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China's Political Party System

The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) attracted high attention of the mainstream media of different countries all over the world. Xi Jinping was elected as general secretary of the Central Committee of the CPC at the first plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee on November 15. The other six newly-elected members of the Standing Committee of the 18th CPC central committee political bureau are Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli. We would like to take this opportunity to brief readers in The Bahamas on the China's political party system so that they can have a better understanding of it.

China's Political Party System

The political party system is an important component of modern democratic politics. What kind of political party system to adopt in a country is determined by the nature, national conditions and social development of that given country. The diversity of political party systems in different countries reflects the diversity of human civilizations.

The political party system China has adopted is multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (hereinafter "multi-party cooperation system" for short), of which the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) is an important institution to conduct political consultations and democratic supervision, and organize its member parties, organizations and personages from various ethnic groups and walks of life to discuss and manage state affairs. This system is different from both the two-party or multi-party competition systems of Western countries and the one-party system practiced in some other countries.

Under China's multi-party cooperation system, there are the CPC and eight other political parties. The eight democratic parties are: Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang, China Democratic League, China National Democratic Construction Association, China Association for Promoting Democracy, Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party, China Zhi Gong Dang, Jiu San Society and Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League. Based on the principle of "long-term coexistence, mutual supervision, treating each other with sincerity and sharing each other's weal and woe," the democratic parties of China are different from the ruling party and the opposition party. They are under the leadership of the Communist Party, and devote themselves to the socialist construction.

This system was established and has been developed during the long-term practice of the Chinese revolution, construction and reform. It is a basic political system that suits the conditions of China. It is a socialist political party system with Chinese characteristics, and a key component of China's socialist democratic politics.

According to the Chinese Constitution, "The People's Republic of China is a socialist state under the people's democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants." The government system that accords with such a form of state is the system of people's congresses, and the political party system that accords with it is that of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC. The systems of people's congresses, multi-party cooperation, regional ethnic autonomy, and self-governance at the primary level of society together constitute the kernel and fundamental framework of China's political system, and are the embodiment of socialist democracy.

Features and Merits of China's Political Party System

One major feature of China's socialist democracy is the combination of democratic election and democratic consultation. In China, the people's congress system and the multi-party cooperation system under the leadership of the CPC supplement each other. That the people exercise their democratic rights through election and voting and that consultation is conducted among people of all walks of life to achieve consensus as much as possible before any significant decisions are made are two important ways to realize socialist democracy. The combination of democratic election and democratic consultation has extended the width and depth of socialist democracy. Full political consultation both takes into account the opinions of the majority and shows respect to the reasonable requirements of the minority, thus guaranteeing democracy of the widest scope and promoting the harmonious development of society.

The value and functions of China's multi-party cooperation system are manifested as follows:

-- Political participation. The multi-party cooperation system opens up an institutionalized channel for the political participation of democratic parties, incorporates various social forces into the political system, and consolidates and expands the foundation of the people's democratic dictatorship.

-- Expression of interests. China is a large, populous country of over 1.3 billion people with a variety of social classes, strata and groups. On the basis of common fundamental interests, differences and contradictions in specific interests exist among the people. In particular, as the socialist market economy progresses, the reform of the economic system deepens, the social structure and the pattern of interests undergo great reshuffles, and people's ideas also change profoundly. The multi-party cooperation system can effectively reflect the interests, wishes and demands of all social sectors, clears and broadens the channels for the expression of interest, coordinates interest relations, gives due consideration to the interests of allies, and thus maintains social harmony and stability.

-- Social integration. China's arduous and complicated modernization task requires a political system that has a strong function in social integration. Combining the firm leadership of the CPC with extensive cooperation with democratic parties, the multi-party cooperation system has forged a mighty power of social integration. Aiming at the paramount objective of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, the CPC cooperates closely with democratic parties, creates strong political identification, facilitates optimized allocation of political resources, mobilizes the enthusiasm of all sectors, and leads and organizes the society to move continuously toward modernization.

-- Democratic supervision. Mutual supervision between the CPC and the democratic parties is conducive to strengthening the supervision function within the system and avoiding various drawbacks arising from lack of supervision. The democratic parties represent specific interests and demands of relevant groups of people, reflect complaints and suggestions from all walks of life, and provide all-round supervision apart from the self-supervision of the CPC. This facilitates the scientific and democratic decision-making of the ruling party, so that it will resist and overcome bureaucracy and all sorts of negative and corruptive phenomena more consciously, thus reinforcing and improving the work of the ruling party in all aspects.

-- Maintenance of stability. The multi-party cooperation system replaces confrontation and contention with cooperation and consultation, effectively avoiding political instability and frequent changes of regime resulting from discord among political parties, thus reducing internal frictions of the society to the maximum, and safeguarding social and political stability and solidarity. Combining the firm leadership of the CPC with the extensive participation of democratic parties, the system is able to effectively resolve various social contradictions and conflicts, and maintain political stability and social harmony.


China's multi-party cooperation system has undergone a glorious history of 63 years. It has been proved through practice that the multi-party cooperation system, as a basic political system of China, is inevitable, innovative and superior.Thanks to the joint efforts of the CPC and the Chinese people, world-shaking development and progress has been made in China’s society. China has become the world's second largest economy, the world's top manufacturing country, the world's largest exporter and the world's first largest holder of foreign currency.

At present, the Chinese people are striving with confidence for building a comparatively well-off society in an all-round way, and endeavoring to build a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and modern socialist country. Looking into the future, we see a vista of limitless promise. At the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, China will become a moderately prosperous society of a higher level in all respects to the benefit of over one billion people; at the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, China will basically accomplish modernization program and become a strong, prosperous, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious modern socialist country.

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