The beginning of Today’s China :
- Officially titled the People’s Republic of China, China has the highest population of any country on Earth. In 1949 under Leader Mao Zedong, China became a communist country. The state took control of the factories, businesses, the land etc, on behalf of the people. There was no private ownership.
- The Communist Party of China (CPC) took control and the people worked on behalf of the common good. According to Mao, the idea of individual progress at the expense of others was not acceptable. After his death, China moved away from Mao’s version of communism. However, the influence of the CPC within China remains to this day.
- Officially China is an atheist society where religion is not seen as compatible with communism. Nevertheless, China is a country with a huge diversity of religious beliefs.
- Despite the guarantee of religious freedom in the Constitution and recent expressions of government support for official religions, religious groups are controlled.
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- China’s leader Xi Jinping is the most powerful figure in the Chinese political system. He is the president of China, but his real influence comes from his position as the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.
Communist Party of China
- The Communist Party of China With more than 89 million members, the Communist Party is the biggest political party in the world. It fully dominates all branches of China’s political system.
- In the Chinese system, the Communist Party is the power center that controls every government department, military force, court and parliamentary meeting. The party rules over a pyramid structure, with Xi Jinping at the top and over 4 million grassroots branches at the bottom.
The Politburo Standing Committee
- These are the seven most powerful politicians in China. They sit on the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee. That means they make up the inner circle of the Politburo (a Soviet-style name short for Political Bureau). Their decisions affect every facet of life in China.
- The wider Politburo consists of 25 members, including the seven on the standing committee. Many of them are close to Xi Jinping and his allies. Some hold other high roles in the government, party or military.
The State Council
- The council enacts policy and presides over all government departments. It’s roughly equivalent to the cabinet in the US government system, and officially sits under the congress.
- In theory, the military reports to the congress through the Central Military Commission. But in practice, the Communist Party chief heads this commission. That means the party has direct leadership of the two million-strong People’s Liberation Army.
- China says it is a country ruled by law. In some areas, such as commercial law, judgements are increasingly seen as fair and independent. But in general, ‘rule by law’ is really the rule of the party. The Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, headed by a Politburo member, oversees the judiciary and prosecutors.
- The Central Organisation Department in as much as the CCDI can end a party member’s career, the Organization Department can start it. This body is like the human resources department, and assigns roles to party members.
Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection
- The Communist Party enforces internal discipline and loyalty through the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection. This body was, in the past, Limited in its ability to pursue senior party members but has since been empowered to go after bigger fish.
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