Presentation Outline II. Political Institutions a)The Parallel Structure b)The Executive Branch c)The Legislative Branch d)The Judicial Branch e)Village elections f)Communist Party Factions
II. a)Parallel Structure China is a one-party state. The Chinese Communist Party influences the government, not the other way around. There is a great deal of overlap between the Party and Government positions.
II. b)The Executive Branch President Prime Minister State Council Standing Committee of the Politburo- Party General Secretary of the Communist Party-Party Succession Crisis Governmen t
President- Head of State Largely a ceremonial position Elected by the National People’s Congress since 1982 in accordance with the Constitution Limited to two successive five year terms It has been the practice since Jiang Zemin that the President also holds the more powerful and important positions of General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Comussion thus making him paramount leader
China’s Presidents * all were/are also Party General Secretaries and Paramount leaders 1993-2003 2003-2013 2013-? Jiang ZeminXi JinpingHu Jintao
Premier-Head of Government Current Premier Wen Jiabao Nominated by the President and approved by the National People’s Congress (NPC); in practice, however, it is the Standing Committee of the Politburo which chooses the Premier Limited to two successive 5 year terms Head of the State Council Nominates a Government Cabinet Overseas the Cabinet ministries How does the Chinese Premier differ from the British Prime Minister?
State Council Highest executive function in the Government 35 members total Meets every 6 months Includes a state council standing committee which meets weekly Members include the Premier, Vice-premiers, and Cabinet Ministers Members are nominated by the Premier and approved by the National People’s Congress(NPC) They decide policy and draft legislation which they later present to the National People’s Congress (NPC) All State Council members are also Communist Party members
Standing Committee of the Politburo In practice it is the most powerful body in the People’s Republic of China 9 members total are selected by the National Party Congress Includes the General Secretary of the CPC Influences and supervises all levels of the Party and Government Decisions are made by consensus- democratic centralism
Standing Committee of the Politburo Members Recognize anyone?
General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party More powerful than the presidency Since 1993, the presidency/general secretary of the CPC has been held by one man The General Secretary also sits on the Standing Committee of the Politburo Since Jiang Zemin, the General Secretary is also the chairman of the Central Military Commission, making him commander in chief of China’s armed forces
China’s CPC General Secretaries * the position was formerly called Chairman 1949-1976 1976-1981 1982-1987 1987-1989 1989-2002 2002-present Mao ZedongHua GuofengHu YaobangZhao ZiyangJiang ZeminHu Jintao * Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang were never paramount leaders as they did not control the Central Military Affairs Commission
Succession Crisis After Mao died in 1976 a succession crisis emerged. The Government of China and Communist Party had no mechanism to choose the paramount leader. Deng Xiaoping emerged as paramount leader in 1981 when he wrested control of the Central Military Commission from Hua Guofeng Deng never held the titles of President or General Secretary In 1989, Deng relinquished control over the Central Military Commission to Jiang Zemin From 1993-present it has been the practice that the President, General Secretary, and Chairman of the Military Commission be held by the same person. This has averted anymore succession crises. Do you think the head of state should also be commander in chief of the armed forces?
II. b) The Legislative Branch The National People’s Congress- Government The Party Congress - Party
The National People’s Congress (NPC) Responsible for creating and amending legislation Meets once or twice annually Members are selected from the Provincial People’s Congresses Dominated by the Communist Party Presence of non-Party members, though they do NOT function as an opposition In theory, the NPC has supreme authority in China; in practice, however, it is subordinate to the Party and the Standing Committee of the Politburo The NPC has been described as a rubber stamp legislature; although in recent years the NPC has opposed non-politically sensitive issues such as gas taxes
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7922720.stm Good source on the NPC’s lack of political power:
The National Party Congress Meets once every five years Reviews and amends the Chinese Communist Party Constitution Selects members to the powerful Central Committee Since the mid 1990s has instituted a mandatory retirement age for Party leaders (67 years)
II. c) The Judicial Branch Judges are appointed by the National People’s Congress (NPC) The Judicial Branch cannot be considered independent since the Communist Party influences the Judicial Branch at all court levels Judges are also normally members of the Communists Party
Rule of Law or Rule by Law? Signs of emerging rule of law: 1979 Legal Code Civil and Criminal appeals procedures Growing legal profession Obstacles to rule of law: prevalence of guanxi and corruption Influence of the Communist Party Inability or unwillingness to enforce laws (intellectual property) Rule of Law: No one is above the law. Those who follow as well as those who govern must obey and respect the law. Rule by Law: Leaders govern according to laws, at least superficially. The laws may serve those in power to the detriment of those without power.
II. d) Village Elections Introduced in the early 1980s by Deng Xiaoping representative democracy- open to all villagers over 18 years of age Electing members to the Local People’s Congress for a 3 year term In theory, elections are competitive; in practice, however, only Communist Party members and “approved” non-Party members have been allowed to compete
II. e) Communist Party Factions Since there is no formal opposition, dissent and opposition is usually confined to the Communist Party in the practice of democratic centralism At times, factions have co-existed in the Party peacefully; at other times, this has led to crises, most notably: the succession crisis after Mao Zedong’s death, and the Tiananmen Square student demonstrations (1989)
LiberalsReformersHardliners/ Conservatives -tend to favor both political and economic liberalization -supported the failed student democracy movement at Tiananmen Square in 1989 -leaders have included: former General Secretaries Hu Yaobang and Zhao Zhiyang -least powerful faction today -favor economic liberalization with limited political liberalization -sided with the hardliners during the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations -leaders have included: Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao -This is currently the most influential Party faction -favor limited economic liberalization -emphasize a return to socialist roots -opposed to political liberalization -led the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown -leaders have included: Hua Guofeng, and Li Peng (1989) -still has some political clout in the Party Main CPC Factions
Discussion Questions 1)Many political scientists consider Russia and China both undemocratic. Yet, Russia is technically a procedural democracy, whereas China is authoritarian. Explain. 2)The National People’s Congress is considered a rubber stamp legislature. Is this a fair description? Do you see any similarities with Russia’s Duma? 3)Are village elections the beginning of real democracy in China, or simply a control mechanism for the Party? 4)In which aspects is China moving towards the rule of law? In which aspects does China appear to be resisting the rule of law?
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