Communist Party of China

The Communist Party of China (CPC), also referred to as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party is the sole governing party within mainland China, permitting only eight other, subordinated parties to co-exist, those making up the United Front. It was founded in 1921, chiefly by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The party grew quickly, and by 1949 it had driven the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, leading to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It also controls the world's largest armed forces, the People's Liberation Army.

The CPC is officially organised on the basis of democratic centralism, a principle conceived by Russian Marxist theoretician Vladimir Lenin which entails democratic and open discussion on policy on the condition of unity in upholding the agreed upon policies. The highest body of the CPC is the National Congress, convened every fifth year. When the National Congress is not in session, the Central Committee is the highest body, but since the body meets normally only once a year most duties and responsibilities are vested in the Politburo and its Standing Committee. The party's leader holds the offices of General Secretary (responsible for civilian party duties), Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) (responsible for military affairs) and State President (a largely ceremonial position). Through these posts, the party leader is the country's paramount leader. The current paramount leader is Xi Jinping, elected at the 18th National Congress held in October 2012.

The CPC is committed to communism and continues to participate in the International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties each year. According to the party constitution, the CPC adheres to Marxism–Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, socialism with Chinese characteristics, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era. The official explanation for China's economic reforms is that the country is in the primary stage of socialism, a developmental stage similar to the capitalist mode of production. The command economy established under Mao Zedong was replaced by the socialist market economy, the current economic system, on the basis that "Practice is the Sole Criterion for the Truth".

Since the collapse of Eastern European communist governments in 1989–1990 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the CPC has emphasised its party-to-party relations with the ruling parties of the remaining socialist states. While the CPC still maintains party-to-party relations with non-ruling communist parties around the world, since the 1980s it has established relations with several non-communist parties, most notably with ruling parties of one-party states (whatever their ideology), dominant parties in democracies (whatever their ideology) and social democratic parties.

Communist Party of China

中国共产党
Zhōngguó Gòngchǎndǎng
General SecretaryXi Jinping
Standing Committee
Founded23 July 1921
HeadquartersZhongnanhai, Xicheng District, Beijing
NewspaperPeople's Daily
Research officeCentral Policy Research Office
Armed wingPeople's Liberation Army
People's Armed Police
China Militia
Membership (2017)89,450,000
IdeologyChinese communism[1][2]
Marxism–Leninism
Socialism with Chinese characteristics
Chinese unification
International affiliationInternational Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties
SloganServe the People[a]
Anthem
"The Internationale" (de facto)
National People's Congress (13th)
2,119 / 2,980 (71%)
NPC Standing Committee
121 / 175 (69%)
Party flag
Flag of the Chinese Communist Party
Website
cpc.people.com.cn
Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China (Chinese characters)
"Communist Party of China" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese中国共产党
Traditional Chinese中國共產黨
Hanyu PinyinZhōngguó Gòngchǎndǎng
Tibetan name
Tibetanཀྲུང་གོ་གུང་ཁྲན་ཏང
Zhuang name
ZhuangCunghgoz Gungcanjdangj
Mongolian name
Mongolian CyrillicДундад улсын(Хятадын) Эв хамт(Kоммунист) Hам
Mongolian scriptᠳᠤᠮᠳᠠᠳᠤ ᠤᠯᠤᠰ ᠤᠨ
(ᠬᠢᠲᠠᠳ ᠤᠨ)
ᠡᠪ ᠬᠠᠮᠲᠤ
(ᠺᠣᠮᠮᠤᠶᠢᠨᠢᠰᠲ)
ᠨᠠᠮ
Uyghur name
Uyghurجۇڭگو كوممۇنىستىك پارتىيىسى
Manchu name
Manchu scriptᡩᡠᠯᡳᠮᠪᠠᡳ ᡤᡠᡵᡠᠨ ‍‍ᡳ
(ᠵᡠᠨᡤᠣ ‍‍ᡳ)
ᡤᡠᠩᡮᠠᠨ
ᡥᠣᡴᡳ
RomanizationDulimbai gurun-i(Jungg'o-i) Gungcan Hoki

History

Founding and early history (1921–1927)

The CPC has its origins in the May Fourth Movement of 1919, during which radical Western ideologies like Marxism and anarchism gained traction among Chinese intellectuals.[3] Other influences stemming from the Bolshevik revolution and Marxist theory inspired the Communist Party of China.[4] Li Dazhao was the first leading Chinese intellectual who publicly supported Leninism and world revolution.[5] In contrast to Chen Duxiu, Li did not renounce participation in the affairs of the Republic of China.[6] Both of them regarded the October Revolution in Russia as groundbreaking, believing it to herald a new era for oppressed countries everywhere.[6] The CPC was modeled on Vladimir Lenin's theory of a vanguard party.[7] Study circles were, according to Cai Hesen, "the rudiments [of our party]".[8] Several study circles were established during the New Culture Movement, but "by 1920 skepticism about their suitability as vehicles for reform had become widespread."[9]

The founding National Congress of the CPC was held on 23–31 July 1921.[10] With only 50 members in the beginning of 1921, the CPC organization and authorities grew tremendously.[11] While it was originally held in a house in the Shanghai French Concession, French police interrupted the meeting on 30 July[12] and the congress was moved to a tourist boat on South Lake in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province.[12] Only 12 delegates attended the congress, with neither Li nor Chen being able to attend,[12] the latter sending a personal representative in his stead.[12] The resolutions of the congress called for the establishment of a communist party (as a branch of the Communist International) and elected Chen as its leader.[12]

The communists dominated the left wing of the KMT, a party organized on Leninist lines, struggling for power with the party's right wing.[13] When KMT leader Sun Yat-sen died in March 1925, he was succeeded by a rightist, Chiang Kai-shek, who initiated moves to marginalize the position of the communists.[13] Fresh from the success of the Northern Expedition to overthrow the warlords, Chiang Kai-shek turned on the communists, who by now numbered in the tens of thousands across China.[14] Ignoring the orders of the Wuhan-based KMT government, he marched on Shanghai, a city controlled by communist militias. Although the communists welcomed Chiang's arrival, he turned on them, massacring 5000 with the aid of the Green Gang.[14][15][16] Chiang's army then marched on Wuhan, but was prevented from taking the city by CPC General Ye Ting and his troops.[17] Chiang's allies also attacked communists; in Beijing, 19 leading communists were killed by Zhang Zuolin, while in Changsha, He Jian's forces machine gunned hundreds of peasant militiamen.[18][19] That May, tens of thousands of communists and their sympathizers were killed by nationalists, with the CPC losing approximately 15,000 of its 25,000 members.[19]

The CPC continued supporting the Wuhan KMT government,[19] but on 15 July 1927 the Wuhan government expelled all communists from the KMT.[20] The CPC reacted by founding the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army of China, better known as the "Red Army", to battle the KMT. A battalion led by General Zhu De was ordered to take the city of Nanchang on 1 August 1927 in what became known as the Nanchang uprising; initially successful, they were forced into retreat after five days, marching south to Shantou, and from there being driven into the wilderness of Fujian.[20] Mao Zedong was appointed commander-in-chief of the Red Army, and led four regiments against Changsha in the Autumn Harvest Uprising, hoping to spark peasant uprisings across Hunan.[21] His plan was to attack the KMT-held city from three directions on 9 September, but the Fourth Regiment deserted to the KMT cause, attacking the Third Regiment. Mao's army made it to Changsha, but could not take it; by 15 September, he accepted defeat, with 1,000 survivors marching east to the Jinggang Mountains of Jiangxi.[21][22][23]

Chinese Civil War and World War II (1927–1949)

The near-destruction of the CPC's urban organizational apparatus led to institutional changes within the party.[24] The party adopted democratic centralism, a way to organize revolutionary parties, and established a Politburo (to function as the standing committee of the Central Committee).[24] The result was increased centralization of power within the party .[24] At every level of the party this was duplicated, with standing committees now in effective control.[24] After Chen Duxiu's dismissal, Li Lisan was able to assume de facto control of the party organization by 1929–30.[24] Li Lisan's leadership was a failure, leaving the CPC on the brink of destruction.[24] The Comintern became involved, and by late 1930, his powers had been taken away.[24] By 1935 Mao had become the party's informal leader, with Zhou Enlai and Zhang Wentian, the formal head of the party, serving as his informal deputies.[24] The conflict with the KMT led to the reorganization of the Red Army, with power now centralized in the leadership through the creation of CPC political departments charged with supervising the army.[24]

The Second Sino-Japanese War caused a pause in the conflict between the CPC and the KMT.[25] The Second United Front was established between the CPC and the KMT to tackle the invasion.[26] While the front formally existed until 1945, all collaboration between the two parties had ended by 1940.[26] Despite their formal alliance, the CPC used the opportunity to expand and carve out independent bases of operations to prepare for the coming war with the KMT.[27] In 1939 the KMT began to restrict CPC expansion within China.[27] This led to frequent clashes between CPC and KMT forces[27] but which subsided rapidly on the realisation on both sides that civil war was not an option.[27] Yet, by 1943, the CPC was again actively expanding its territory at the expense of the KMT.[27]

Mao proclaiming the establishment of the PRC in 1949
Mao Zedong declared the establishment of the People's Republic of China on 1 October 1949

From 1945 until 1949, the war had been reduced to two parties; the CPC and the KMT.[28] This period lasted through four stages; the first was from August 1945 (when the Japanese surrendered) to June 1946 (when the peace talks between the CPC and the KMT ended).[28] By 1945, the KMT had three-times more soldiers under its command than the CPC and initially appeared to be prevailing.[28] With the cooperation of the Americans and the Japanese, the KMT was able to retake major parts of the country.[28] However, KMT rule over the reconquered territories would prove unpopular because of endemic party corruption.[28] Notwithstanding its huge numerical superiority, the KMT failed to reconquer the rural territories which made up the CPC's stronghold.[28] Around the same time, the CPC launched an invasion of Manchuria, where they were assisted by the Soviet Union.[28] The second stage, lasting from July 1946 to June 1947, saw the KMT extend its control over major cities, such as Yan'an (the CPC headquarters for much of the war).[28] The KMT's successes were hollow; the CPC had tactically withdrawn from the cities, and instead attacked KMT authorities by instigating protests amongst students and intellectuals in the cities (the KMT responded to these events with heavy-handed repression).[29] In the meantime, the KMT was struggling with factional infighting and Chiang Kai-shek's autocratic control over the party, which weakened the KMT's ability to respond to attacks.[29] The third stage, lasting from July 1947 to August 1948, saw a limited counteroffensive by the CPC.[29] The objective was clearing "Central China, strengthening North China, and recovering Northeast China."[30] This policy, coupled with desertions from the KMT military force (by the spring of 1948, the KMT military had lost an estimated 2 of its 3 million troops) and declining popularity of KMT rule.[29] The result was that the CPC was able to cut off KMT garrisons in Manchuria and retake several lost territories.[30] The last stage, lasting from September 1948 to December 1949, saw the communists take the initiative and the collapse of KMT rule in mainland China as a whole.[30] On 1 October 1949, Mao declared the establishment of the PRC, which signified the end of the Chinese Revolution (as it is officially described by the CPC).[30]

Single ruling party (1949–present)

Flag of the Chinese Communist Party (Pre-1996)
Flag of the Communist Party of China from 17 June 1951 to 21 July 1996.

On 1 October 1949, Mao Zedong announced the 21 September 1949 establishment of the PRC before a massive crowd at Beijing Square. By the end of the year, the CPC became the major ruling party in China.[31] During the 1960s and 1970s, the CPC experienced a significant ideological separation from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[32] By that time, Mao had begun saying that the "continued revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat" stipulated that class enemies continued to exist even though the socialist revolution seemed to be complete, leading to the Cultural Revolution in which millions were persecuted and killed.[33]

Stalin birthday2
Chinese communists celebrate Joseph Stalin's birthday, 1949

Following Mao's death in 1976, a power struggle between CPC general secretary Hua Guofeng and Deng Xiaoping erupted.[34] Deng won the struggle, and became the "paramount leader".[34] Deng, alongside Chen Yun and Li Xiannian, spearheaded the Reform and opening policy, and introduced the ideological concept of socialism with Chinese characteristics, opening China to the world's markets.[35] In reversing some of Mao's "leftist" policies, Deng argued that a socialist state could use the market economy without itself being capitalist.[36] While asserting the political power of the Party, the change in policy generated significant economic growth.[3] The new ideology, however, was contested on both sides of the spectrum, by Maoists as well as by those supporting political liberalization. With other social factors, the conflicts culminated in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.[37] The protests having been crushed, Deng's vision on economics prevailed, and by the early 1990s the concept of a socialist market economy had been introduced.[38] In 1997, Deng's beliefs (Deng Xiaoping Theory), were embedded in the CPC constitution.[39]

CPC general secretary Jiang Zemin succeeded Deng as "paramount leader" in the 1990s, and continued most of his policies.[40] As part of Jiang Zemin's nominal legacy, the CPC ratified the Three Represents for the 2003 revision of the party's constitution, as a "guiding ideology" to encourage the party to represent "advanced productive forces, the progressive course of China's culture, and the fundamental interests of the people."[41] The theory legitimized the entry of private business owners and bourgeois elements into the party.[41][42] Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin's successor as paramount leader, took office in 2002.[43] Unlike Mao, Deng and Jiang Zemin, Hu laid emphasis on collective leadership and opposed one-man dominance of the political system.[43] The insistence on focusing on economic growth led to a wide range of serious social problems. To address these, Hu introduced two main ideological concepts: the Scientific Outlook on Development and Harmonious Socialist Society.[44] Hu resigned from his post as CPC general secretary and Chairman of the CMC at the 18th National Congress held in 2012, and was succeeded in both posts by Xi Jinping.[45] Since taking power Xi has initiated the most concerted anti-corruption effort in decades, while centralizing powers in the office of CPC General Secretary at the expense of the collective leadership; because of that, foreign commentators have likened him to Mao.[46]

Governance

Collective leadership

Collective leadership, the idea that decisions will be taken through consensus, is the ideal in the CPC.[47] The concept has its origins back to Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Bolshevik Party.[48] At the level of the central party leadership this means that, for instance, all members of the Politburo Standing Committee are of equal standing (each member having only one vote).[47] A member of the Politburo Standing Committee often represents a sector; during Mao's reign, he controlled the People's Liberation Army, Kang Sheng, the security apparatus, and Zhou Enlai, the State Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[47] This counts as informal power.[47] Despite this, in a paradoxical relation, members of a body are ranked hierarchically (despite the fact that members are in theory equal to each others).[47] In spite of this, the CPC is led by an informal leader principle, each collective leadership is led by a core, that is a paramount leader; a person who holds the offices of CPC general secretary, CMC chairman and President of the PRC.[49] Before Jiang Zemin's tenure as paramount leader, the party core and collective leadership were indistinguishable.[50] In practice, the core was not responsible to the collective leadership.[50] However, by the time of Jiang, the party had begun propagating a responsibility system, referring to it in official pronouncements as the "core of the collective leadership".[50]

Democratic centralism

The CPC's organizational principle is democratic centralism, which is based on two principles: democracy (synonymous in official discourse with "socialist democracy" and "inner-party democracy") and centralism.[51] This has been the guiding organizational principle of the party since the 5th National Congress, held in 1927.[51] In the words of the party constitution, "The Party is an integral body organized under its program and constitution and on the basis of democratic centralism".[51] Mao once quipped that democratic centralism was "at once democratic and centralized, with the two seeming opposites of democracy and centralization united in a definite form." Mao claimed that the superiority of democratic centralism lay in its internal contradictions, between democracy and centralism, and freedom and discipline.[51] Currently, the CPC is claiming that "democracy is the lifeline of the Party, the lifeline of socialism".[51] But for democracy to be implemented, and functioning properly, there needs to be centralization.[51] The goal of democratic centralism was not to obliterate capitalism or its policies but instead it is the movement towards regulating capitalism while involving socialism and democracy.[52] Democracy in any form, the CPC claims, needs centralism, since without centralism there will be no order.[51] According to Mao, democratic centralism "is centralized on the basis of democracy and democratic under centralized guidance. This is the only system that can give full expression to democracy with full powers vested in the people's congresses at all levels and, at the same time, guarantee centralized administration with the governments at each level exercising centralized management of all the affairs entrusted to them by the people's congresses at the corresponding level and safeguarding whatever is essential to the democratic life of the people".[51]

Multi-party Cooperation System

The Multi-party Cooperation and Political Consultation System is led by the CPC in cooperation and consultation with the eight parties which make up the United Front.[53] Consultation takes place under the leadership of the CPC, with mass organizations, the United Front parties, and "representatives from all walks of life".[53] These consultations contribute, at least in theory, to the formation of the country's basic policy in the fields of political, economic, cultural and social affairs.[53] The CPC's relationship with other parties is based on the principle of "long-term coexistence and mutual supervision, treating each other with full sincerity and sharing weal or woe."[53] This process is institutionalized in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).[53] All the parties in the United Front support China's road to socialism, and hold steadfast to the leadership of the CPC.[53] Despite all this, the CPPCC is a body without any real power.[54] While discussions do take place, they are all supervised by the CPC.[54]

Organization

Central organization

18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
The 18th National Congress, convened in November 2012

The National Congress is the party's highest body, and, since the 9th National Congress in 1969, has been convened every five years (prior to the 9th Congress they were convened on an irregular basis). According to the party's constitution, a congress may not be postponed except "under extraordinary circumstances."[55] The party constitution gives the National Congress six responsibilities:[56]

  1. electing the Central Committee;[56]
  2. electing the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI);[56]
  3. examining the report of the outgoing Central Committee;[56]
  4. examining the report of the outgoing CCDI;[56]
  5. discussing and enacting party policies; and:[56]
  6. revising the party's constitution.[56]

In practice, the delegates rarely discuss issues at length at the National Congresses. Most substantive discussion takes place before the congress, in the preparation period, among a group of top party leaders.[56] In between National Congresses, the Central Committee is the highest decision-making institution.[57] The CCDI is responsible for supervising party's internal anti-corruption and ethics system.[58] In between congresses the CCDI is under the authority of the Central Committee.[58]

The Central Committee, as the party's highest decision-making institution between national congresses, elects several bodies to carry out its work.[59] The 1st Plenary Session of a newly elected central committee elects the General Secretary of the Central Committee, the party's titular leader, the Central Military Commission (CMC), the Politburo, the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), and since 2013, the Central National Security Commission (CNSC). The first plenum also endorses the composition of the Secretariat and the leadership of the CCDI.[59] According to the party constitution, the general secretary must be a member of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), and is responsible for convening meetings of the PSC and the Politburo, while also presiding over the work of the Secretariat.[60] The Politburo "exercises the functions and powers of the Central Committee when a plenum is not in session".[61] The PSC is the party's highest decision-making institution when the Politburo, the Central Committee and the National Congress are not in session.[62] It convenes at least once a week.[63] It was established at the 8th National Congress, in 1958, to take over the policy-making role formerly assumed by the Secretariat.[64] The Secretariat is the top implementation body of the Central Committee, and can make decisions within the policy framework established by the Politburo; it is also responsible for supervising the work of organizations that report directly into the Central Committee, for example departments, commissions, publications, and so on.[65] The CMC is the highest decision-making institution on military affairs within the party, and controls the operations of the People's Liberation Army.[66] The general secretary has, since Jiang Zemin, also served as Chairman of the CMC.[66] Unlike the collective leadership ideal of other party organs, the CMC chairman acts as commander-in-chief with full authority to appoint or dismiss top military officers at will.[66] The CNSC "co-ordinates security strategies across various departments, including intelligence, the military, foreign affairs and the police in order to cope with growing challenges to stability at home and abroad."[67] The general secretary serves as the Chairman of the CNSC.[68]

A first plenum of the Central Committee also elects heads of departments, bureaus, central leading groups and other institutions to pursue its work during a term (a "term" being the period elapsing between national congresses, usually five years).[55] The General Office is the party's "nerve centre", in charge of day-to-day administrative work, including communications, protocol, and setting agendas for meetings.[69] The CPC currently has four main central departments: the Organization Department, responsible for overseeing provincial appointments and vetting cadres for future appointments,[70] the Publicity Department (formerly "Propaganda Department"), which oversees the media and formulates the party line to the media,[71][72] the International Department, functioning as the party's "foreign affairs ministry" with other parties,[73] and the United Front Work Department, which oversees work with the country's non-communist parties and other mass organizations.[71] The CC also has direct control over the Central Policy Research Office, which is responsible for researching issues of significant interest to the party leadership,[74] the Central Party School, which provides political training and ideological indoctrination in communist thought for high-ranking and rising cadres,[75] the Party History Research Centre, which sets priorities for scholarly research in state-run universities and the Central Party School,[76] and the Compilation and Translation Bureau, which studies and translates the classical works of Marxism.[77] The party's newspaper, the People's Daily, is under the direct control of the Central Committee[78] and is published with the objectives “to tell good stories about China and the (Party)" and to promote its party leader.[79] The theoretical magazines Seeking Truth from Facts and Study Times are published by the Central Party School.[75] The various offices of the "Central Leading Groups", such as the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, the Taiwan Affairs Office, and the Central Finance Office, also report to the central committee during a plenary session.[80]

Lower-level organizations

Party committees exist at the level of provinces; autonomous regions; municipalities directly under the central government; cities divided into districts; autonomous prefectures; counties (including banners); autonomous counties; cities not divided into districts; and municipal districts.[81] These committees are elected by party congresses (at their own level).[81] Local party congresses are supposed to be held every fifth year, but under extraordinary circumstances they may be held earlier or postponed. However that decision must be approved by the next higher level of the local party committee.[81] The number of delegates and the procedures for their election are decided by the local party committee, but must also have the approval of the next higher party committee.[81]

A local party congress has many of the same duties as the National Congress, and it is responsible for examining the report of the local Party Committee at the corresponding level; examining the report of the local Commission for Discipline Inspection at the corresponding level; discussing and adopting resolutions on major issues in the given area; and electing the local Party Committee and the local Commission for Discipline Inspection at the corresponding level.[81] Party committees of "a province, autonomous region, municipality directly under the central government, city divided into districts, or autonomous prefecture [are] elected for a term of five years", and include full and alternate members.[81] The party committees "of a county (banner), autonomous county, city not divided into districts, or municipal district [are] elected for a term of five years", but full and alternate members "must have a Party standing of three years or more."[81] If a local Party Congress is held before or after the given date, the term of the members of the Party Committee shall be correspondingly shortened or lengthened.[81]

Vacancies in a Party Committee shall be filled by an alternate members according to the order of precedence, which is decided by the number of votes an alternate member got during his or hers election.[81] A Party Committee must convene for at least two plenary meetings a year.[81] During its tenure, a Party Committee shall "carry out the directives of the next higher Party organizations and the resolutions of the Party congresses at the corresponding levels."[81] The local Standing Committee (analogous to the Central Politburo) is elected at the first plenum of the corresponding Party Committee after the local party congress.[81] A Standing Committee is responsible to the Party Committee at the corresponding level and the Party Committee at the next higher level.[81] A Standing Committee exercises the duties and responsibilities of the corresponding Party Committee when it is not in session.[81]

Members

To join the party, an applicant must be approved by the communist party. In 2014, only 2 million applications were accepted out of some 22 million applicants. [83] Admitted members then spend a year as a probationary member.[82]

In contrast to the past, when emphasis was placed on the applicants' ideological criteria, the current CPC stresses technical and educational qualifications.[82] To become a probationary member, the applicant must take an admission oath before the party flag.[82] The relevant CPC organization is responsible for observing and educating probationary members.[82] Probationary members have duties similar to those of full members, with the exception that they may not vote in party elections nor stand for election.[82] Many join the CPC through the Communist Youth League.[82] Under Jiang Zemin, private entrepreneurs were allowed to become party members.[82] According to the CPC constitution, a member, in short, must follow orders, be disciplined, uphold unity, serve the Party and the people, and promote the socialist way of life.[81] Members enjoy the privilege of attending Party meetings, reading relevant Party documents, receiving Party education, participating in Party discussions through the Party's newspapers and journals, making suggestions and proposal, making "well-grounded criticism of any Party organization or member at Party meetings" (even of the central party leadership), voting and standing for election, and of opposing and criticizing Party resolutions ("provided that they resolutely carry out the resolution or policy while it is in force"); and they have the ability "to put forward any request, appeal, or complaint to higher Party organizations, even up to the Central Committee, and ask the organizations concerned for a responsible reply."[81] No party organization, including the CPC central leadership, can deprive a member of these rights.[81]

As of 30 June 2016, individuals who identify as farmers, herdsmen and fishermen make up 26 million members; members identifying as workers totalled 7.2 million.[84] Another group, the "Managing, professional and technical staff in enterprises and public institutions", made up 12.5 million, 9 million identified as working in administrative staff and 7.4 million described themselves as party cadres.[84] 22.3 million women are CPC members.[84] The CPC currently has 89.45 million members,[85] making it the second largest political party in the world after India's Bharatiya Janata Party.[86]

Communist Youth League

The Communist Youth League (CYL) is the CPC's youth wing, and the largest mass organization for youth in China.[87] According to the CPC's constitution the CYL is a "mass organization of advanced young people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China; it functions as a party school where a large number of young people learn about socialism with Chinese characteristics and about communism through practice; it is the Party's assistant and reserve force."[81] To join, an applicant has to be between the ages of 14 and 28.[87] It controls and supervises Young Pioneers, a youth organization for children below the age of 14.[87] The organizational structure of CYL is an exact copy of the CPC's; the highest body is the National Congress, followed by the Central Committee, Politburo and the Politburo Standing Committee.[88] However, the Central Committee (and all central organs) of the CYL work under the guidance of the CPC central leadership.[81] Therefore, in a peculiar situation, CYL bodies are both responsible to higher bodies within CYL and the CPC, a distinct organization.[81] As of the 17th National Congress (held in 2013), CYL had 89 million members.[89]

Symbols

HammerSickle Tiananmen
A temporary monument in Tiananmen Square marking the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China in 2011

According to the Article 53 of the CPC constitution, "the Party emblem and flag are the symbol and sign of the Communist Party of China."[81] At the beginning of its history, the CPC did not have a single official standard for the flag, but instead allowed individual party committees to copy the flag of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[90] On 28 April 1942, the Central Politburo decreed the establishment of a sole official flag. "The flag of the CPC has the length-to-width proportion of 3:2 with a hammer and sickle in the upper-left corner, and with no five-pointed star. The Political Bureau authorizes the General Office to custom-make a number of standard flags and distribute them to all major organs".[90] According to People's Daily, "The standard party flag is 120 centimeters (cm) in length and 80 cm in width. In the center of the upper-left corner (a quarter of the length and width to the border) is a yellow hammer-and-sickle 30 cm in diameter. The flag sleeve (pole hem) is in white and 6.5 cm in width. The dimension of the pole hem is not included in the measure of the flag. The red color symbolizes revolution; the hammer-and-sickle are tools of workers and peasants, meaning that the Communist Party of China represents the interests of the masses and the people; the yellow color signifies brightness."[90] In total the flag has five dimensions, the sizes are "no. 1: 388 cm in length and 192 cm in width; no. 2: 240 cm in length and 160 cm in width; no. 3: 192 cm in length and 128 cm in width; no. 4: 144 cm in length and 96 cm in width; no. 5: 96 cm in length and 64 cm in width."[90] On 21 September 1966, the CPC General Office issued "Regulations on the Production and Use of the CPC Flag and Emblem", which stated that the emblem and flag were the official symbols and signs of the party.[90]

Ideology

It has been argued in recent years, mainly by foreign commentators, that the CPC does not have an ideology, and that the party organization is pragmatic and interested only in what works.[92] The party itself, however, argues otherwise. For instance, Hu Jintao stated in 2012 that the Western world is "threatening to divide us" and that "the international culture of the West is strong while we are weak ... Ideological and cultural fields are our main targets".[92] The CPC puts a great deal of effort into the party schools and into crafting its ideological message.[92] Before the "Practice Is the Sole Criterion for the Truth" campaign, the relationship between ideology and decision-making was a deductive one, meaning that policy-making was derived from ideological knowledge.[93] Under Deng this relationship was turned upside down, with decision-making justifying ideology and not the other way around.[93] Lastly, Chinese policy-makers believe that the Soviet Union's state ideology was "rigid, unimaginative, ossified, and disconnected from reality" and that this was one of the reasons for the dissolution of the Soviet Union. They therefore believe that their party ideology must be dynamic to safeguard the party's rule.[93]

Formal ideology

Marx et Engels à Shanghai
A monument dedicated to Karl Marx (left) and Friedrich Engels (right) in Shanghai

Marxism–Leninism was the first official ideology of the Communist Party of China.[94] According to the CCP, "Marxism–Leninism reveals the universal laws governing the development of history of human society."[94] To the CCP, Marxism–Leninism provides a "vision of the contradictions in capitalist society and of the inevitability of a future socialist and communist societies".[94] According to the People's Daily, Mao Zedong Thought "is Marxism–Leninism applied and developed in China".[94] Mao Zedong Thought was conceived not only by Mao Zedong, but by leading party officials.[95]

While non-Chinese analysts generally agree that the CCP has rejected orthodox Marxism–Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought (or at least basic thoughts within orthodox thinking), the CCP itself disagrees.[97] Certain groups argue that Jiang Zemin ended the CCP's formal commitment to Marxism with the introduction of the ideological theory, the Three Represents.[98] However, party theorist Leng Rong disagrees, claiming that "President Jiang rid the Party of the ideological obstacles to different kinds of ownership [...] He did not give up Marxism or socialism. He strengthened the Party by providing a modern understanding of Marxism and socialism—which is why we talk about a 'socialist market economy' with Chinese characteristics."[98] The attainment of true "communism" is still described as the CCP's and China's "ultimate goal".[99] While the CCP claims that China is in the primary stage of socialism, party theorists argue that the current development stage "looks a lot like capitalism".[99] Alternatively, certain party theorists argue that "capitalism is the early or first stage of communism."[99] Some have dismissed the concept of a primary stage of socialism as intellectual cynicism.[99] According to Robert Lawrence Kuhn, a China analyst, "When I first heard this rationale, I thought it more comic than clever—a wry caricature of hack propagandists leaked by intellectual cynics. But the 100-year horizon comes from serious political theorists".[99]

Deng Xiaoping Theory was added to the party constitution at the 14th National Congress.[39] The concepts of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" and "the primary stage of socialism" were credited to the theory.[39] Deng Xiaoping Theory can be defined as a belief that state socialism and state planning is not by definition communist, and that market mechanisms are class neutral.[100] In addition, the party needs to react to the changing situation dynamically; to know if a certain policy is obsolete or not, the party had to "seek truth from facts" and follow the slogan "practice is the sole criterion for the truth".[101] At the 14th National Congress, Jiang reiterated Deng's mantra that it was unnecessary to ask if something was socialist or capitalist, since the important factor was whether it worked.[102]

The "Three Represents", literally a Marxism adapted to Chinese conditions, was adopted by the party at the 16th National Congress.[104] Certain segments within the CCP criticized the Three Represents as being un-Marxist and a betrayal of basic Marxist values, supporters viewed it as a further development of socialism with Chinese characteristics.[105] Jiang disagreed, and had concluded that attaining the communist mode of production, as formulated by earlier communists, was more complex than had been realized, and that it was useless to try to force a change in the mode of production, as it had to develop naturally, by following the economic laws of history.[106] The theory is most notable for allowing capitalists, officially referred to as the "new social strata", to join the party on the grounds that they engaged in "honest labor and work" and through their labour contributed "to build[ing] socialism with Chinese characteristics."[107] The 3rd Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee conceived and formulated the ideology of the Scientific Outlook on Development.[108] It is considered to be Hu Jintao's contribution to the official ideological discourse.[109] To apply the Scientific Outlook on Development to Chinese conditions, the CCP must adhere to building a Harmonious Socialist Society.[110]

Economics

Deng did not believe that the fundamental difference between the capitalist mode of production and the socialist mode of production was central planning versus free markets. He said, "A planned economy is not the definition of socialism, because there is planning under capitalism; the market economy happens under socialism, too. Planning and market forces are both ways of controlling economic activity".[36] Jiang Zemin supported Deng's thinking, and stated in a party gathering that it did not matter if a certain mechanism was capitalist or socialist, because the only thing that mattered was whether it worked.[38] It was at this gathering that Jiang Zemin introduced the term socialist market economy, which replaced Chen Yun's "planned socialist market economy".[38] In his report to the 14th National Congress Jiang Zemin told the delegates that the socialist state would "let market forces play a basic role in resource allocation."[111] At the 15th National Congress, the party line was changed to "make market forces further play their role in resource allocation"; this line continued until the 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee,[111] when it was amended to "let market forces play a decisive role in resource allocation."[111] Despite this, the 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee upheld the creed "Maintain the dominance of the public sector and strengthen the economic vitality of the State-owned economy."[111]

The CCP views the world as organized into two opposing camps; socialist and capitalist.[113] They insist that socialism, on the basis of historical materialism, will eventually triumph over capitalism.[113] In recent years, when the party has been asked to explain the capitalist globalization occurring, the party has returned to the writings of Karl Marx.[113] Despite admitting that globalization developed through the capitalist system, the party's leaders and theorist argue that globalization is not intrinsically capitalist.[114] The reason being that if globalization was purely capitalist, it would exclude an alternative socialist form of modernity.[114] Globalization, as with the market economy, therefore does not have one specific class character (neither socialist nor capitalist) according to the party.[114] The insistence that globalization is not fixed in nature comes from Deng's insistence that China can pursue socialist modernization by incorporating elements of capitalism.[114] Because of this there is considerable optimism within the CCP that despite the current capitalist dominance of globalization, globalization can be turned into a vehicle supporting socialism.[115]

Party-to-party relations

Communist parties

The CPC continues to have relations with non-ruling communist and workers' parties and attends international communist conferences, most notably the International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties.[116] Delegates of foreign communist parties still visit China; in 2013, for instance, the General Secretary of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), Jeronimo de Sousa, personally met with Liu Qibao, a member of the Central Politburo.[117] In another instance, Pierre Laurent, the National Secretary of the French Communist Party (FCP), met with Liu Yunshan, a Politburo Standing Committee member.[118] In 2014 Xi Jinping, the CPC general secretary, personally met with Gennady Zyuganov, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), to discuss party-to-party relations.[119] While the CPC retains contact with major parties such as the PCP,[117] FCP,[118] the CPRF,[120] the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia,[121] the Communist Party of Brazil,[122] the Communist Party of Nepal[123] and the Communist Party of Spain,[124] the party retains relations with minor communist and workers' parties, such as the Communist Party of Australia,[125] the Workers Party of Bangladesh, the Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist–Leninist) (Barua), the Communist Party of Sri Lanka, the Workers' Party of Belgium, the Hungarian Workers' Party, the Dominican Workers' Party and the Party for the Transformation of Honduras, for instance.[126] In recent years, noting the self-reform of the European social democratic movement in the 1980s and 1990s, the CPC "has noted the increased marginalization of West European communist parties."[127]

Ruling parties of socialist states

The CPC has retained close relations with the remaining socialist states still espousing communism: Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam and their respective ruling parties as well as North Korea and its ruling party, which officially abandoned communism in 2009.[128] It spends a fair amount of time analyzing the situation in the remaining socialist states, trying to reach conclusions as to why these states survived when so many did not, following the collapse of the Eastern European socialist states in 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.[129] In general, the analyses of the remaining socialist states and their chances of survival have been positive, and the CPC believes that the socialist movement will be revitalized sometime in the future.[129]

The ruling party which the CPC is most interested in is the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).[130] In general the CPV is considered a model example of socialist development in the post-Soviet era.[130] Chinese analysts on Vietnam believe that the introduction of the Doi Moi reform policy at the 6th CPV National Congress is the key reason for Vietnam's current success.[130]

While the CPC is probably the organization with most access to North Korea, writing about North Korea is tightly circumscribed.[129] The few reports accessible to the general public are those about North Korean economic reforms.[129] While Chinese analysts of North Korea tend to speak positively of North Korea in public, in official discussions they show much disdain for North Korea's economic system, the cult of personality which pervades society, the Kim family, the idea of hereditary succession in a socialist state, the security state, the use of scarce resources on the Korean People's Army and the general impoverishment of the North Korean people.[131] There are those analysts who compare the current situation of North Korea with that of China during the Cultural Revolution.[132] Over the years, the CPC has tried to persuade the Workers' Party of Korea (or WPK, North Korea's ruling party) to introduce economic reforms by showing them key economic infrastructure in China.[132] For instance, in 2006 the CPC invited the WPK general secretary Kim Jong-il to Guandong province to showcase the success economic reforms have brought China.[132] In general, the CPC considers the WPK and North Korea to be negative examples of a communist ruling party and socialist state.[132]

There is a considerable degree of interest in Cuba within the CPC.[130] Fidel Castro, the former First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), is greatly admired, and books have been written focusing on the successes of the Cuban Revolution.[130] Communication between the CPC and the PCC has increased considerably since the 1990s, hardly a month going by without a diplomatic exchange.[133] At the 4th Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee, which discussed the possibility of the CPC learning from other ruling parties, praise was heaped on the PCC.[133] When Wu Guanzheng, a Central Politburo member, met with Fidel Castro in 2007, he gave him a personal letter written by Hu Jintao: "Facts have shown that China and Cuba are trustworthy good friends, good comrades, and good brothers who treat each other with sincerity. The two countries' friendship has withstood the test of a changeable international situation, and the friendship has been further strengthened and consolidated."[134]

Non-communist parties

Since the decline and fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the CPC has begun establishing party-to-party relations with non-communist parties.[73] These relations are sought so that the CPC can learn from them.[135] For instance, the CPC has been eager to understand how the People's Action Party of Singapore (PAP) maintains its total domination over Singaporean politics through its "low-key presence, but total control."[136] According to the CPC's own analysis of Singapore, the PAP's dominance can be explained by its "well-developed social network, which controls constituencies effectively by extending its tentacles deeply into society through branches of government and party-controlled groups."[136] While the CPC accepts that Singapore is a liberal democracy, they view it as a guided democracy led by the PAP.[136] Other differences are, according to the CPC, "that it is not a political party based on the working class—instead it is a political party of the elite ... It is also a political party of the parliamentary system, not a revolutionary party."[137] Other parties which the CPC studies and maintains strong party-to-party relations with are the United Malays National Organisation, which has ruled Malaysia democratically since 1957, and the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, which dominated Japanese politics for over five uninterrupted decades.[138]

The CPC has, since Jiang Zemin's time, made friendly overtures to its erstwhile foe, the Kuomintang. The CPC emphasizes strong party-to-party relations with the KMT so as to strengthen the probability of the reunification of Taiwan with mainland China.[139] However, several studies have been written on the KMT's loss of power in 2000, after having ruled Taiwan since 1949 (the KMT officially ruled mainland China from 1928 to 1949).[139] In general, one-party states or dominant-party states are of special interest to the party, and party-to-party relations are formed so that the CPC can study them.[139] For instance, the longevity of the Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party is attributed to the personalization of power in the al-Assad family, the strong presidential system, the inheritance of power, which passed from Hafez al-Assad to his son Bashar al-Assad, and the role given to the Syrian military in politics.[140]

Cena de Estado que en honor del Excmo. Sr. Xi Jinping, Presidente de la República Popular China, y de su esposa, Sra. Peng Liyuan (8959188037)
Xi Jinping (second from left) with Enrique Peña Nieto (second from right), the former President of Mexico and a leading member of the social democratic Institutional Revolutionary Party

In recent years, the CPC has been especially interested in Latin America,[140] as shown by the increasing number of delegates sent to and received from these countries.[140] Of special fascination for the CPC is the 71-year-long rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico.[140] While the CPC attributed the PRI's long reign in power to the strong presidential system, tapping into the machismo culture of the country, its nationalist posture, its close identification with the rural populace and the implementation of nationalization alongside the marketization of the economy, [140] the CPC concluded that the PRI failed because of the lack of inner-party democracy, its pursuit of social democracy, its rigid party structures that could not be reformed, its political corruption, the pressure of globalization, and American interference in Mexican politics.[140] While the CPC was slow to recognize the pink tide in Latin America, it has strengthened party-to-party relations with several socialist and anti-American political parties over the years.[141] The CPC has occasionally expressed some irritation over Hugo Chávez's anti-capitalist and anti-American rhetoric.[141] Despite this, in 2013 the CPC reached an agreement with the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which was founded by Chávez, for the CPC to educate PSUV cadres in political and social fields.[142] By 2008, the CPC claimed to have established relations with 99 political parties in 29 Latin American countries.[141]

Social democratic movements in Europe have been of great interest to the CPC since the early 1980s.[141] With the exception of a short period in which the CPC forged party-to-party relations with far-right parties during the 1970s in an effort to halt "Soviet expansionism", the CPC's relations with European social democratic parties were its first serious efforts to establish cordial party-to-party relations with non-communist parties.[141] The CPC credits the European social democrats with creating a "capitalism with a human face".[141] Before the 1980s, the CPC had a highly negative and dismissive view of social democracy, a view dating back to the Second International and the Marxist-Leninist view on the social democratic movement.[141] By the 1980s that view had changed, and the CPC concluded that it could actually learn something from the social democratic movement.[141] CPC delegates were sent all over Europe to observe.[143] It should be noted that by the 1980s most European social democratic parties were facing electoral decline, and were in a period of self-reform.[143] The CPC followed this with great interest, laying most weight on reform efforts within the British Labour Party and the Social Democratic Party of Germany.[143] The CPC concluded that both parties were re-elected because they modernized, replacing traditional state socialist tenets with new ones supporting privatization, shedding the belief in big government, conceiving a new view of the welfare state, changing their negative views of the market, and moving from their traditional support base of trade unions to entrepreneurs, the young and students.[144]

Notes

  1. ^ The slogans at Xinhuamen ("New China Gate", the main entrance to Zhongnanhai) are "Serve the People" (middle), "Long live the great Communist Party of China" (left), and "Long live ever-victorious Mao Zedong Thought" (right).

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External links

See also

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) is the highest internal control institution of the Communist Party of China (CPC), tasked with enforcing internal rules and regulations and combating corruption and malfeasance in the Party. Since the vast majority of officials at all levels of government are also Communist Party members, the commission is in practice the top anti-corruption body in China.

The modern commission was established at the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee in December 1978. Control systems had existed previously under the name "Central Control Commission" for a brief period in 1927 and again between 1955 and 1968, and under its present name from 1949 to 1955. It was disbanded during the Cultural Revolution in 1969. In 1993, the internal operations of the agency and the government's Ministry of Supervision (MOS) were merged. Although the commission is theoretically independent of the Party's executive institutions such as the Central Committee and its Politburo, historically the work of the CCDI has been directed by the Party's top leaders. However, beginning with Hu Jintao's term as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China in November 2002, and especially following Xi Jinping's assumption of the party leadership in November 2012, the CCDI has undergone significant reforms to make it more independent from party operations below the Central Committee.

According to the Party's Constitution, the members of the CCDI are elected by the National Congress and serve for a term of five years. After the national congress in which it is elected, the CCDI convenes to elect its Secretary, deputy secretaries, secretary general and Standing Committee. Elected officials must then be endorsed by the Central Committee to take office. The Secretary of the CCDI has, since 1997, been a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and, since 2009, served as the leader of the Central Leading Group for Inspection Work. The current secretary is Zhao Leji, who took office on 25 October 2017.

Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China is a political body that comprises the top leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC). It is currently composed of 205 full members and 171 alternate members (see list). Members are nominally elected once every five years by the unicameral National Congress of the Communist Party of China, though, in practice the selection process is done privately, and exclusively by the party's Politburo and its corresponding Standing Committee.

The members have no essential decision making power. They ceremonially exercise their voting, to provide evidence to the nation that a decision has been made by the people. The Central Committee is, formally, the "party's highest organ of state in authority" when the National Congress is not in a plenary session. According to the Party Constitution, it is vested with the power to elect the General Secretary and the members of the Politburo. Its Standing Committee, and the Central Military Commission, and it endorses the composition of the Secretariat and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. It also oversees work of various powerful national organs of the party.

The Committee convenes at least once a year at a plenary session ("plenum"), and functions as a top forum for discussion about relevant policy issues. The Committee operates, however, on the principle of democratic centralism; i.e., once a decision is made, the entire body speaks with one voice. The role of the Central Committee has varied throughout history. While it generally exercises power through formal procedures defined in the party constitution, the ability for it to affect outcomes of national-level personnel decisions is limited, as that function has generally been, in practice, carried out by the Politburo and retired party elders who retain influence. Nonetheless, Central Committee plenums function as venues whereby policy is discussed, fine-tuned, and publicly released in the form of "resolutions" or "decisions".

The Central Committee's plenums typically open and close in the State Banquet Hall of the Great Hall of the People, with the working meetings of the plenum being held at the military run Jingxi Hotel in Beijing.

Central Party School of the Communist Party of China

The Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, also known as the Central Party School, is the higher education institution which specifically trains officials for the Communist Party of China. As of 2012, it has around 1,600 students. The current president is Chen Xi, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China.

Chairman of the Communist Party of China

The Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (Chinese: 中国共产党中央委员会主席) was the head of the Communist Party of China (CPC). It was established at the 8th National Congress in 1945 and abolished at the 12th National Congress in 1982, and was succeeded by the General Secretary of the Central Committee. Offices with the name Chairman of the Central Executive Committee in 1922–1923 and Chairman of the Central Committee existed in 1928–1931. For information about these offices, see the article leader of the Communist Party of China

Ding Xuexiang

Ding Xuexiang (Chinese: 丁薛祥; born September 1962) is an important political aide of Xi Jinping, current General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. Ding is the current director of the General Office of the Communist Party of China. Ding served on Xi's staff beginning in Shanghai, then followed him to Beijing. He is also a member of the 19th Party Politburo, and a Secretary of the Party Secretariat.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China

The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (Chinese: 中国共产党中央委员会总书记) is head of the Communist Party of China and the highest-ranking official within the People's Republic of China. The General Secretary is a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat. The officeholder is usually considered the "paramount leader" of China.According to the Constitution, the General Secretary serves as an ex officio member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body. Since 1989, the holder of the post has been, except for transitional periods, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, making the holder the Supreme Military Command of the People's Liberation Army. The current General Secretary is Xi Jinping, who took office on 15 November 2012 and was re-elected on 25 October 2017. Afterwards, he was given the ability to have no limit to the amount of terms as a General Secretary.

Jiang Zemin

Jiang Zemin (UK: , US: ; born 17 August 1926) is a retired Chinese politician who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002, as Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2004, and as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003. Jiang has been described as the "core of the third generation" of Communist Party leaders since 1989.

Jiang came to power unexpectedly as a 'compromise candidate' following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, when he replaced Zhao Ziyang as General Secretary after Zhao was ousted for his support for the student movement. With the waning influence of Eight Elders due to old age and with the death of Deng Xiaoping in 1997, Jiang consolidated his hold on power and became the "paramount leader" of the party and the country in the 1990s.

Urged by Deng's southern tour in 1992 to accelerate "opening up and reform", Jiang officially introduced the term "socialist market economy" in his speech during the 14th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held later that year, ending a period of ideological uncertainty and economic stagnation following 1989. Under Jiang's leadership, China experienced substantial economic growth with the continuation of reforms, saw the peaceful return of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom in 1997 and Macau from Portugal in 1999, and improved its relations with the outside world while the Communist Party maintained its tight control over the government. His contributions to party doctrine, known as the "Three Represents," were written into the party's constitution in 2002. Jiang vacated the post of party General Secretary and Politburo Standing Committee in 2002, but did not relinquish all of his leadership titles until 2005, and continued to influence affairs until much later. At the age of 92 years, 251 days, Jiang is the longest-living paramount leader in the history of the PRC, surpassing Deng Xiaoping on 14 February 2019.

Leader of the Communist Party of China

The leader, now officially the General Secretary of the Central Committee (CC) of the Communist Party of China (CPC), is by right of office the Chairman of the Central Military Commission and the President of the People's Republic of China. Since its formation in 1921, the leader's post has been titled as Secretary of the Central Bureau (1921–1922), Chairman (1922–1925, 1928–1931, and 1943–1982), and General Secretary (1925–1928, 1931–1943, and 1982 onwards).

By custom the party leader has either been elected by the Central Committee or the Central Politburo. There were several name changes until Mao Zedong finally formalised the office of Chairman of the Central Committee. Since 1982, the CPC National Congress and its 1st CC Plenary Session has been the main institutional setting in which the CPC leadership are elected. From 1992 onwards every party leader has been elected by a 1st CC Plenary Session. In the period 1928–45 the CPC leader was elected by conference, meetings of the Central Committee or by decisions of the Politburo. The last exception to this rule is Jiang Zemin, who was elected at the 4th Plenary Session of the 13th Central Committee in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Currently, to be nominated for the office of General Secretary, one has to be a member of the Politburo Standing Committee.Despite breaching the party's constitution, several individuals (who are not included in the list) have been de facto leaders of the CPC without holding formal positions of power. Wang Ming was briefly in charge in 1931 after Xiang Zhongfa was jailed by Kuomintang forces, while Li Lisan is considered to have been the real person in-charge for most of Xiang's tenure. Deng Xiaoping is the last CPC official to achieve this; he never served as Chairman or General Secretary, his highest post being Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission.

Li Xiannian

Li Xiannian (pronounced [lì ɕjɛ́nnjɛ̂n]; 23 June 1909 – 21 June 1992) was the President of the People's Republic of China between 1983 and 1988 and then Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference until his death. Li was an influential political figure throughout the PRC, having been a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China from 1956. He rose to prominence in the Communist Party of China in 1976, when Hua Guofeng succeeded Mao Zedong as Chairman of the Communist Party of China. At the height of his career in the 1980s, Li was considered one of the most influential architects of China's economic policy after the Cultural Revolution, and is considered one of the Eight Elders of the Communist Party of China.

National Congress of the Communist Party of China

The National Congress of the Communist Party of China (NCCPC; Chinese: 中国共产党全国代表大会; pinyin: Zhōngguó Gòngchǎndǎng Quánguó Dàibiǎo Dàhuì; literally: Chinese Communist Party National Representatives Congress) is a party congress that is held every five years. The National Congress is theoretically the highest body within the Communist Party of China. Since 1987 the National Congress has been held in the months of October or November. The venue for the event, beginning in 1956, is the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. In the past two decades the National Congress of the CPC has been pivotal at least as a symbolic part of leadership changes, and therefore has gained international media attention.

Since the mid-1980s, the Communist Party has attempted to maintain a smooth and orderly succession and avoiding a cult of personality, by having a major shift in personnel every ten years in even number party congresses, and by promoting people in preparation for this shift in odd number party congresses.

In addition, as people at the top level of the party retire, there is room for younger members of the party to move up one level. Hence the party congress is a time of a general personnel reshuffle, and the climax of negotiations that involve not only the top leadership but practically all significant political positions in China. Because of the pyramid structure of the party and the existence of mandatory retirement ages, cadres who are not promoted at a party congress are likely to face the end of their political careers.

In addition to making leadership changes, the Congress also reviews and changes, if necessary, the Party's Constitution, and selects the Central Committee, a powerful decision making body. Each five-year cycle of the National People's Congress also has a series of plenums of the Central Committee which since the mid-1990s have been held more or less regularly once every year.

Similar to the practice of the NPC, the delegates to the Congress are formally selected from grassroots party organizations, and like the NPC, there is a system of staggered elections in which one level of the party votes for the delegates to the next higher level. For the National Congress, delegates are chosen by the Communist Party's provincial level party congresses or their equivalents in a selection process that is screened and supervised by the party's Organization Department as directed by the Politburo Standing Committee.

Peng Zhen

Peng Zhen (pronounced [pʰə̌ŋ ʈʂə́n]; October 12, 1902 – April 26, 1997) was a leading member of the Communist Party of China. He led the party organization in Beijing following the victory of the Communists in the Chinese Civil War in 1949, but was purged during the Cultural Revolution for opposing Mao's views on the role of literature in relation to the state. He was rehabilitated under Deng Xiaoping in 1982 along with other 'wrongly accused' officials, and became the inaugural head of the CPC Central Political and Legislative Committee.

Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China

The Standing Committee of the Central Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China, usually known as the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), is a committee consisting of the top leadership of the Communist Party of China. Historically it has been composed of five to eleven members, and currently has seven members. Its officially mandated purpose is to conduct policy discussions and make decisions on major issues when the Politburo, a larger decision-making body, is not in session. According to the party's Constitution, the General Secretary of the Central Committee must also be a member of the Politburo Standing Committee.According to the party's constitution, the party's Central Committee elects the Politburo Standing Committee. In practice, however, this is only a formality. The method by which membership is determined has evolved over time. During the Mao Zedong era, Mao himself selected and expelled members, while during the Deng Xiaoping era consultations among party elders on the Central Advisory Commission determined membership. Since the 1990s, Politburo membership has been determined through deliberations and straw polls by incumbent and retired members of both the Politburo and the Standing Committee.While the PSC in theory reports into the Politburo, which in turn reports into the larger Central Committee, in practice, the Standing Committee is supreme over its parent bodies. Additionally, because China is a one-party state, Standing Committee decisions de facto have the force of law. Its membership is closely watched by both the national media as well as political watchers abroad. Historically, the role of the PSC has varied and evolved. During the Cultural Revolution, for example, the PSC had little power.

The membership of the PSC is strictly ranked in protocol sequence. Historically, the General Secretary (or Party Chairman) has been ranked first; the rankings of other leaders have varied over time. Since the 1990s, the General Secretary, Premier, Chairman of the National People's Congress, the Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party's top anti-graft body, and the first-ranked Secretary of the Secretariat have consistently also been members of the Politburo Standing Committee. The portfolios of additional members varied.

Politburo of the Communist Party of China

The Central Politburo of the Communist Party of China, formally known as the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and known as Central Bureau (中央局) before 1927, is a group of 25 people who oversee the Communist Party of China. Unlike politburos (political bureaus) of other Communist parties, power within the politburo is centralized in the Politburo Standing Committee, a smaller group of Politburo members.

The Politburo is nominally elected by the Central Committee. In practice, however, analysts believe that the Politburo is a self-perpetuating body, with new members of both the Politburo and its Standing Committee chosen through a series of deliberations by current Politburo members and retired Politburo Standing Committee members. The current and former Politburo members conduct a series of informal straw polls to determine the group's level of support for each new candidate's membership in the Politburo. The process for selecting the new Politburo begins with a closed door meeting by the incumbent Politburo Standing Committee in Beidaihe in the summer before the Party Congress convenes.The power of the Politburo resides largely in the fact that its members generally simultaneously hold positions within the People's Republic of China state positions and with the control over personnel appointments that the Politburo and Secretariat have. In addition, some Politburo members hold powerful regional positions. How the Politburo works internally is unclear, but it appears that the full Politburo meets once a month and the standing committee meets weekly. This is believed to be much more infrequent than the former Soviet Politburo had met. The agenda for the meetings appears to be controlled by the General Secretary and decisions are made by consensus rather than by majority vote.The Politburo was eclipsed by the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China Central Committee in the early 1980s under Hu Yaobang, but has re-emerged as a dominant force after Hu's ousting in 1987.

Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China

The Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, or CCPPD, is an internal division of the Communist Party of China in charge of ideology-related work, as well as its information dissemination system. It is not formally considered to be part of the Government of the People's Republic of China, but enforces media censorship and control in the People's Republic of China.

It was founded in May 1924, and was suspended during the Cultural Revolution, until it was restored in October 1977. It is an important organ in China's propaganda system, and its inner operations are highly secretive. Its current head is Liu Qibao.

Wang Yang (politician)

Wang Yang (Chinese: 汪洋; born 12 March 1955) is a Chinese politician. He is a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, and Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Wang was one of the four Vice Premiers of China in Premier Li Keqiang's Government between 2013 and 2018. Until December 2012, he served as the Communist Party Secretary of Guangdong; the southern Chinese province's top office. He served as the party secretary of Chongqing, an interior municipality, from 2005 to 2007. Wang also held a seat on the Politburo of the Communist Party of China beginning in 2007.

Wang is seen as one of the leading reformers in China's top leadership, and is often credited with pioneering the Guangdong model of development, characterized by an emphasis on private enterprise, economic growth and a greater role for civil society. He is widely considered to be one of the most strongly 'liberal' members of the Chinese elite, advocating for economic and political reform.

Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping (; Chinese: 习近平; Mandarin pronunciation: [ɕǐ tɕîn.pʰǐŋ]; born 15 June 1953) is a Chinese politician serving as general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), President of the People's Republic of China (PRC), and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). Often described as China's "paramount leader" since 2012, he officially received the title of "core leader" from the CPC in 2016. As general secretary, Xi holds an ex-officio seat on the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, China's top decision-making body.Xi is the first general secretary born after the Second World War and the establishment of the People's Republic of China. The son of Chinese Communist veteran Xi Zhongxun, he was exiled to rural Yanchuan County as a teenager following his father's purge during the Cultural Revolution, and lived in a cave in the village of Liangjiahe, where he organised communal labourers. After studying at the Tsinghua University as a "Worker-Peasant-Soldier student", Xi rose through the ranks politically in China's coastal provinces. Xi was governor of Fujian province from 1999 to 2002, and governor, then party secretary of neighbouring Zhejiang province from 2002 to 2007. Following the dismissal of Chen Liangyu, Xi was transferred to Shanghai as party secretary for a brief period in 2007. He joined the Politburo Standing Committee and central secretariat in October 2007, spending the next five years as Hu Jintao's presumed successor. Xi was vice president from 2008 to 2013 and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission from 2010 to 2012.

Since assuming power, Xi has introduced far-ranging measures to enforce party discipline and to ensure internal unity. His signature anti-corruption campaign has led to the downfall of prominent incumbent and retired Communist Party officials, including members of the Politburo Standing Committee. Described as a Chinese nationalist, he has tightened restrictions over civil society and ideological discourse, advocating Internet censorship in China as the concept of "internet sovereignty". Xi has called for further socialist market economic reforms, for governing according to the law and for strengthening legal institutions, with an emphasis on individual and national aspirations under the slogan "Chinese Dream". He has also championed a more assertive foreign policy, particularly with regard to China–Japan relations, China's claims in the South China Sea, and its role as a leading advocate of free trade and globalization. Xi has sought to expand China's African and Eurasian influence through the One Belt One Road Initiative. The 2015 meeting between Xi and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou marked the first time the political leaders of both sides of the Taiwan Strait have met since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1950.Considered the central figure of the fifth generation of leadership of the People's Republic, Xi has significantly centralised institutional power by taking on a wide range of leadership positions, including chairing the newly formed National Security Commission, as well as new steering committees on economic and social reforms, military restructuring and modernization, and the Internet. Said to be one of the most powerful leaders in modern Chinese history, Xi's political thoughts have been written into the party and state constitutions, and under his leadership the latter was amended to abolish term limits for the presidency. In 2018, Forbes ranked him as the most powerful and influential person in the world, dethroning Russian President Vladimir Putin who held the accolade for five consecutive years.

Ye Jianying

Ye Jianying (simplified Chinese: 叶剑英; traditional Chinese: 葉劍英; pinyin: Yè Jiànyīng; Wade–Giles: Yeh Chien-ying; Jyutping: Yip Gim-ying; 28 April 1897 – 22 October 1986) was a Chinese communist general, Marshal of the People's Liberation Army. As the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress from 1978 to 1983, Ye was the head of state of China.

You Quan

You Quan (Chinese: 尤权; born January 1954) is a Chinese politician and a current Secretary of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China. He previously served as Communist Party Secretary of Fujian province and Chairman of Fujian People's Congress.

Zhao Leji

Zhao Leji (Chinese: 赵乐际; pinyin: Zhào Lèjì; born 8 March 1957) is a senior leader of the Communist Party of China and the Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party's top anti-corruption body. Additionally, he is a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the party's top decision making body.

In his earlier political career, he served as the Communist Party Secretary of Qinghai, the party secretary of Shaanxi, and the head of the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China. He entered the Politburo in 2012, and was promoted to the Standing Committee five years later.

Transcriptions
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinZhōngguó Gòngchǎndǎng
Wade–GilesChung1-kuo2 Kung4-ch'an3-tang3
IPA[ʈʂʊ́ŋ.kwǒ kʊ̂ŋ.ʈʂʰàn.tàŋ]
Yue: Cantonese
Yale RomanizationJūng-gwok Gūng-cháan-dóng
IPA[tsóŋ.kʷɔ̄ːk̚ kòŋ.tsʰǎːn.tɔ̌ːŋ]
JyutpingZung1-gwok3 Gung6-caan2-dong2
Southern Min
Hokkien POJTiong-kok Kiōng-sán-tóng
Transcriptions
Wyliekrung go gung khran tang
Transcriptions
SASM/GNCDumdad Ulcyn/Khyatadyn Kommunist(av khamt) Nam
Transcriptions
Latin YëziqiJunggo Kommunistik Partiyisi
Yengi YeziⱪJunggo Kommunistik Partiyisi
Siril YëziqiҖуңго Коммунистик Партийиcи
United Front
State organs
Politics of
province-level
divisions

(current leaders)
Major
Minor

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