Communist Party of China


Communist Party of China
中国共产党
Zhōngguó Gòngchǎndǎng
General Secretary Hu Jintao
Standing Committee Hu Jintao,
Wu Bangguo,
Wen Jiabao
Jia Qinglin,
Li Changchun
Xi Jinping,
Li Keqiang
He Guoqiang,
Zhou Yongkang
Founded July, 1921 (1st Party Congress)
August 1920 (de facto)
Headquarters Zhongnanhai, Beijing
Youth wing Communist Youth League of China
Young Pioneers of China
Membership  (2010) 80,269,000
Ideology
Communism,
Marxism–Leninism,
Maoism,
Deng Xiaoping Theory,
Three Represents,
Scientific Development Concept
Political position Far left
Website
News on CPC
Party flag
Flag of the Chinese Communist Party.svg
Politics of the People's Republic of China
Political parties
Elections
Communist Party of China
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Hanyu Pinyin Zhōngguó Gòngchǎndǎng
Abbreviated name
Chinese 中共

The Communist Party of China (CPC), also known as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Although nominally it exists alongside the United Front,[1] in practice, the CPC is the only party of the PRC,[2] maintaining a unitary government centralizing the state, military, and media.[3] The legal power of the Communist Party is guaranteed by the PRC constitution.[3] The current party leader is Hu Jintao who is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.

The party was founded in July, 1921 in Shanghai.[4][5][6] After a lengthy civil war, the party defeated its primary rival, the Kuomintang (KMT), and expanded into all of mainland China by 1949.[7] The Kuomintang retreated to the island of Taiwan, which it still retains to this day.

The party has fluctuated between periods of reform and political conservatism throughout its history. In the modern party, the topic of reform and liberalisation remains a contentious issue heavily debated among top officials.[8] On the one hand, Wu Bangguo, the head of the National People's Congress, has said that: "We will never simply copy the system of Western countries or introduce a system of multiple parties holding office in rotation."[9] On the other hand, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has stressed the need of reform, stating that: "Without the safeguard of political reform, the fruits of economic reform would be lost and the goal of modernization would not materialize."[10]

The CPC is the world's largest political party,[11] claiming over 80 million members[12] at the end of 2010 which constitutes about 6.0% of the total population of mainland China. The Party marked its 90th birthday with celebrations all over China and the release of a film, The Beginning of the Great Revival.[13]

Contents

Organization

The party's organizational structure was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and rebuilt afterwards by Deng Xiaoping, who subsequently initiated "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" and brought all state apparatuses back under the rule of the CPC.

Theoretically, the party's highest body is the National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which meets at least once every five years. The primary organs of power in the Communist Party which is detailed in the party constitution include:

Organizations under the CPC Central Committee

Other central organizations directly under the Party Central Committee include:

In addition, there are numerous commissions and leading groups. Usually those commissions and leading groups have jurisdiction on both Party and State apparatus, and include ranking leaders up to the President of the People's Republic of China and the Premier of the State Council. The most important of them are:

  • Central Political and Legislative Affairs Commission;
  • Central Guidance Commission for Building Spiritual Civilization;
  • Central Commission for Comprehensive Management of Social Order;
  • State Commission for Public Sector Reform;
  • Central Leading Group for Financial Work;
  • Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs;
  • Central Leading Group for Taiwan Affairs;
  • Central Leading Group for Foreign Affairs;
  • Central National Security Leading Group;
  • Central Leading Group for Rural Work;
  • Central Leading Group for Party Building;
  • Central Leading Group for Propaganda and Ideological Work;
  • Central Leading Group for Combating Pornography and Illegal Publications;
  • Central Leading Group for Preventing and Handling the Problem of Heretical Organizations (related to Falun Gong);
  • Central Leading Group for Preserving Stability;
  • Central Leading Group for Cultural System Reform;
  • Central Leading Group for Hong Kong and Macao Affairs;
  • Central Leading Group for Combating Bribery;
  • Central Leading Group for Protection of Party Secrets;
  • Central Leading Group for Advancing Grass-roots Party Organization and Training Party Members;
  • Central Leading Group for Tibet Work;
  • Central Leading Group for Xinjiang Work;
  • Central Anti-Corruption Guidance Group.

Every five years, the Communist Party of China holds a National Congress. The latest happened on October 19, 2007. Formally, the Congress serves two functions: to approve changes to the Party constitution regarding policy and to elect a Central Committee, about 300 strong. The Central Committee in turn elects the Politburo. In practice, positions within the Central Committee and Politburo are determined before a Party Congress, and the main purpose of the Congress is to announce the party policies and vision for the direction of China in the following few years.

The party's central focus of power is the Politburo Standing Committee. The process for selecting Standing Committee members, as well as Politburo members, occurs behind the scenes in a process parallel to the National Congress. The new power structure is announced obliquely through the positioning of portraits in the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Party. The number of Standing Committee members varies and has tended to increase over time. The Committee was expanded to nine at the 16th Party National Congress in 2009.

There are two other key organs of political power in the People's Republic of China: the formal government and the People's Liberation Army. The Party's main bodies to oversee the PLA are the Central Military Commission and the General Political Department.

There are, in addition to decision-making roles, advisory committees, including the People's Political Consultative Conference. During the 1980s and 1990s there was a Central Advisory Commission established by Deng Xiaoping which consisted of senior retired leaders, but with their passing this has been abolished since 1992.

Factions

The flag of the Communist Party of China

Political theorists have identified two groupings within the Communist Party[15] leading to a structure which has been called "one party, two factions".[16] The first is the "elitist coalition" or Shanghai clique which contains mainly officials who have risen from the more prosperous provinces. The second is the "populist coalition", the core of which are the tuanpai, or the "Youth League faction" which consists mainly of officials who have risen from the rural interior, through the Communist Youth League. Minor informal groupings include the reformist Qinghua clique, and the derogatorily-termed Crown Prince Party of officials benefiting from nepotism. The interaction between the two main factions is largely complementary with each faction possessing a particular expertise and both committed to the continued rule of the Communist Party and not allowing intra-party factional politics threaten party unity. It has been noted that party and government positions have been assigned to create a very careful balance between these two groupings.

Within his "one party, two factions" model, Li Chen has noted that one should avoid labelling these two groupings with simplistic ideological labels, and that these two groupings do not act in a zero-sum, winner take all fashion. Neither group has the ability or will to dominate the other completely.[17]

Membership

The party was small at first, but grew intermittently through the 1920s. Twelve voting delegates were seated at the 1st National Congress in 1921, as well as at the 2nd (in 1922), when they represented 195 party members. By 1923, the 420 members were represented by 30 delegates. The 1925 4th Congress had 20 delegates representing 994 members; then real growth kicked in. The 5th Congress (held in April–May 1927 as the KMT was cracking down on communists) comprised 80 voting delegates representing 57,968 members.

It was on October 3, 1928 6th Congress that the now-familiar ‘full’ and ‘alternate’ structure originated, with 84 and 34 delegates, respectively. Membership was estimated at 40,000. In 1945, the 7th Congress had 547 full and 208 alternate delegates representing 1.21 million members, a ratio of one representative per 1,600 members as compared to 1:725 in 1927.

After the Party defeated the Nationalists, participation at National Party Congresses became much less representative. Each of the 1026 full and 107 alternate members represented 9,470 party members (10.73 million in total) at the 1956 8th Congress. Subsequent congresses held the number of participants down despite membership growing to more than 60 million by 2000.[18]

History

Location of the first Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in July 1921, in Xintiandi, former French Concession, Shanghai. Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.

The CPC has its origins in the May Fourth Movement of 1919, where radical political systems like anarchism and Communism gained traction among Chinese intellectuals.[19] Stalin opposed the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang because he wanted to expand Soviet influence in the province.[20] The CPC's ideologies have significantly evolved since its founding and establishing political power in 1949. Mao's revolution that founded the PRC was nominally based on Marxism-Leninism with a rural focus based on China's social situations at the time. During the 1960s and 1970s, the CPC experienced a significant ideological breakdown with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev, and later, Leonid Brezhnev. Since then Mao's peasant revolutionary vision and so-called "continued revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat" stipulated that class enemies continued to exist even though the socialist revolution seemed to be complete, giving way to the Cultural Revolution. This fusion of ideas became known officially as "Mao Zedong Thought", or Maoism outside of China. It represented a powerful branch of communism that existed in opposition to the Soviet Union's "Marxist revisionism".

Following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, however, the CPC under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping moved towards Socialism with Chinese characteristics and instituted Chinese economic reform. In reversing some of Mao's "extreme-leftist" policies, Deng argued that a socialist country and the market economy model were not mutually exclusive. While asserting the political power of the Party itself, the change in policy generated significant economic growth. The ideology itself, however, came into conflict on both sides of the spectrum with Maoists as well as progressive liberals, culminating with other social factors to cause the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests. Deng's vision for economic success and a new socialist market model became entrenched in the Party constitution in 1997 as Deng Xiaoping Theory.

Chinese communists celebrate Stalin's birthday, 1949

The "third generation" of leadership under Jiang Zemin, Zhu Rongji, and associates largely continued Deng's progressive economic vision while overseeing the re-emergence of Chinese nationalism in the 1990s. Nationalist sentiment has seemingly also evolved to become informally the part of the Party's guiding doctrine. As part of Jiang's nominal legacy, the CPC ratified the Three Represents into the 2003 revision of the Party Constitution as a "guiding ideology", encouraging the Party to represent "advanced productive forces, the progressive course of China's culture, and the fundamental interests of the people." There are various interpretations of the Three Represents. Most notably, the theory has legitimized the entry of private business owners and quasi-"bourgeoisie" elements into the party.

The insistent road of focusing almost exclusively on economic growth has led to a wide range of serious social problems. The CPC's "fourth generation" of leadership under Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, after taking power in 2003, attempted reversing such a trend by bringing forth an integrated ideology that tackled both social and economic concerns. This new ideology was known as the creation of a Harmonious Society using the Scientific Development Concept.

The degree of power the Party had on the state has gradually decreased as economic liberalizations progressed. The evolution of CPC ideology has gone through a number of defining changes that it no longer bears much resemblance to its founding principles. Some believe that the large amount of economic liberalization starting from the late 1970s to present, indicates that the CPC has transitioned to endorse economic neoliberalism.[21][22][23][24] The CPC's current policies are fiercely rejected as capitalist by most communists, especially anti-revisionists, and by adherents of the Chinese New Left from within the PRC.

The Communist Party of China comprises a single-party state form of government; however, there are parties other than the CPC within China, which report to the United Front Department of the Communist Party of China and do not act as opposition or independent parties. Since the 1980s, as its commitment to Marxist ideology has appeared to wane, the party has begun to increasingly invoke Chinese nationalism as a legitimizing principle as opposed to the socialist construction for which the party was originally created. The change from socialism to nationalism has pleased the CPC's former enemy, the Kuomintang (KMT), which has warmed its relations with the CPC since 2003.[25]

Political ideology and stances

Regional corruption and reform

The leaders of the Communist Party of China realise that there are serious problems with political corruption within China and with maintaining the trust of the Chinese people because of it. However, attempts made in closed-door sessions at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 17th Communist Party of China's Central Committee in September 2009 to grapple with these problems produced inconclusive results, although a directive which requires disclosure of investments and property holdings by party and governmental officials was passed.[26]

Relationship with competing ideologies

Trotskyists argue that the party was doomed to its present character, that of petty-bourgeois nationalism in the 1920s, because of the near-annihilation of the workers' movement in the KMT betrayal of 1927, which was made possible by Stalin's order that the Communists join with the KMT in a centrist coalition, effectively disarming it, which opportunity the KMT swiftly exploited to defeat the communist revolution.[27] This slaughter forced the tiny surviving Party to switch from a workers' union- to a peasant, guerilla-based organization, and to seek the aid of the most heterodox sources: from "patriotic capitalists" to the dreaded KMT itself, with which it openly sought to participate in a coalition government, even after the Japanese general surrender in 1945.[28] Chinese Trotskyists from Chen Duxiu onward have called for a political revolution against what they see as an opportunist, capitalist leadership of the CPC.

Mao Zedong meets with President Nixon, 29 February 1972

Marxists also existed in the Kuomintang party. They viewed the Chinese revolution in different terms than the Communists, claiming that China already went past its feudal stage and in a stagnation period rather than in another mode of production. These Marxists in the Kuomintang opposed the Chinese communist party ideology.[29]

Maoists and other 'anti-revisionists' viciously attack the changes after Mao Zedong's death, calling them the precise "capitalist road" Mao had pledged to fight during the early existence of the PRC. They do not hold any allegiance to the CPC. An example of a well-known group, until recently armed, that looks to Mao's principles is the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) who the current CPC has publicly opposed. Also, some Maoist groupings attack even some of the shifts and changes that occurred while Mao was still alive and in leadership, like his 1972 welcoming of Richard Nixon (see lesser evil for more on this event). The Chinese New Left, which encompasses these Maoists and other postmodernists is a current within China that seeks to "revert China to the socialist road" – i.e., to return China to the socialist system that existed before Deng Xiaoping's reforms.

Some of the opponents of the Party within the Chinese democracy movement have tended not to argue that a strong Chinese state is inherently bad, but rather that the Communist leadership is corrupt.[clarification needed] The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 represented a controversial point in criticism of the Chinese Communist Party by Chinese students within China.[30]

Another school of thought argues that the worst of the abuses took place decades ago, and that the current leaders were not only unconnected with them, but were actually victims of that era. They have also argued that, while the modern Communist Party may be flawed, it is comparatively better than previous regimes, with respect to improving the general standard of living, than any other government that has governed China in the past century and can be seen in a more favourable light compared with most governments of the developing nations. As a result, the CPC has recently taken sweeping measures to regain support from the countryside, with limited success.

In addition, some scholars contend that China has never operated under a decentralized democratic regime in its several thousand years of history, and therefore it can be argued that the present political structure, albeit not up to Western moral or political standards, is the best possible option when compared to the alternatives. A sudden transition to democracy, these experts contend, would result in the economic and political upheaval that occurred in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, and that by focusing on economic growth, China is setting the stage for a more gradual but sustainable transition to a more politically liberal system. This group sees mainland China as being similar to Franco's Spain in the 1960s, and South Korea during the 1970s when South Korea was run by corrupt, authoritarian regimes. This school of thought also brings together some unlikely political allies. Not only do most intellectuals within the Chinese government follow this school of thinking, but it is also the common belief held amongst pro-free trade liberals in the West.

Many observers from both within and outside of China have argued that the CPC has taken gradual steps towards democracy and transparency, hence arguing that it is best to give it time and room to evolve into a better government that is more responsive to its people rather than forcing an abrupt change with all the deleterious effects such a loss of stability might entail.[31] However, other observers (like Minxin Pei) question whether these steps are genuine efforts towards democratic reform or disingenuous measures by the CPC to retain power.[32]

Religion

The CPC is officially atheist and promotes atheism; however, in recent times it has become more open towards certain religions with a historical role in Chinese society and has eased off the outward suppression of certain religious practices but maintains a hardline in regards to many others[citation needed].

Current leadership

General secretary Hu Jinato

The Members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China are:

  1. Hu Jintao: CPC General Secretary, PRC President, Chairman of the Central Military Commission.
  2. Wu Bangguo: Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
  3. Wen Jiabao: Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China
  4. Jia Qinglin: Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
  5. Li Changchun: Chairman of the CPC Central Guidance Commission for Building Spiritual Civilization
  6. Xi Jinping: Top-ranked Secretary of CPC Central Secretariat, Vice President of the People's Republic of China, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission
  7. Li Keqiang: First-ranked Vice Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China
  8. He Guoqiang: Secretary of Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
  9. Zhou Yongkang: Secretary of Political and Legislative Affairs Committee

Members of the Politburo of the CPC Central committee: Wang Lequan, Wang Zhaoguo, Hui Liangyu, Liu Qi, Liu Yunshan, Li Changchun, Wu Yi, Wu Bangguo, Wu Guanzheng, Zhang Lichang, Zhang Dejiang, Luo Gan, Zhou Yongkang, Hu Jintao, Yu Zhengsheng, He Guoqiang, Jia Qinglin, Guo Boxiong, Cao Gangchuan, Zeng Qinghong, Zeng Peiyan, Wen Jiabao.

Alternate member of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee: Wang Gang

Members of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee: Zeng Qinghong, Liu Yunshan, Zhou Yongkang, He Guoqiang, Wang Gang, Xu Caihou, He Yong.

Historical leaders

Between 1921 and 1943 the Communist Party of China was headed by the General Secretary:

  • Chen Duxiu, General Secretary 1921–1922 and 1925–1927
  • Qu Qiubai, General Secretary 1927–1928
  • Xiang Zhongfa, General Secretary 1928–1931
  • Li Lisan, acting General Secretary 1929–1930
  • Wang Ming, acting General Secretary 1931
  • Bo Gu, a.k.a. Qin Bangxian, acting General Secretary 1932–1935
  • Zhang Wentian a.k.a. Luo Fu, acting General Secretary 1935–1943

In 1943 the position of Chairman of the Communist Party of China was created.

In 1982, the post of Chairman was abolished, and the General Secretary, at this time held by the same man as the post of Chairman, once again became the supreme office of the Party.

Funding

Though the CPC charges a limited due on its members for its expenditure, its total amount would be insignificant for the continued operation of this hegemony. The actual ratio of membership dues among the total amount is less than 1/11. While the budget constitutes of limited amount of donations and business operations owned by the party, its majority comes from the grant of national treasury[33], the same way that supports the other 8 subordinative registered parties, which making a bizzare exception among modern political parties. However, unlike the governmental departments, there is not even a de jure procedure for legal supervision of such grants as for now. Proposals for reformation has since been put aside untouched.

See also

General:

Lists:

References

  1. ^ New Approaches to the Study of Political Order in China, by Donald Clarke, Modern China, 2009
  2. ^ Goodman, David S. G.; Segal, Gerald. China deconstructs: politics, trade, and regionalism. Psychology Press. pp. 48. ISBN 9780415118330. 
  3. ^ a b Ralph H. Folsom, John H. Minan, Lee Ann Otto, Law and Politics in the People's Republic of China, West Publishing (St. Paul 1992), pp. 76–77.
  4. ^ "China Information: The Communist Party of China (CPC)". China Today. http://www.chinatoday.com/org/cpc/. Retrieved October 29, 2010. "The Communist Party of China (CPC) was founded on July 1, 1921 in Shanghai, China." 
  5. ^ Tatlow, Didi Kirsten (July 20, 2011). "On Party Anniversary, China Rewrites History". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/21/world/asia/21iht-letter21.html?_r=1&emc=tnt&tntemail1=y. Retrieved 21 July 2011. "The party’s true founding date is July 23, 1921, according to official documents." 
  6. ^ "Hu warns Chinese Communist Party". BBC. 1 July 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13985359. Retrieved 21 July 2011. "Although the Chinese are celebrating the anniversary on Friday, the party's first congress took place on 23 July." 
  7. ^ Gay, Kathlyn. [2008] (2008). 21st Century Books. Mao Zedong's China. ISBN 0822572850. pg 7
  8. ^ Moses, Russell Leigh (October 15, 2010). "China’s Communist Party Prepares for a Showdown". Wall Street Journal. http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2010/10/15/chinas-communist-party-prepares-for-a-showdown/. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  9. ^ "China 'will not have democracy' China will never adopt Western-style democracy with a multi-party system, its top legislator has said." BBC March 9, 2009, accessed October 9, 2010
  10. ^ Richburg, Keith (October 13, 2010). "Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao talks reform, but most countrymen never get to hear what he says". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/13/AR2010101306347.html. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  11. ^ The Communist Party of China
  12. ^ Xinhua - China's Communist Party members exceed 80 million
  13. ^ "CCP celebrates its 90th anniversary". Talking Points, July 10–20, 2011. USC US-China Institute. http://china.usc.edu/ShowArticle.aspx?articleID=2461. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  14. ^ Images of GO CPC in Session
  15. ^ Uchicago.edu
  16. ^ Chinavitae.com
  17. ^ The Jamestown Foundation
  18. ^ Press centre of the 17th CPC National Congress
  19. ^ Dirlik, Arif (1993). Anarchism in the Chinese Revolution. University of California Press. p. 16. 
  20. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911-1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. pp. 376. ISBN 0521255147. http://books.google.com/books?id=IAs9AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=warlords+and+muslims#v=snippet&q=fascist%20trotskyite%20plotters&f=false. Retrieved December 31, 2010. 
  21. ^ Harvey, David. 2005. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford, England, UK: Oxford University Press. Pp. 120
  22. ^ Greenhalgh, Susan; Winckler, Edwin A. 2005. Governing China's Population: From Leninist to Neoliberal Biopolitics. Stanford, California, USA: Stanford University Press.
  23. ^ Zhang, Xudong. Whither China?: Intellectual Politics in Contemporary China. Duke University Press. Pp. 52
  24. ^ Wong, John; Lai, Hongyi; Hongyi, Lai. China Into the Hu-Wen Era: Policy Initiatives and Challenges. Pp. 99 "...influence of neoliberalism has spread rapidly in China", "...neoliberalism had influenced not only college students but also economists and leading party cadres"...
  25. ^ See 2005 Pan-Blue visits to mainland China.
  26. ^ "Party’s Agenda in China Seems to Fall Flat" article by Michael Wines in The New York Times September 20, 2009
  27. ^ The tragedy of the 1925-1927 Chinese Revolution: Part 3 Article at a Trotskyist groupings website.
  28. ^ The death of China’s “red capitalist” and the 1949 revolution Article at a Trotskist groupings website.
  29. ^ T. J. Byres, Harbans Mukhia (1985). Feudalism and non-European societies. Psychology Press. p. 207. ISBN 0714632457. http://books.google.com/books?id=usOMZjTWrJ0C&pg=PA207&dq=china+stagnated+feudalism+political#v=onepage&q=guomindang%20marxists&f=false. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  30. ^ Zhang, L., Nathan, A. J., Link, P. & Schell O. The Tiananmen Papers: The Chinese Leadership's Decision to Use Force Against Their Own People – In Their Own Words. PublicAffairs, 2002. ISBN 978-1586481223.
  31. ^ Yang, Dali. Remaking the Chinese Leviathan. Stanford University Press, 2004.
  32. ^ An, Alex and An, David, China Brief, October 7, 2008. "Media control and the Erosion of an Accountable Party-State in China."
  33. ^ 孙国良. "建立规范的党务经费制度" (in Chinese). 中国选举与治理. http://www.chinaelections.org/newsinfo.asp?newsid=107807. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 

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