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Friday, November 26, 2010

Overview of China's Political System

What led to the rise of Communism in China?
The rise of Communism in China is largely due to a man named Mao Zedong. He was poorly educated as a child but highly intelligent. Zedong left home and had become a member of the Nationalist Army as the Revolution began around 1911. He was soon introduced to and became powerfully influenced by the philosophies of Marxism. Following the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, (ridding China of all foreigners, massacring all missionaries and Christian converts), China's citizens experienced starvation, extreme poverty, and grief resulting in the loss of many innocent lives. This set the stage for the acceptance of men like Zedong and the godless Communistic philosophies of Karl Marx. After being under the rule of warlords around 1916, many Chinese began joining revolutionary groups and political parties in hopes of changing their country. During and after the Great Revolution (1914—1918), China saw several movements which strongly fostered a path into Communism. These times of chaos and despair played a large role in acceptance of Mao. He had the support of roughly 85 percent of the nation who were poor farmers. Zedong started a society for the study of Marxism, and in 1921 its members started the Chinese Communist Party. "Mao Zedong led the communists after the army successfully finished the Revolution by defeating the nationalists. Then once Mao was in control, the Chinese loved him and gave ample support in 'return for better changes for the peasants,'" says writer Christopher van de Merwe. The basis of traditional communism is common ownership and production. Karl Marx started communism as a journey into rational eschatology. But through (Lenin's) Soviet communism, this was discarded and only atheism and tyranny were left. Marx believed that a man's worth reflected his efforts and that the state of equality was one's "final stage in life." This philosophy shows Communism to be not only anti-Christian, but anti any divine deity.

The Post Mao Era
Mao's death in September 1976 removed a towering figure from Chinese politics and set off a scramble for succession. Former Minister of Pubic Security Hua Guofeng was quickly confirmed as Party Chairman and Premier. A month after Mao's death, Hua, backed by the PLA, arrested Jiang Qing and other members of the "Gang of Four." After extensive deliberations, the Chinese Communist Party leadership reinstated Deng Xiaoping to all of his previous posts at the 11th Party Congress in August 1977. Deng then led the effort to place government control in the hands of veteran party officials opposed to the radical excesses of the previous two decades.
The new, pragmatic leadership emphasized economic development and renounced mass political movements. At the pivotal December 1978 Third Plenum (of the 11th Party Congress Central Committee), the leadership adopted economic reform policies aimed at expanding rural income and incentives, encouraging experiments in enterprise autonomy, reducing central planning, and establishing direct foreign investment in China. The plenum also decided to accelerate the pace of legal reform, culminating in the passage of several new legal codes by the National People's Congress in June 1979.
After 1979, the Chinese leadership moved toward more pragmatic positions in almost all fields. The party encouraged artists, writers, and journalists to adopt more critical approaches, although open attacks on party authority were not permitted. In late 1980, Mao's Cultural Revolution was officially proclaimed a catastrophe. Hua Guofeng, a protege of Mao, was replaced as Premier in 1980 by reformist Sichuan party chief Zhao Ziyang and as party General Secretary in 1981 by the even more reformist Communist Youth League chairman Hu Yaobang.
Reform policies brought great improvements in the standard of living, especially for urban workers and for farmers who took advantage of opportunities to diversify crops and establish village industries. Literature and the arts blossomed, and Chinese intellectuals established extensive links with scholars in other countries.
At the same time, however, political dissent as well as social problems such as inflation, urban migration, and prostitution emerged. Although students and intellectuals urged greater reforms, some party elders increasingly questioned the pace and the ultimate goals of the reform program. In December of 1986, student demonstrators, taking advantage of the loosening political atmosphere, staged protests against the slow pace of reform, confirming party elders' fear that the current reform program was leading to social instability. Hu Yaobang, a protege of Deng and a leading advocate of reform, was blamed for the protests and forced to resign as CCP General Secretary in January 1987. Premier Zhao Ziyang was made General Secretary and Li Peng, former Vice Premier and Minister of Electric Power and Water Conservancy, was made Premier.

Major stipulations in the Constitution in regard to China’s political system

Major political principles in China

(1) The Communist Party of China is the country’s sole political party in power.

(2) The socialist system -The socialist system led by the working class and based on the alliance of the workers and farmers is the fundamental system of the People’s Republic of China

(3) All rights belong to the people

(4) The fundamental task and goals of the state-To concentrate on the socialist modernization drive along the road of building socialism with Chinese characteristics;

(5) Democratic centralism -The organizational principle for the state organs is democratic centralism.

(6) The armed forces of the people- The armed forces of the People’s Republic of China belong to the people.

(7) To govern the country through the rule of law -. The rule of law is practiced to build China into a socialist country with the rule of law.

(8) The system of ethnic regional autonomy -All ethnic groups are equal.

The position and rights of the citizen in the political life of the country

(1) All citizens are equal before the law.

(2) The right to vote and stand for election- All citizens who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote and stand for election, regardless of ethnic status, race, sex, occupation, family background, religious belief, education, property status or length of residence, except persons deprived of political rights according to law.

(3) The freedom of speech and thought -All citizens enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, or assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration

(4) The freedom of religious belief -Citizens enjoy the freedom of religious belief.

(5) Inviolable freedom of the person -No citizen may be arrested except with the approval or by decision of a people’s procuratorate or by decision of a people’s court, and arrests must be made by a public security organ. Unlawful detention or deprivation or restriction of citizens’ freedom of the person by other means is prohibited, and unlawful search of the person of citizens is prohibited. The personal dignity of citizens is inviolable, so are their residences.

(6) Freedom of correspondence -The freedom and privacy of correspondence of citizens are protected by law. No organization or individual may, on any ground, infringe upon citizens’ freedom and privacy of correspondence, except in cases where, to meet the needs of state security or of criminal investigation, public security or procuratorial organs are permitted to censor correspondence in accordance with procedures prescribed by law.

(7) The right to criticize and make suggestions -Citizens have the right to criticize and make suggestions regarding any state organ or functionary. They have the right to make to relevant state organs complaints or charges against, or exposures of, any state organ or functionary for violation of the law or dereliction of duty.

(8) The right to compensation -Citizens who have suffered losses as a result of infringement of their civic rights by any state organ or functionary have the right to compensation in accordance with law.

(9) The right to work -Citizens have the right as well as duty to work. The state should, through various channels, create conditions for employment, enhance occupational safety and health, improve working conditions and, on the basis of expanded production, increase remuneration for work and welfare benefits.

(10) The right to welfare -Citizens have the right to material assistance from the state and society when they are old, ill or disabled. -The state and society ensure the livelihood of disabled members of the armed forces, provide pensions to the families of martyrs and give preferential treatment to the families of military personnel. -The state and society help make arrangements for the work, livelihood and education of the blind, deaf-mutes and other handicapped citizens.

(11) The right to receive education -Citizens have the right and duty to receive education.

(12) The freedom to engage in academic studies and literary creation -Citizens have the freedom to engage in scientific research, literary and artistic creation and other cultural pursuits.

(13) The equality of men and women -Women enjoy equal rights with men in all spheres of life, in political, economic, cultural, social and family life.

(14) Both husband and wife have the duty to practice family planning.

(15) Citizens have the obligation to pay taxes in accordance with the law.

(16) Citizens have the obligation to perform military service and join the militia in accordance with the law.

The People's Republic of China

On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China in Beijing. The new government assumed control of a people exhausted by two generations of war and social conflict, and an economy devastated by high inflation and the disruption of the transportation and communications systems. Chinese communist leaders quickly installed a new political and economic order modeled on the Soviet example. In the early 1950s, China achieved impressive economic and social rehabilitation. The government gained popular support by curbing inflation, restoring the economy, and rebuilding many war-damaged industrial plants. The CCP's authority reached into almost every phase of Chinese life. Party control was assured by strong, politically loyal security and military forces, a government apparatus responsive to party direction, and ranks of party members in labor, women's, and other mass organizations.

1989 Student Movement and Tiananmen Square
After Zhao became the party General Secretary, the economic and political reforms he had championed came under increasing attack. His proposal in May 1988 to accelerate price reform led to widespread popular complaints about rampant inflation and gave opponents of rapid reform the opening to call for greater centralization of economic controls and stricter prohibitions against Western influence. This precipitated a political debate which grew more heated through the winter of 1988-89. The death of Hu Yaobang on April 15, 1989, coupled with growing economic hardship caused by high inflation, provided the backdrop for a large scale protest movement by students, intellectuals, and other parts of a disaffected urban population. University students and other citizens in Beijing camped out at Tiananmen Square to mourn Hu's death and to protest against those who would slow reform. Their protests, which grew despite government efforts to contain them, called for an end to official corruption and for defense of freedoms guaranteed by the Chinese Constitution. Protests also spread through many other cities, including Shanghai and Guangzhou. Martial law was declared on May 20, 1989. Late on July 3 and early on the morning of June 4, military units were brought into Beijing. They used armed force to clear demonstrators from the streets. There are no official estimates of deaths in Beijing, but most observers believe that casualties numbered in the hundreds. After June 4, while foreign governments expressed horror at the brutal suppression of the demonstrators, the central government eliminated remaining sources of organized opposition, detained large numbers of protesters, and required political reeducation not only for students but also for large numbers of party cadre and government officials. Following the resurgence of conservatives in the aftermath of June 4, economic reform slowed until given new impetus by Deng Xiaoping's dramatic visit to southern China in early 1992. Deng's renewed push for a market-oriented economy received official sanction at the 14th Party Congress later in the year as a number of younger, reform-minded leaders began their rise to top positions. Deng and his supporters argued that managing the economy in a way that increased living standards should be China's primary policy objective, even if "capitalist" measures were adopted. Subsequent to the visit, the Communist Party Politburo publicly issued an endorsement of Deng's policies of economic openness. Though not completely eschewing political reform, China has consistently placed overwhelming priority on the opening of its economy. Third Generation of Leaders Deng's health deteriorated in the years prior to his death in 1997. During that time, President Jiang Zemin and other members of his generation gradually assumed control of the day-to-day functions of government. This "third generation" leadership governs collectively with President Jiang at the center. In March 1998, Jiang was re-elected President during the 9th National People's Congress. Premier Li Peng was constitutionally required to step down from that post. He was elected to the chairmanship of the National People's Congress. Zhu Rongji was selected to replace Li as Premier. China is firmly committed to economic reform and opening to the outside world. The Chinese leadership has identified reform of state industries as a government priority. Government strategies for achieving that goal include large-scale privatization of unprofitable state-owned enterprises. The leadership has also downsized the government bureaucracy.


Chinese Communist Party
The 63 million member CCP, authoritarian in structure and ideology, continues to dominate government and society. Nevertheless, China's population, geographical vastness, and social diversity frustrate attempts to rule by fiat from Beijing. Theoretically, the party's highest body is the Party Congress, which is supposed to meet at least once every 5 years. The primary organs of power in the Communist Party include:
-- The seven-member Politburo Standing Committee;
-- The Politburo, consisting of 22 full members (including the members of the Politburo Standing Committee);
-- The Secretariat, the principal administrative mechanism of the CCP, headed by the General Secretary;
-- The Military Commission;
-- The Discipline Inspection Commission, which is charged with rooting out corruption and malfeasance among party cadres.

The basic principle of democratic centralism

(1) The individual Party member is subordinate to a Party organization, the minority is subordinate to the majority, the lower level organization is subordinate to the higher level, each organization and all members of the whole Party are subordinate to the Party’s National Congress and the Central Committee.

(2) Leading bodies at various levels of the Party, except for their agencies and for leading Party groups in non-Party organizations, shall all be elected.

(3) The Party’s supreme leading organ is the National Party Congress and the Central Committee it elects. The Party’s leading bodies at all levels in the localities are the Party congresses at these levels and the committees they elect. Party committees at all levels are accountable and report work to the congresses at their respective levels.

(4) Party organizations at a higher level shall frequently listen to the opinions of lower organizations and Party members in general and solve their problems without delay. Lower Party organizations shall ask for instructions from and report on their work to higher organizations, and also be responsible for solving problems independently within the scope of their official duties. Lower and higher organizations shall keep each other informed, and support and supervise each other. Party organizations at all levels shall help Party members to have a better understanding of and more participation in inner-Party affairs.

(5) Party committees at all levels carry out a system that combines collective leadership with divisions of work and personal responsibility. Major issues shall be discussed and decided collectively by the Party committee; and committee members shall earnestly perform their duties in accordance with the collective decisions and divisions of work.

(6) The Party prohibits personality cult in any form. There must be a guarantee for the activities of Party leaders to be placed under the supervision of the Party and people, while at the same time safeguarding the prestige of all leaders representing the interests of the Party and people.

State Structure
The Chinese Government has always been subordinate to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP); its role is to implement party policies. The primary organs of state power are the National People's Congress (NPC), the President, and the State Council. Members of the State Council include Premier and a variable number of vice premiers (now four), five state councilors (protocol equal of vice premiers but with narrower portfolios), and 29 ministers and heads of State Council commissions. When the NPC is not in session, its permanent organ, the Standing Committee, exercises state power.

The National People’s Congress

The composition and term of office of the NPC

The NPC is composed of deputies elected from the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government and deputies elected by the armed forces.

Deputies to the NPC are organized into delegations according to the units they are elected from. Each delegation is headed y a chairman and vice chairmen.

All the ethnic minorities are entitled to appropriate representation.

The NPC is elected for a term of five years.

The Standing Committee of the NPC must ensure the completion of election of deputies to the succeeding NPC two months prior to the expiration of the term of office of the current NPC. Should extraordinary circumstances prevent such an election, it may be postponed and the term of office of the current NPC extended by the decision of a vote of more than two-thirds of all those on the Standing Committee of the current NPC. The election of deputies to the succeeding NPC must be completed within one year after the termination of such extraordinary circumstances.

The NPC meets in session once a year and is convened by its Standing Committee.

A session of the NPC may be convened at any time the Standing Committee deems it necessary or when more than one-fifth of the deputies to the NPC so propose.

The functions and powers of the NPC

The NPC exercises the following functions and powers:

(1) to amend the Constitution;

The amendment of the Constitution shall be proposed by the Standing Committee of the NPC or more than one-fifth of the deputies to the NPC and can only be adopted by a majority of no less than two-thirds of the deputies to the NPC.

(2) to supervise the enforcement of the Constitution;

(3) to enact and amend basic laws governing criminal offences, civil affairs, the state organs and other matters;

(4) to elect the President and the Vice President of the People’s Republic of China;

(5) to decided on the choice of the Premier of the State Council upon nomination by the President, and on the choice of the Vice Premiers, State Councilors, Ministers in charge of ministries or commissions, the Auditor-General and the Secretary-general of the State Council upon nomination by the Premier;

(6) to elect the Chairman of the Central Military commission and, upon nomination by the Chairman, to decide on the choice of all other members of the Central Military Commission;

(7) to elect the President of the Supreme People’s Court;

(8) to elect the Procurator-General of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate;

(9) to examine and approve the plan for national economic and social development and the report on its implementation;

(10) to examine and approve the state budget and the report on its implementation;

(11) to alter or annul inappropriate decisions of the Standing Committee of the NPC;

(12) to approve the establishment of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government;

(13) to decide on the establishment of special administrative regions and the systems to be instituted there;

(14) to decide on questions of war and peace; and

(15) to exercise such other functions and powers as the highest organ of state power should exercise.

(16) The NPC has the right to remove the following functionaries:

1) The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the People’s Republic of China;

2) The Premier of the State Council, the Vice Premiers, State Councilors, Ministers in charge of the ministries or commissions, the Auditor-General and the Secretary-general of the State Council;

3) The Chairman, Vice Chairman and other members of the Central Military Commission;

4) The President of the Supreme People’s Court; and

5) The Procurator-General of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.

The Standing Committee of the NPC

The Standing Committee of the NPC is the permanent organ of the NPC. When the NPC is not in session, the Standing Committee performs the right of the highest organ of state power. It is responsible to and reports to the NPC.

Local people’s congresses and their standing committees

People’s congresses are established in provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, autonomous prefectures, counties, autonomous counties, cities, municipal districts, townships, ethnic townships and towns. Standing committees are established at people’s congresses at and above the county level.

The term of office of local people’s congresses

The term of office of people’s congresses of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government and cities divided into districts is five years.

The term of office of the people’s congresses of counties, autonomous counties, cities not divided into districts, municipal districts, townships, ethnic townships, and towns is three years.

The functions and powers of local people’s congresses

Local people’s congresses at various levels ensure the observance and implementation of the Constitution and the law and the administrative rules and regulations in their respective administrative areas. Within the limits of their authority as prescribed by law, they adopt and issue resolutions and examine and decide on plans for local economic and cultural development and for the development of public services.

Local people’s congresses at and above the county level shall examine and approve the plans for economic and social development and the budgets of their respective administrative areas and examine and approve the reports on their implementation. They have the power to alter or annul inappropriate decisions of their own standing committees.

The people’s congresses of provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, of cities which are capitals of the provinces or autonomous regions as well as large cities approved by the State Council have the right to adopt local regulations in the light of their regional political, economic and cultural characteristics.

Local people’s congresses at their respective levels elect and have the power to recall governors and deputy governors, or mayors and deputy mayors, or heads and deputy heads of counties, districts, townships and towns.

Local people’s congresses at and above the county level elect and have the power to recall presidents of people’s courts and chief procurators of people’s procuratorates at the corresponding level.

The election or recall of chief procurators of people’s procuratorates shall be reported to the chief procurators of the people’s procucratorates at the next higher level for submission to the standing committees of the people’s congresses at the corresponding level for approval.

The composition, functions and powers of the standing committees of local people’s congresses

The standing committee of a local people’s congress at and above the county level is composed of a chairman, vice chairmen and members, and is responsible and reports on its work to the people’s congress at the corresponding level.

A local people’s congress at or above the county level elects and has the power to recall members of its standing committee.

No one on the standing committee of a local people’s congress at or above the county level shall hold office in state administrative, judicial and procuratorial organs.

The President of the People’s Republic of China is the head of state for China.

The position and function of the President

The President represents the People’s Republic of China

The election of the President

Qualifications -Citizens of the People’s Republic of China who have the right to vote and to stand for election and who have reached the age of 45 are eligible for election as President.

The election and removal process

The President of the People’s Republic of China is elected by the National People’s Congress.

Normally one candidate to the Presidency is nominated by the Presidium of the National People’s Congress for election.

The National People’s Congress has the power to remove the President.

Term of the Presidency

The President serves for a term of five years and can serve no more than two consecutive terms.

The basic functions and powers of the President

1. Domestic functions and powers

(1) Promulgating statutes -After laws are adopted by the NPC or its Standing Committee, they are signed by the President to promulgation before they become effective.

The President does not enjoy the power of veto and has to promulgate all laws adopted by the NPC or its Standing Committee.

Laws shall not become effective before being signed for promulgation by the President.

(2) Issuing orders -According to decisions of the NPC or its Standing Committee, the President appoints or removes the Premier, Vice Premiers, State Councilors, Ministers in charge of ministries and commissions, the Auditor-general and Secretary-general of the State Council; confers state medals and titles of honorary; issues orders of special amnesty; proclaims martial law; proclaims a state of war’ and issues mobilization orders.

2. Functions and powers in foreign affairs

(1) Receiving foreign diplomatic representatives -The President receives foreign diplomatic representatives on behalf of the People’s Republic of China.

(2) Appointing and Recalling plenipotentiary representatives abroad -In pursuance of the decisions of the Standing Committee of the NPC, the Presidents appoints or recalls plenipotentiary representatives abroad.

(3) Ratifying or abrogating treaties and important agreements -In pursuance of the decisions of the Standing Committee of the NPC, the President ratifies or abrogates treaties and important agreements concluded with foreign states.

Treaties and agreements concluded with foreign states by the State Council or its organs are promulgated by the President, upon decision of the NPC or its Standing Committee on whether to approve or annul them.

State Council

The central administrative organ is the State Council of the People's Republic of China.
The State Council is the highest administrative organ of the state.

The administrative power of the State Council spreads over the whole country

The State Council, or the Central People's Government, of the People's Republic of China is the executive body of the highest organ of state power and the highest organ of state administration.
The State Council exercises unified leadership over local state administrative organs at various levels throughout the country, regulates the specific division of power and function of the state administrative organs at the central level and the provincial, autonomous regional and municipal level.

The composition of the State Council

The State Council is composed of the Premier, Vice Premiers, Ministers in charge of ministries, Ministers in charge of commissions, the Auditor-general and the Secretary-general.
The Premier is nominated by the President of the People's Republic of China, decided by the NPC, appointed and removed by the President.
The Vice Premiers, State Councilors, Ministers, Auditor-general and Secretary-general of the State Council are nominated by the Premier, decided by the NPC, appointed and removed by the President of the People's Republic of China. When the NPC is not in session, the choice of State Councilors, Ministers, Auditor-general and Secretary-general are decided by the Standing Committee of the NPC according to nomination by the Premier and appointed or removed by the President of the People's Republic of China.
The State Council serves for a term of five years. The Premier, Vice Premiers and State Councilors shall serve no more than two consecutive terms.
The Vice Premiers assist the Premier in his work.
Entrusted by the Premier or the executive meeting of the State Council, State Councilors may take charge of work in certain aspects or specially important tasks. They may also represent the State Council in conducting foreign affairs.
Under the leadership of the Premier, the Secretary-general of the State Council is in charge of the day-to-day work of the state Council.
The Auditor-general is in charge of the supervision of state revenue and expenditure, and other financial and monetary activities.

The functions and powers of the State Council

1.to adopt administrative measures, enact administrative rules and regulations and issue decisions and orders in accordance with the Constitution and the law;
(2) to submit proposals to the National People's Congress or its Standing Committee;
(4) to formulate the tasks and responsibilities of the ministries and commissions of the State Council, to exercise unified leadership over the work of the ministries and commissions and to direct all other administrative work of a national character that does not fall within the jurisdiction of the ministries and commissions;
(5) to exercise unified leadership over the work of local organs of state administration at various levels throughout the country, and to formulate the detailed division of functions and powers between the Central Government and the organs of state administration of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government;
(6) to draw up and implement the plan for national economic and social development and the state budget;
(7) to direct and administer economic affairs and urban and rural development;
(8) to direct and administer the affairs of education, science, culture, public health, physical culture and family planning;
(9) to direct and administer civil affairs, public security, judicial administration, supervision and other related matters;
(10) to conduct foreign affairs and conclude treaties and agreements with foreign states;
(11) to direct and administer the building of national defense;
(12) to direct and administer affairs concerning the ethnic groups and to safeguard the equal rights of ethnic minorities and the right to autonomy of the ethnic autonomous areas;
(13) to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals residing abroad and protect the lawful rights and interests of returned overseas Chinese and of the family members of Chinese nationals residing abroad;
(14) to alter or annul inappropriate orders, directives and regulations issued by the ministries or commissions;
(15) to alter or annul inappropriate decisions and orders issued by local organs of state administration at various levels;
(16) to approve the geographic division of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government, and to approve the establishment and geographic divisions of autonomous prefectures, counties, autonomous counties and cities;
(17) to decided on the imposition of martial law in parts of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government;
(18) to examine and decide on the size of administrative organs and, in accordance with the law, to appoint or remove administrative officials, train them, appraise their performance and reward or punish them; and
(19) to exercise such other functions and powers as the National People's Congress or its Standing Committee may assign to it.

The economy of the People's Republic of China is the second largest in the world after that of the United States with a GDP of $7.8 trillion(2008) when measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis. It is the third largest in the world after the US and Japan with a nominal GDP of US$3.5 trillion(2007) when measured in exchange-rate terms.[5] China has been the fastest-growing major nation for the past quarter of a century with an average annual GDP growth rate above 10%.[6] China's per capita income has grown at an average annual rate of more than 8% over the last three decades drastically reducing poverty, but this rapid growth has been accompanied by rising income inequalities.[7] The country's per capita income is classified in the lower middle category by world standards, at about $2,660 (nominal, 104th of 179 countries/economies), and $5,300 (PPP, 105th of 179 countries/economies) in 2007, according to the IMF.

Despite China's size, the abundance of its resources, and having about 20% of the world's population living within its borders, for the last two centuries its role in the world economy has been relatively small. Since the late 1970s, however, the Chinese government has reformed the economy from a Soviet-type centrally planned economy that was largely closed to international trade to a more market-oriented economy that has a rapidly growing private sector and is a major player in the global economy. Since being introduced, these reforms have helped lift millions of its citizens out of poverty, bringing the poverty rate down from 53% in 1981 to 8% in 2001.[8] The Chinese Government calls their economic system "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" but what this means is disputed. Some consider it as a type of mixed economy, others as capitalism however the fact that there is state ownership of the commanding heights of the economy indicates that China is a form of planned economy with private and joint venture capital playing an important but subordinate role to the state. [9] Although some say only a third of the economy is now directly state-controlled, the sectors in the hands of the state are generally the largest and most important industries. Estimates vary for the percentage of the private sector composition of GDP, the OECD estimate in 2005 was 59.9% [10]. The public sector is dominated by 159 State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) [11]under central government control in such key areas as utilities, heavy industries, and energy resources. These SOEs own and control tens of thousands of subsidiary firms. Local city, township and village governments also own state or collective enterprises at a local level.

Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, the economic reforms initially began with the shift of farming work to a system of household responsibility to start the phase out of collectivized agriculture, and later expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices; fiscal decentralization; increased autonomy for state enterprises that increased the authority of local government officials and plant managers in industry thereby permitting a wide variety of private enterprise in services and light manufacturing; the foundation of a diversified banking system but with overwhelming domination by state banks; the development of stock market; the rapid growth of the non-state sector, and the opening of the economy to increased foreign trade and foreign investment. China has generally implemented reforms in a gradualist fashion, although there is increasing evidence that state control was increased in the 1990s[, the sale of equity in China's largest state banks to foreign investors and refinements in foreign exchange and bond markets in mid-2000s. As its role in world trade has steadily grown, its importance to the international economy has also increased apace. China's foreign trade has grown faster than its GDP for the past 25 years.[14] China's growth comes both from huge state investment in infrastructure and heavy industry and from private sector expansion in light industry instead of just exports, whose role in the economy appears to have been significantly overestimated. The smaller but highly concentrated public sector, dominated by 159 large SOEs, provided key inputs from utilities, heavy industries, and energy resources that facilitated private sector growth and drove investment, the foundation of national growth. In 2008 thousands of private companies closed down and the government announced plans to expand the public sector to take up the slack caused by the global financial crisis in the capitalist world.

The government's decision to permit China to be used by multinational corporations as an export platform has made the country a major competitor to other Asian export-led economies, such as South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia.

China has emphasized raising personal income and consumption and introducing new management systems to help increase productivity. The government has also focused on foreign trade as a major vehicle for economic growth. The restructuring of the economy and resulting efficiency gains have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978. Some economists believe that Chinese economic growth has been in fact understated during much of the 1990s and early 2000s, failing to fully factor in the growth driven by the private sector and that the extent at which China is dependent on exports is exaggerated.[ Nevertheless, key bottlenecks continue to constrain growth. Available energy is insufficient to run at fully-installed industrial capacity,[ the transport system is inadequate to move sufficient quantities of such critical items as coal,[19] and the communications system[ cannot yet fully meet the needs of an economy of China's size and complexity.

The two most important sectors of the economy have traditionally been agriculture and industry, which together employ more than 70 percent of the labor force and produce more than 60 percent of GDP. The two sectors have differed in many respects. Technology, labor productivity, and incomes have advanced much more rapidly in industry than in agriculture. Agricultural output has been vulnerable to the effects of weather, while industry has been more directly influenced by the government. The disparities between the two sectors have combined to form an economic-cultural-social gap between the rural and urban areas, which is a major division in Chinese society. China is the world's largest producer of rice and is among the principal sources of wheat, corn (maize), tobacco, soybeans, peanuts (groundnuts), and cotton. The country is one of the world's largest producers of a number of industrial and mineral products, including cotton cloth, tungsten, and antimony, and is an important producer of cotton yarn, coal, crude oil, and a number of other products. Its mineral resources are probably among the richest in the world but are only partially developed. Although China has acquired some highly sophisticated production facilities through trade and also has built a number of advanced engineering plants capable of manufacturing an increasing range of sophisticated equipment, including nuclear weapons and satellites, most of its industrial output still comes from relatively backward and ill-equipped factories. The technological level and quality standards of its industry as a whole are still fairly low.

Other major problems concern the labor force and the pricing system. There is large-scale underemployment in both urban and rural areas, and the fear of the disruptive effects of major, explicit unemployment is strong. The prices of certain key commodities, especially of industrial raw materials and major industrial products, are determined by the state. In most cases, basic price ratios were set in the 1950s and are often irrational in terms of current production capabilities and demands. China's increasing integration with the international economy and its growing efforts to use market forces to govern the domestic allocation of goods have exacerbated this problem. Over the years, large subsidies were built into the price structure, and these subsidies grew substantially in the late 1970s and 1980s.[22] By the early 1990s these subsidies began to be eliminated, in large part due to China's admission into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, which carried with it requirements for further economic liberalization and deregulation. China's ongoing economic transformation has had a profound impact not only on China but on the world. The market-oriented reforms China has implemented over the past two decades have unleashed individual initiative and entrepreneurship, whilst retaining state domination of the economy

Great Leap Forward

Failed industrialization campaign undertaken by the Chinese communists between 1958 and early 1960. Mao Zedong hoped to develop labour-intensive methods of industrialization that would emphasize manpower rather than the gradual purchase of heavy machinery, thereby putting to use China's dense population and obviating the need to accumulate capital. Rather than building large new factories, he proposed developing backyard steel furnaces in every village.Rural people were organized into communes where agricultural and political decisions emphasized ideological purity rather than expertise. The program was implemented so hastily and zealously that many errors occurred; these were exacerbated by a series of natural disasters and the withdrawal of Soviet technical personnel. China's agriculture was severely disrupted, causing widespread famine in 1958–62. By early 1960 the government had begun to repeal the Great Leap Forward; private plots were returned to peasants, and expertise began to be emphasized again

The Hundred Flowers Campaign, also termed the Hundred Flowers Movement, is the period referring to a brief interlude in the People's Republic of China from 1956 to 1957 during which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) encouraged a variety of views and solutions to national policy issues, launched under the slogan: "Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land."The first part of the phrase is often mistranslated and remembered in the west as, "let a thousand flowers bloom" and used to refer to alleged deliberate attempts to flush out dissidents by encouraging them to show themselves as critical of the regime, before wiping them out. This view is supported by author Jung Chang, who states that the campaign was a political trap, and that Mao persecuted those who had views different from the party. This view has also been refuted, notably because Premier Zhou Enlai played a large role in the campaign. The ideological crackdown following the campaign's failure re-imposed Maoist orthodoxy in public expression.

Mass Line is the political/organizational/leadership method developed by Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China (CPC) during the Chinese revolution. Although the phrase 'the mass line' was popularized in China by the CPC, the method has its roots in the political practice, and to a lesser extent the theoretical writings, of Marx and Lenin. Mao developed it into a coherent organizing methodology that encompasses philosophy, strategy, tactics, leadership and organizational theory that has been applied by many Communists subsequent to the Chinese revolution.

Mao criticized J.V. Stalin for having no faith in the peasantry and the masses of people, being mechanical in his understanding of the development of socialism, and not actively engaging the masses in the struggle for socialism.

"Politics in command" and the "mass line" are not stressed. There is no discussion of "walking on two legs," and individual material interest is onesidedly emphasized. Material incentives are proclaimed and individualism is far too prominent. A Critique of Soviet Economics Mao Zedong

The Mass Line is a method of leadership that seeks to learn from the masses and immerse the political leadership in the concerns and conditions of the masses. Mao's maxim was "From the masses, to the masses." The process includes investigating the conditions of people, learning about and participating in their struggles, gathering ideas from them, and creating a plan of action based on these ideas and concerns of the people, and also based on an analysis of the objective conditions and in light of the revolutionary goal. Thus the mass line also seeks to raise the consciousness of the people beyond petty or narrow self interest to that of a politically communist consciousness, and to promote the revolutionary transformation of society step by step.

Maoists hold that the mass line method of leadership is the only way to truly connect up with the people and to serve them, and to do so in a fashion that is not only quite effective but deeply democratic. Some critics of Maoism consider the mass line to be a form of populism, or even a way of "tailing after the masses" or bowing down to the "spontaneity" of the masses, a criticism that Lenin had leveled against the reformists in the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party in What Is To Be Done?. But the mass line, though based in the first part on the ideas and desires of the masses, is also based on a concrete analysis of the objective situation and a determination to transform society through social revolution. Mao compared this to a factory which processes raw materials into a finished product. In the same way, he said, a party or group using the mass line must process the raw ideas of the masses in light of Marxist theory and a careful investigation of the objective situation. This is why using the mass line is not at all the same as populism.


Variation of Marxism and Leninism developed by Mao Zedong. It diverged from its antecedents in its agrarian focus: Mao substituted the dormant power of the peasantry (discounted by traditional Marxists) for the urban proletariat that China largely lacked. The Maoist faith in revolutionary enthusiasm and the positive value of the peasants' lack of sophistication as opposed to technological or intellectual elites fueled the Great Leap Forward of the 1950s and the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and '70s. The disastrous consequences of both upheavals led Mao's successors to abandon Maoism as counterproductive to economic growth and social order. Maoism was embraced by insurgent guerrilla groups worldwide; under the Khmer Rouge it became Cambodia's national ideology.

Red Guards

Paramilitary units of radical university and high-school students formed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Responding in 1966 to Mao Zedong's call to revitalize the revolutionary spirit of the Chinese Communist Party, they went so far as to attempt to purge the country of its pre-Communist culture. With a membership in the millions, they attacked and persecuted local party leaders, schoolteachers, and other intellectuals. By early 1967 they had overthrown party authorities in many localities. Internal strife ensued as different units argued over which among them best represented Maoism. In 1968 their disruption of industrial production and urban life led the government to redirect them to the countryside, where the movement gradually subsided

Cultural Revolution-Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

(1966–76) Upheaval launched by Mao Zedong to renew the spirit of revolution in China. Mao feared urban social stratification in a society as traditionally elitist as China and also believed that programs instituted to correct for the failed Great Leap Forward showed that his colleagues lacked commitment to the revolution. He organized China's urban youths into groups called the Red Guards, shut down China's schools, and encouraged the Red Guards to attack all traditional values and “bourgeois things.” They soon splintered into zealous rival groups, and in 1968 Mao sent millions of them to the rural hinterland, bringing some order to the cities. Within the government, a coalition of Mao's associates fought with more moderate elements, many of whom were purged, were verbally attacked, were physically abused, and subsequently died; leaders Liu Shaoqi and Lin Biao both died under mysterious circumstances. From 1973 to Mao's death in 1976, politics shifted between the hard-line Gang of Four and the moderates headed by Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping. After Mao's death the Cultural Revolution was brought to a close. By that time, nearly three million party members and countless wrongfully purged citizens awaited reinstatement. The Cultural Revolution subsequently was repudiated in China. See also Jiang Qing

May Fourth Movement (1919), first mass movement in modern Chinese history. On May 4, about 5,000 university students in Beijing protested the Versailles Conference (Apr. 28, 1919) awarding Japan the former German leasehold of Jiaozhou, Shandong prov. Demonstrations and strikes spread to Shanghai, and a nationwide boycott of Japanese goods followed. The May Fourth Movement began a patriotic outburst of new urban intellectuals against foreign imperialists and warlords warlord, in modern Chinese history, autonomous regional military commander. In the political chaos following the death (1916) of republican China's first president and commander in chief, Yüan Shih-kai , central authority fell to the provincial military Intellectuals identified the political establishment with China's failure in the modern era, and hundreds of new periodicals published attacks on Chinese traditions, turning to foreign ideas and ideologies. The movement split into leftist and liberal wings. The latter advocated gradual cultural reform as exemplified by Hu Shih Hu Shih (h who interpreted the pragmatism of John Dewey, while leftists like Chen Duxiu Chen Duxiu or Ch'en Tu-hsiu (both: chŭn d and Li Dazhao Li Dazhao (lē dä-jou), 1888–1927, professor of history and librarian at Beijing Univ. introduced Marxism and advocated political action. The movement also popularized vernacular literature, promoted political participation by women, and educational reforms.


China's history in the 20th century has been marked by occupation and civil war. This experience has fueled its strong desire for Great Power status and at the same time put it decades behind the West in technological development. Under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, China has undergone a transformation, which has produced a tremendous economic turnaround. China is now a major trading nation which has built up an impressive foreign currency holding and is predicted to be the world's largest economy by 2010. The Chinese leadership has recognized that economic reform is the only way to achieve the status it desires on its own terms.

Despite not facing any threat to its security, China has embarked on a path of radical change to both its military strategy and capabilities. The realization in the 1980s that the Soviet Union was no longer a threat for major conflict and the Gulf War have had a profound effect on Chinese military thinking. The strategic focus has now shifted to the offensive. The main theme is power projection and the ability to fight a modern war with advanced technology.

China has also used its economic boom and change in military strategy to commence an ambitious military modernization program. The PLAAF is acquiring some of the most advanced fighter/bomber aircraft and weapons in the world. They are also purchasing state of the art air defence systems and developing supporting aircraft roles such as in-flight refueling and airborne early warning. The PLAN is also upgrading its fleet with power projection in mind. China has an active submarine replacement program in place and has purchased Russian Kilo-class submarines. New surface vessels are being built and the PLAN is paying more attention to replenishment at sea capability. While the PLA has not received the same attention as the navy or air force, it has formed a large RRU of well-equipped soldiers. China has also continued to upgrade its nuclear weapons and has developed a solid fuel missile with a MIRV capability. A space program has also been active and there is a program to trial a space shuttle by 2005.

It is clear that China's economic and military transformation has been aimed at challenging the balance of power that has existed in the region since World War Two. China has demonstrated hegemonic intentions through its territorial claims in the South China Sea and in its recent actions against Taiwan. A more aggressive and expansionist policy may occur as China faces more pressure to provide food and resources for one quarter of the world's population. If the current transformation continues, China will have, in the future, the economic and military might to threaten both the countries in the region and the West. The closer ties with Russia have already resulted in a strategic relationship that is designed to counter the influence of the US. How long this relationship will be required is unknown. With its ongoing effort to develop a high technology economic system, China has set the foundation that will likely ensure that it is much stronger than the former Soviet Union and perhaps even more powerful than the US.

A communist government, that has demonstrated that it is unhappy with its status in the world, also rules China. While Western governments have devoted a great deal of time and thought on how to treat China, their policies have not had any effect on the current regime's respect for human rights or democracy. The fundamental issue is that the stability of the CCP itself represents a concern for both Asia-Pacific and world security. Any movement by the West to promote human rights and democracy in China represents a direct threat to the existing regime. The brutality of the Tiananmen massacre should serve as a warning of the importance the CCP places on maintaining power. China more and more sees itself as a counter to Western values and way of life. In its effort to emerge as a great power, China has changed its security strategy from defensive to offensive. If China wants to be a dominant world power, and chooses to act based on the example of the former Soviet Union, it will have the potential to seriously undermine the current world order.

The economic and military transformation of China is well underway. It is critical that the West not be naive to its intentions. With its ambitions concerning territorial claims, the challenges it will face providing for its population and the insecure and suspicious nature of its communist government, Canada and the West face a potentially serious threat from China in the future.

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