Finals Paper: China
known as the People’s Republic of China (PRC), is located in East Asia and is
the world’s most populous country where its population reached 1.38 billion this year. This unitary sovereign is also the second-largest state in the world and covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometers.
In addition, it is a nation of growing economic
and political importance in global affairs. China arose as one of the world’s primary civilizations. For years, the Chinese political system was based on hereditary dynasties starting with
the Xia dynasty. Since then, China has extended, split, its
territory multiple times. In 1912, a republic was installed and replaced the last dynasty until 1949. Later then, a civil war took place
in China, where the communist People’s Liberation Army defeated the nationalists that were retreated to Taiwan. Since the end of Mao Zedong’s leadership in the 1970s and the
introduction of economic reforms, the People’s Republic of China has become one
of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
World order and global governance:
The problem of world order is
related to an understanding of international politics. Since 1991, the nature
of world order has been subject of debate and disagreement. A new world order
was expected characterized by peace and international cooperation. But talks
were soon replaced by a unipolar order, for nearly 30 years.1
This order didn’t last long by the US decline and the emergence of
multiple powers, notably China that experienced an economic growth. In
addition, the fact that it has the largest population helps them supply cheap labor.
Furthermore, China’s emergence as a superpower isn’t only due to the fact of
its economic growth but also to its emerging global role by entering in
international organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the G20
and negotiating over issues such as climate change. Effectively, China is acting
as a global influential state to make contrast and compete with the United
States who rejected lastly the climate change agreement of Paris.2
An often ignored part of China’s influence is the rise of its soft power.
Nevertheless, China’s rise is sometimes interpreted as part of a larger
transferal in the balance of global power from the west countries to the east
or perhaps from the USA to the BRICS. In fact, some people predicts that the BRICS
countries economic growth would exceed the combined strength of the
industrialized G7 countries as soon as 2021. An alternative scenario is that
the 21st century will not be so much of a “Chinese century” but rather “the
Asian century”. However, the Chinese or the BRICS growth cannot be granted.
Effectively, the Chinese economy is heavily dependent on supplies of cheap labor.
More importantly, a serious challenge china can face is the tensions between
its political and economic structures. Finally, China’s emergence is referred as
a peaceful rise. Effectively, this can be true since China isn’t focusing on
its military power but rather using its economic growth to appear as a
political systems there’s a spatial component where the central government and
the local governments may negotiate over which level of government controls how
much power. China’s government system is considered as a unitary system which
means that sovereignty is located in a single institution, allowing the center
to control the periphery. But with its population growth, geographical massiveness, and social diversity, it is getting harder to rule all the
country from Beijing. Since 1980, the central government underwent a devolution which means a
transfer of power from Beijing to subordinate regional institutions without
letting these regions sovereign. For instance, fiscal decentralization has been
an essential factor empowering regional governments.3
Moreover, Beijing is struggling to impose its willpower on the peripheries.
Central government ministries have offices in the peripheries that submit
monthly reports to their ministry in the capital and to the provincial
leadership. However, China doesn’t operate a federal system. Beijing has the
upper hand. Regional governments do not have their own constitutions and do not
have the power to appoint their own leaders. The Party’s Organization
Department in Beijing manages the appointments of all regional governors, and regularly
transfers those leaders from region to region, to guarantee that they do not
build up provincial powerbases. The ability of these leaders to deviate from
the party track is limited because they know their next career move would be at
stake. Nonetheless, most experts approve that the center has missed some
control of provinces since 1970.4
Constitution of the Chinese government is a changing text. In 1954, the first
constitution was declared. In 1982, the current Constitution was applied. In fact, it is the Chinese’s fourth
promulgation. In 1987, the official structure of government
was based on the State Constitution of 1982, adopted by the National People’s
Congress. Effectively, this constitution reflects Deng Xiaoping’s will to form
a lasting government promoting domestic stability and modernization.
5 Moreover, this Constitution offers a legal source for the social
and economic changes and it also reviews government structure and procedures. The roles of the presidency and the courts
were regulated, and all citizens became equal. Adjustments were made in 1988,
1993, 1999, and most recently, in 2004, which recognized private property,
safeguarded human rights, and promoted the non-public sector of the economy.
The political power is
divided into three branches: executive, legislative and judicial.
branch is responsible for the execution or implementation of policy.
The State Council is the highest
state executive organ. It is appointed by the National
People’s Congress and is chaired by the Premier. The State Council supervises the numerous
subordinate People’s Governments in the peripheries, and is in charge for
making sure that party policies are executed from the national to the local
level. The State Council’s most
important roles are to manage the economic plan of the nation and the budget of
the state. Most of the members of this council
have also high level posts in the CPC.
The current President of China is Xi Jinping and he acts as the head of state. Under the Chinese’s constitution, the presidency is a largely prestigious role with limited powers. In fact, the
President serves at the pleasure of the National People’s Congress, and has not legal power to take executive action on his own choice.
The legislative branch chief
function is to make laws. In the Chinese system this branch is divided and controlled
by the state in collaboration with the party.
republic of China’s government
The national people congress is
structured as a unicameral legislature under the Chinese current constitution.
In fact, it is the largest
legislative body in the world combining 2,924 representatives.6
These members are elected for 5-year terms and meet one time per year. Moreover,
it has the rule to legislate, the power to supervise the government’s actions,
and the power to elect the main officers of the country. The NPC’s work is
centered on its 10-day-long annual full session. It is held every march and
attended by all of the NPC’s nearly 3,000 deputies. Because the annual full
session of the congress is so brief, much of the NPC’s work is undertaken by
its standing committee, which currently has 161 members that meets every two
months. Like the State Council, the NPC is controlled by
the CPC and can’t take any decision without it. In reality, the NPC exercises a
lot of its powers in name only. For example, in reality the constitution
accords to the national’s people congress the right to elect the president but
in practice, the CPC is the one who choose with who to fill this position. About 70% of its representatives
are members of the party.7 Their loyalty is to the
CPC first, and the congress second. To sum up, the role of this congress
is to simply execute the Party’s choices.
NPC STANDING COMITEE
As mentioned before, the NPC
representatives meet once a year. Because of the infrequent meetings, a
Standing Committee is formed and constituted of 161 members. 8The
Standing Committee presides over sessions of the NPC and determines the agenda,
the routing of legislation, and nominations for offices. The national people
congress has six permanent committees: minorities, law, finance, foreign
affairs, education, science, culture, and health.9 The Committee is composed of retired officials drawn from
the party that can have an influential role.
party of China (CPC)
decision affecting the nation is first discussed and approved by few men who
sit on the party’s Politburo which is the center of all power of China. The
Politburo’s members are elected by the party’s Central Committee. The 25 members
are chosen only after serious discussions and investigations of their
experiences, backgrounds, and views. In fact, the members need to have achievements
working for the CPC, and to have avoided making enemies. The Politburo controls three other important
bodies and ensures the party line is upheld through these bodies. These are: the
NPC, the State Council and the Military Affairs Commission.
THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE
The Politburo Standing Committee , is a committee consisting of the top leadership of the
CPC. It is composed of five to nine members, and currently
has seven members. Members are elected to serve for a period of
five years. Its purpose is to conduct discussions
regarding the execution of policies and take decisions on most important issues
when the Politburo is not meeting. The system of how the Standing Committee operates
is secret and unclear. Its meetings are rumored to be regular and frequent,
often characterized by blunt speaking and disagreement. These disagreements are
believed to take place in private, and it is very rare for these to break into
the media and aren’t showed to the public.10
First of all, The National Party Congress should be distinguished
from the National People’s Congress. The National Party Congress reviews
reports on party actions, go over the constitution of the party, choose the
Central Committee, and approves the party program for a specific period. However,
it has neither the independence to make legislative bills nor the power to
check and balance the party and government bureaucracies. Even if it has limited
roles, the National Party Congress can be used as a forum for growing parties.11
The Supreme Court
Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuatorate are part of the
judicial branch of the Chinese government. The Supreme Court is the highest in
the state, and its 340 judges are appointed by the NPC. These judges oversee
the following courts: economic, criminal, civil, administrative, and special
courts. But Unlike in democratic countries,
the court system is not independent, it answers to the National People’s
Congress who also is under the party’s control.
The Supreme People’s Procuratorate has the role to
investigate crimes in the nation. It is the
highest legal supervisory body, and is charged with preserving the constitution,
laws and people’s rights.
5. Military Branch of the
Government of China:
The Central Military Commission is composed of 11 members
and is in charge for directing the People’s Liberation Army militia, the
People’s Liberation Army, and the Police. It does this by forming military
policy and ensuring that it is carried out by the lower offices. Additionally,
this Commission takes decisions regarding budget spending.
Elections in China are
based on a hierarchical electoral system. In fact, elections in China take two forms.
Village Councils who live in designated rural areas do direct elections as well
as local People’s Congress in all areas. All other levels of the People’s
congress up to the National People’s Congress, the national legislature, are
indirectly elected by the people’s congress. Executive positions like the
President, the State Council and provincial governors are indirectly elected by
the national People’s Congress. Even though there is no legal obligation to be
part of Communist Party of China in order to nominate yourself, but in fact the
membership of the higher people’s congresses and people’s governments are
largely determined by the Party. Moreover, independent candidates are strongly
discouraged and face government intervention in their campaigns.12 In practice, the power of parties other than the
Communist Party of China is eliminated.
they still call themselves “communist”. The inner workings of the Chinese
government are a mystery to many. China has operated under a single political
party since the birth of Communist China, called “the Communist Party of
China”. And operates a pyramid of power which reaches down to every village and
every workplace. The Party’s 89-million membership which constitute approximately 6% of
China’s population, makes it the biggest political party in the world. In fact,
China pretends to be a multi-party state by technically permitting a limited
number of other political parties although eight other minor parties exist,
they are not allowed to challenge CPC policy, so in reality it functions as one-party state. Furthermore,
any Chinese citizen over the age of 18, who is willing to accept and abide by
the Party’s constitution and policies, which include a requirement that Party
members must be atheists, can apply for Party membership. In 2011, however, of
21.6 million applicants, fewer than 15% were accepted.13 Moreover,
the Party is
unrepresentative by the fact that its members are 80 %
male, with female members making up less than a quarter of the total.
addition, party membership is considered prestigious, its severe organization and brutality explain
why it is still in power. Effectively, the
party supervises and influences the population, beginning from what they learn
at school and watch on TV, to the number of children they are allowed. Finally, joining the party brings important
privileges, which explains why membership continues
to rise. Members get access to better information, their children get better
schooling, and many jobs are only open to members. This
situation paints China as an authoritarian country, where political dissent is
punishable by lengthy prison terms or exile. China is also one of 5 major
nations in the world to retain a Communist ideology.
Role of the media
The Communist Party is still fighting very hard to keep control
over the flow of information among people within the society and across the
border the borders of China. The control of the media help the CPC guide the
public opinion creating its own version
of events, and to eliminate narratives that might challenge the party’s
position. Effectively, everything related to the media is controlled by the Party Central Committee’s Propaganda
While most businesses are owned by
the state, China has been implementing capitalist policies and allowing
companies to privatize. In reality, China is more of a mixed economy than a
purely communist country. Additionally, many government officials are elected
for their technical expertise, making China in some ways a technocracy. This
series of political compromises explain why China is economically much more
successful than other communist countries of the past. With just one political
party, there is more cohesive legislation market trends, allowing China’s
government to react quickly. Their communist ideology also lends itself to
long-term economic policy, which has allowed them to prosper at the
expense of regulation and workers’ rights.
In the Mao era, China had a very powerful state which could
mobilize society, and people just didn’t get involved in politics unless they
were forced, except maybe to join the Communist Party. In addition, the economy
was basically planned by the bureaucrats. Then in the reform period in the late
1970s, there was a movement from totalitarianism to market Leninism, people in
economy have a lot more freedom of choice. By 1992, China declared the
establishment of a socialist market economy. Today, almost ninety-five percent
of the goods manufactured in China are allocated at market prices which are
determined by supply and demand.14 But
what’s really important is that what doesn’t happen is society does not
necessarily get empowered. So, China does not move from the totalitarian to a
democratization process instead China moves to market Leninism where the state
is still powerful and still have a great deal of authority in the final allocation
of goods in the system.
Locus of power/Economics
Heavily regulated democracies
Civil society democratization
9. International Relations and Human and civil rights issues:
China has the
world’s largest army and is a recognized nuclear weapons state .Since 1971, china is considered as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.15 It
is also a member of many international organizations, like the BRICS and the G20.
On one hand, China is allied with
many countries, some of its biggest allies are North Korea, Pakistan, Burma,
Iran and recently Syria and Russia. On the other hand, China have some tensions
with multiple countries. There have always been tensions between China and
Taiwan because of how Taiwan was formed, even though economic relations between
the two is improved. But politically and militarily the tensions are growing,
China wants reunification with Taiwan. Moreover, the US and China have
economies that are linked together. However they both compete in similar
markets, and they both also share very different ideologies. Finally, China is a main regional power within Asia, and can be considered
as a potential international giant.
Through documentation, it is well known that China has abused human
rights according to international standards. These human rights violations are
caused by both: the lack of laws to safeguard basic freedoms and authorities
extreme character against resistance. Abuses include detention, forced
confession, torture and the mistreatment of prisoners as well as oppressive
constraints on basic freedoms such as speech, press, religion, privacy, workers’
rights and birth limitation.
conclusion, China’s emergence through the last couple of years has some
advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, this development is contributing in
making China an international economic leader. But on the other hand, Chinese
people still doesn’t have any individual rights, so China has to work on its
political side and become a democratic country to become a global influence not
only economically but politically also.
In the end,
China’s government has been successful on paper, but not so much in theory or
ethical policy. As an authoritarian government, China sees mass censorship of
unapproved ideologies, and is one of the largest jailers of journalists in the
world. It’s clear that being the second largest economy in the world, while
juggling strict ideologies, comes at a difficult price. China’s government is
actually not too different from the socialist government of North Korea, China’s
Andrew. Political theory: an introduction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
Friedman, Lisa. “Syria Joins
Paris Climate Accord, Leaving Only U.S. Opposed.” The New York Times.
November 07, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/climate/syria-joins-paris-agreement.html
Saich, Tony. Governance
and politics of China. New York: St Martins Press, 2011
“How China is ruled –
Provinces and Townships.” BBC News. March 05, 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8552272.stm.
“CPC’s new chief pledges to
implement rule of law,” Xinhua News Agency, December 4, 2012
China – National Party Congresses.
Chinese political system. http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/Chinesepoliticalsystem.
China’s Political System. http://www.china.org.cn/english/Political/25060.htm
Amadeo, Kimberly. “It’s Good
That China’s Growth Is Slowing. Really.” The Balance.
Kimberly Amadeo, “It’s Good
That China’s Growth Is Slowing. Really.” The Balance, https://www.thebalance.com/china-s-economic-growth-cause-pros-cons-future-3305478.
Davis, Bob, and Lingling Wei.
“China’s Central Banker Leads Push to Overhaul Economy.” The Wall
Street Journal. November 05, 2013. https://www.wsj.com/articles/china8217s-central-banker-leads-push-to-overhaul-economy-1383622704?tesla=y.
China: foreign policy and
government guide (Washington, D.C.: International Business
Publications, USA, 2011).
John L. Esposito, The
Oxford history of Islam (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999),
Andrew Heywood, Political theory: an introduction (Basingstoke: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2015), 428-431.
Lisa Friedman, “Syria Joins Paris Climate Accord, Leaving Only U.S.
Opposed,” The New York Times, November 07, 2017,
Tony Saich, Governance and Politics of China, 3rd ed. (Palgrave Macmillan,
2011), p. 200.
“How China is ruled – Provinces and Townships,” BBC News, March 05,
2010, 2, accessed December 10, 2017,
“CPC’s new chief pledges to implement rule of law,” Xinhua News Agency,
December 4, 2012; Zhao Yinan, “Uphold Constitution, Xi says,” China Daily,
December 5, 2012.
6 China – National Party Congresses, 31-32, http://countrystudies.us/china/101.htm.
– National Party Congresses, 33-34, http://countrystudies.us/china/101.htm.
a list of National People’s Congress Standing Committee meetings since 2004,
see the NPC’s Chinese-language website: http://www.npc.gov.cn/npc/cwhhy/node_2433.htm.
L. Esposito, The Oxford history of Islam (New York, NY: Oxford
University Press, 1999), 343.
China is ruled: Politburo,” BBC News, October 08, 2012, 23, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-13904441.
foreign policy and government guide (Washington, D.C.: International
Business Publications, USA, 2011), 65.
Chinese political system, 1, http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/Chinesepoliticalsystem.
Political System ,4 ,http://www.china.org.cn/english/Political/25060.htm
Amadeo, “It’s Good That China’s Growth Is Slowing. Really.” The
Balance, 33, https://www.thebalance.com/china-s-economic-growth-cause-pros-cons-future-3305478.
15 Https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R41007.pdf. Report.