The more than 63 million-member Communist Party of China (CPC or CCP) is the largest political party in the world. Authoritarian in structure and ideology, it continues to dominate government. In periods of relative liberalization, the influence of people and organizations outside the formal party structure has tended to increase, particularly in the economic realm. This phenomenon is apparent today in the rapidly developing coastal region. Nevertheless, in all important governmental institutions in the PRC, party committees work to see that party and state policy guidance is followed and that non-party members do not create autonomous organizations that could challenge party rule. Party control is tightest in government offices and in urban economic, industrial, and cultural settings; it is considerably looser in the rural areas, where the majority of the people live.
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:
Every five years, the Chinese Communist Party holds a People's Political Consultative Conference of National Congress. Formally, the Congress serves two functions: to approve changes to the Party constitution 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 locus 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. There are usually seven Standing Committee members, but the Committee was expanded to nine at the 16th Party National Congress in 2002.
There are two other key organs of political power in the People's Republic of China: the formal government and the Central Military Commission (CMC). The 2.5-million strong People's Liberation Army exerts its influence of the Party through the CMC.
There are, in addition to decision-making roles, advisory committees, including the People's Political Consultative Conference, which replaced the Central Advisory Commission established by Deng Xiaoping.
In the 16th National Congress in November, 2002, President of the People's Republic of China and General Secretary Jiang Zemin announced several important policy changes as part of the his theory of the Three represents. China would remain "a people's democratic dictatorship" under the control of the Communist Party; however, entrepreneurs and people in unconventional occupations would have a voice in making Party decisions.
Members of the Political Bureau 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, Chen Liangyu, Luo Gan, Zhou Yongkang, Hu Jintao, Yu Zhengsheng, He Guoqiang, Jia Qinglin, Guo Boxiong, Huang Ju, Cao Gangchuan, Zeng Qinghong, Zeng Peiyan, Wen Jiabao.
Alternate member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee:
Members of Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee:
Zeng Qinghong, Liu Yunshan, Zhou Yongkang, He Guoqiang,Wang Gang, Xu Caihou, He Yong
The members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China include:
The post of Chairman was abolished in 1982. Previously, the General Secretary served more of a bureucratic role subordinate to the chairman. With the abolition of the post of Chairman, the General Secretary has become the most powerful position within the party.
For a list of National Congresses, see People's Political Consultative Conference.