takes over duties of the...

 (now four), five State Councilors (protocol equal of vice premiers but with narrower portfolios), and 29 ministers and heads of State Council commissions. During the 1980s there was an attempt made to separate party and state functions, with the party deciding general policy and the state carrying it out. The attempt was abandoned in the 1990s with the result that the political leadership within the state are also the leaders of the party, thereby creating a single centralized focus of power.

At the same time there has been a move for having party and state offices be separated at levels other than the central government. It is unheard of for a sub-national executive to also be party secretary. This frequently causes conflict between the chief executive and the party secretary, and this conflict is widely seen as intentional to prevent either from becoming too powerful. Some special cases are the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 and Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

 where the Mainland Chinese national laws do not apply at all and the autonomous regions where, following Soviet practice, the chief executive is typically a member of the local ethnic group while the party general secretary is non-local and usually Han Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

.

Under the Constitution of the People's Republic of China
Constitution of the People's Republic of China
The Constitution of the People's Republic of China is the highest law within the People's Republic of China. The current version was adopted by the 5th National People's Congress on December 4, 1982 with further revisions in 1988, 1993, 1999, and 2004. Three previous state constitutions—those of...

, the NPC is the highest organ of state power in China. It meets annually for about two weeks to review and approve major new policy directions, laws, the budget, and major personnel changes. Most national legislation in the PRC is adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress is a committee of about 150 members of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China , which is convened between plenary sessions of the NPC. It has the constitutional authority to modify legislation within limits set by...

. Most initiatives are presented to the NPCSC for consideration by the State Council after previous endorsement by the Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee. Although the NPC generally approves State Council policy and personnel recommendations, the NPC and its standing committee has increasingly asserted its role as the national legislature and has been able to force revisions in some laws. For example, the State Council and the Party have been unable to secure passage of a fuel tax to finance the construction of expressways
Expressways of China
The Expressway Network of the People's Republic of China is one of the longest in the world. The network is also known as National Trunk Highway System . The total length of China's expressways was at the end of 2010, the world's second longest only after the United States and slightly longer...

.

Constitution


The Constitution was first created on September 20, 1954. Before that, an interim Constitution-like document created by the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference [], shortened as 人民政协, Rénmín Zhèngxié, i.e. "People's PCC"; or just 政协, Zhèngxié, i.e. "The PCC"), abbreviated CPPCC, is a political advisory body in the People's Republic of China...

 was in force.

The 2nd and 3rd promulgations of the PRC Constitution took place against the backdrop of the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

. The 2nd promulgation in 1975 shortened the Constitution to just about 30 articles, and contained Communist slogans and revolutionary language throughout. The role of courts was slashed, and the Presidency was gone. The 3rd promulgation in 1978 expanded the number of articles, but was still under the influence of the just-gone-by Cultural Revolution.

The current Constitution is the PRC's 4th promulgation. On December 4, 1982, it was promulgated and has served as a stable Constitution for over 20 years. The role of the Presidency and the courts were normalized, and under the Constitution, all citizens were equal. Amendments were made in 1988, 1993, 1999, and most recently, in 2004, which recognized private property, safeguarded human rights, and further promoted the non-public sector of the economy.

National People's Congress



The National People's Congress is the highest state body and the only legislative house in the People's Republic of China. Although the membership of the NPC is still largely determined by the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

, since the early 1990s it has moved away from its previous role as a symbolic but powerless rubber-stamp legislature, and has become a forum for mediating policy differences between different parts of the Party and the government. For the NPC to formally defeat a proposal put before them is a rare, but not non-existent event, and the NPC has been quite active in being the forum in which legislation is debated before being put to a vote. 2011

President



The President
President of the People's Republic of China
The President of the People's Republic of China is a ceremonial office and a part of State organs under the National People's Congress and it is the head of state of the People's Republic of China . The office was created by the 1982 Constitution...

 (formerly, Chairman) and Vice President
Vice President of the People's Republic of China
The Vice President of the People's Republic of China , formerly called Vice Chairman of the People's Republic of China from 1954 to 1975, or abbreviated Guójiā Fù Zhǔxí 国家副主席, literally State Vice-chairman) is a senior position in the government of the People's Republic of China.-Selection and...

 are elected by the National People's Congress for five-year terms. The President is the head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

. The office was created by the 1982 Constitution. Formally, the President is elected by the National People's Congress in accordance with Article 62 of the Constitution. In practice, this election falls into the category of 'single-candidate' elections. The candidate is recommended by the Presidium of the National People's Congress. Currently the President of China is Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

 and the Vice President is Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping is a high ranking politician of the People's Republic of China. He currently serves as the top-ranking member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China, the country's Vice President, Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission, President of the Central Party School and the...

.

State Council



The State Council is the chief authority of the People's Republic of China. It is appointed by the National People's Congress and is chaired by the Premier
Premier of the People's Republic of China
The Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China , sometimes also referred to as the "Prime Minister" informally, is the Leader of the State Council of the People's Republic of China , who is the head of government and holds the highest-ranking of the Civil service of the...

 and includes the heads of each governmental department and agency. There are about 50 members in the Council. In the politics of the People's Republic of China, the Central People's Government
Central People's Government
The Central People's Government is the central government of the People's Republic of China in Beijing. According to the 1982 Constitution, "Central People's Government" is synonymous with the State Council.-History:...

 forms one of three interlocking branches of power, the others being the Communist Party of China and the People's Liberation Army. The State Council directly oversees the various subordinate People's Governments in the provinces, and in practice maintains an interlocking membership with the top levels of the Communist Party of China creating a fused center of power.

Currently the Premier of the State Council is Wen Jiabao
Wen Jiabao
Wen Jiabao is the sixth and current Premier and Party secretary of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, serving as China's head of government and leading its cabinet. In his capacity as Premier, Wen is regarded as the leading figure behind China's economic policy...

 and the Vice Premiers are Li Keqiang
Li Keqiang
Li Keqiang is the First-ranking Vice-Premier and deputy Party secretary of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, the seventh ranked member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the People's Republic of China's de facto highest decision-making body...

, Hui Liangyu, hang Dejiang]

Central Military Commission



The Central Military Commission exercises the command and control of the People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 and is supervised by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. The state CMC is nominally considered the supreme military policy-making body and its chairman, elected by the National People's Congress, is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. In reality, command and control of the PLA, however, still resides with the Central Military Commission of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee.
Currently the Chairman of the Central Military Commission is Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

 and the Vice Chairmen are Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping is a high ranking politician of the People's Republic of China. He currently serves as the top-ranking member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China, the country's Vice President, Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission, President of the Central Party School and the...

, Guo Boxiong
Guo Boxiong
Guo Boxiong , born July 1942 in Xianyang, Shaanxi province is the current Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, a position he was appointed during the 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China along with membership of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China.As one of...

 and Xu Caihou
Xu Caihou
Xu Caihou is one of three vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China along with Guo Boxiong. He succeeded Hu Jintao to the post on September 19, 2004 upon the latter's promotion to the chairmanship...

.

Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate



The Supreme People's Court is the highest court in the judicial system of the People's Republic of China. Hong Kong and Macau, as special administrative regions, have their own separate judicial systems based on British common law traditions and Portuguese civil-law traditions respectively, and are out of the jurisdiction of the Supreme People's Court. The judges of the Supreme People's Court are appointed by the National People's Congress.

Currently the President of Supreme People's Court and the Procurator-General of Supreme People's Procuratorate are Wang Shengjun
Wang Shengjun
Wang Shengjun became elected President of the Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China in March 2008.-Biography:He joined the Communist Party of China in 1972....

 and Cao Jianming
Cao Jianming
Cao Jianming is the Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate of the People's Republic of China.-Biography:He received his LL.B and LL.M degrees from East China University of Political Science and Law in 1983 and 1986....

 separately.

Provincial and local government



The governors of China's provinces and autonomous regions and mayors of its centrally controlled municipalities are appointed by the central government in Beijing after receiving the nominal consent of the National People's Congress
National People's Congress
The National People's Congress , abbreviated NPC , is the highest state body and the only legislative house in the People's Republic of China. The National People's Congress is held in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, capital of the People's Republic of China; with 2,987 members, it is the...

 (NPC). The Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 and Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

 special administrative regions (SARs) have some local autonomy since they have separate governments, legal systems, and basic constitutional laws, but they come under Beijing's control in matters of foreign affairs
Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs is an American magazine and website on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations six times annually...

 and national security
National security
National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

, and their chief executives are handpicked by the central government. Below the provincial level in 2004 there were 50 rural prefectures, 283 prefecture-level cities, 374 county-level cities, 852 county-level districts under the jurisdiction of nearby cities, and 1,636 counties. There also were 662 cities (including those incorporated into the four centrally controlled municipalities), 808 urban districts, and 43,258 township-level regions. Counties are divided into townships and villages. While most have appointed officials running them, some lower-level jurisdictions have direct popular elections. The organs of self-governing ethnic autonomous areas (regions, prefectures, and counties)—people's congresses and people's governments—exercise the same powers as their provincial-level counterparts but are guided additionally by the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy and require NPC Standing Committee approval for regulations they enact "in the exercise of autonomy" and "in light of the political, economic, and cultural characteristics of the ethnic group or ethnic groups in the areas."

See also

  • Politics of the People's Republic of China
    Politics of the People's Republic of China
    The politics of the People's Republic of China take place in a framework of a single-party socialist republic. The leadership of the Communist Party is stated in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China...

  • Chinese government
    Chinese government
    The phrase "Chinese government" may refer to:- Contemporary :* Government of the People's Republic of China * Government of the Republic of China - Historical :* Chinese dynasties* Beiyang Government...

  • Chinese Political Parties
    Chinese political parties
    The first major political party in China was the Kuomintang which moved to Taiwan in 1949. It was founded in Guangdong Province on August 25, 1912 from a union of several revolutionary groups. The Republic of China was founded by Kuomintang's leader Dr. Sun Yat-sen later that year...


External links