Communist Party of China

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Communist Party of China
Chairman Hu Jintao
Founded July 1, 1921 (official)
July 23, 1921 (de facto)
Headquarters Zhongnanhai, Beijing
Political ideology Marxism-Leninism, Maoism, Socialism with Chinese characteristics, Three Represents
No. of members around 70 million

The Communist Party of China (CPC) (official name, though almost universally known in English as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)) (Simplified Chinese: 中国共产党; Traditional Chinese: 中國共産黨; pinyin: Zhōngguó Gòngchǎndǎng) is the ruling political party of the People's Republic of China, a position guaranteed by the country's constitution. The party was founded in 1921, and fought the Kuomintang (KMT) during the Chinese Civil War, which ended with the party's victory in the Chinese Revolution. With more than 70 million members, the CPC is the largest political party in the world, although the party prides itself on its exclusivity, with this number being but 5% of the total population of China.

From the sixties until the death of its principal leader, Mao Zedong, the CPC was the main inspiration for the worldwide communist social movement. During the 1960s and 1970s its ideas and policies, which came to be known as "Mao Zedong Thought", represented a powerful branch of communism that existed in opposition to the Soviet Union's "revisionism". Following the death of Mao in 1976, however, the CPC moved towards Socialism with Chinese characteristics and instituted Chinese economic reform. Today, largely due to these changes in policy, the CPC is generally considered to have lost the influence it had a generation ago. Its current policies are fiercely rejected as capitalist by most communists, especially anti-revisionists, and by adherents of Chinese Neo-Leftism from within the PRC. Today, college-educated people within the People's Republic of China are said to be more likely to join because of economic benefits of membership.[1]

The CPC both practices and supports a single-party state form of government. In periods of relative political liberalization, the influence of people and organizations outside the formal party structure has tended to increase, but such opportunities have vacillated repeatedly over time. 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 also had the interesting side effect of having pleased the CPC's former enemy, the Kuomintang, which has warmed its relations with the CPC since 2003.<ref>See 2005 Pan-Blue visits to mainland China.</ref>


[edit] Brief history

Image:Flag of the Chinese Communist Party.svg
Flag of the Communist Party of China

The Communist Party of China was initially founded by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao in Shanghai in 1921 as a study society and an informal network. There were informal groups in China in 1920, and also overseas, but the official beginning was the 1st Congress attended by 13 men in July 1921, when the formal and unified name Communist Party of China was adopted and all other names of communist groups were dropped. Mao Zedong was present as one of two delegates from a Hunan Communist group, which had maybe 10 members out of 53 for all China. Other 12 members attended included Zhang Guotao, Wang Jinwei, Dong Biwu, Li Hanjun, Li Da, Chen Tanqiu, Liu Renjing, Zhou Fohai, He Shuheng, Deng Enming, Chen Gongbo, Bao Huiseng (represented by Chen Duxiu sheltering in Canton at that time) and a representative from the Comintern.

Image:Chinese soviet flag.svg
Flag of the Chinese Soviet Republic, or Jiangxi Soviet, which existed from 1931 to 1934 in Jiangxi Province.
Under the guidance of the Soviet Union, the party was reorganized along Leninist lines in 1923, while party members were encouraged to join the Kuomintang as individual members in preparation for the Northern Expedition.

The party was small at first, but grew intermittently through the first Chinese Revolution of 1925-27, which failed. Even during that revolution, which was far before the rapid growth of the 1940s and 1950s, the party was the largest Communist Party in the world, larger even than the CPSU. With the collapse of the revolution in 1927 the party was massacred at the hands of the Kuomintang with more than 4 in 5 members being killed. The only major section of the party which survived was the section built around Mao Zedong, which through its loyalty to the Comintern line and short-lived strategic "alliances" with the Kuomintang, was able to survive the slaughter. Mao Zedong achieved success using Mobile Warfare, which was at first rejected by the leadership and then resumed on the famous Long March. The outside world first got a clear view of the Communist Party of China through Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China.

After 1945, the civil war resumed and despite initial gains by the Kuomintang, it was defeated and forced to flee to off-shore islands, the biggest among which is Taiwan. The Kuomintang's defeat marked the onset of the Chinese Revolution whence Mao proclaimed the People's Republic of China in Beijing on October 1, 1949.

[edit] Role within the People's Republic of China

The CPC is one of the three centers of power within the People's Republic of China, the other two being the state apparatus and the People's Liberation Army. It is the main center of power in the PRC.

The relationship between party and state is somewhat different from that of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union under Stalin's successors, in which the party controlled the state. In the current PRC structure, power derives from the state position, but key state positions are invariably held by members of the party and the party through its organization department makes crucial decisions on who occupies what position. However, in contrast to the Soviet situation where the party had extra-legal authority, since the early 1990s, it has been established that the party is subject to rule of law and is therefore subject to the authority of the state and the Constitution of the People's Republic of China.

Within the central government, the Party and state structures are fused with the leader of a ministry or commission also being the leader of the party body associated with that ministry. At the provincial or lower levels, the party and state heads are invariably separate, although the party head has a high state position and the state head has a high party position.

[edit] 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 control 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 5 years. The primary organs of power in the Communist Party which are listed in the party constitution include:

Other central organizations include
  • General Office;
  • Organization Department;
  • Propaganda (Publicity) Department;
  • International Liaison Department; and
  • United Front Department

In addition, there are numerous commissions and leading groups, the most important of which are

  • Commission for Politics and Law
  • Work Committee for Organs under the Central Committee
  • Work Committee for Central Government Organs
  • Central Financial and Economic Leading Group
  • Central Leading Group for Rural Work
  • Central Leading Group for Party Building
  • Central Foreign Affairs Leading Group
  • Central Taiwan Affairs Leading Group
  • Commission for Protection of Party Secrets
  • Leading Group for State Security
  • Party History Research Centre
  • Party Research Center
  • Central Party School

Every five years, the Communist Party of China holds a 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 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 2002.

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.

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.

[edit] Criticism and support

There are a variety of opinions about the Communist Party of China, and opinions about the CPC often create unexpected political alliances and divisions. For example, many chief executive officers of Western companies tend to have favorable impressions of the CPC,[citation needed] while many revolutionary Maoists and other Marxists have strongly negative opinions. Trotskyists argue that the party lost its Marxist credentials in the 1920s and adhered to a Stalinist political doctrine, with many calling for political revolution. Opinions about the CPC also create very strong divisions among groups normally ideologically united such as conservatives in the United States.

Many of the unexpected opinions about the CPC result from its rare combination of attributes as a party formally based on Marxism which has overseen a dynamic market economy, yet maintains an authoritarian political system.

Supporters of the International Tibet Independence Movement, the Republic of China on Taiwan, and Taiwan independence, neoconservatives in the United States and Japan, along with many left-wing forces in those same countries, are among the groups which have opposed the CPC government because it is a single-party state regime.

In addition, American neoconservatives sometimes argue that the Communist Party of China is a grave threat to peace because of its authoritarian nature, its adherence to a military build up, and threats made to Taiwan.

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. Chinese Neo-Leftism, meanwhile, is a current within China that seeks to "revert China to the socialist road" -- i.e., to return China to the days after Mao Zedong but before the reforms of Deng Xiaoping and his successors.

Another school of thought argues that the worst of the abuses took place decades ago, and that the current leadership is 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 put in more favorable light against most governments of the developing nations. However, farmers and other rural people have been marginalized, and their standard of living and national influence have been greatly reduced.

Finally, some supporters have argued that despite its flaws, the Communist Party is better than its alternatives, and that a sudden transition to democracy would result in the economic and political upheaval that occurred in the Soviet Union in the 1990s, and that by focusing on economic growth, China is setting the stage for a more gradual but more sustainable transition to a more liberal system. This group sees Mainland China as being similar to Spain in the 1960s, and South Korea and Taiwan during the 1970s.

As with the first group, this school of thought 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.

[edit] Current leadership

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

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, Chen Liangyu (dismissed in September 2006), 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 Politburo of the CPC Central Committee: Wang Gang

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

[edit] List of leaders of the Communist Party of China

Between 1921 and 1943 the leader of the Communist Party of China was the General Secretary.

In 1943 the position of Chairman of the Communist Party of China was created. The post of General Secretary was retained, but focused on organization, rather than policy.

In 1982, the post of Chairman was abolished, and the General Secretary once again became the nominal leader of the Party.

Prior to the abolition of the post of Chairman in 1982, the General Secretary served more of a bureaucratic role subordinate to the Chairman.

[edit] References


[edit] See also

Image:Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Politics of the People's Republic of China  
Constitution of the People's Republic of China
President - Vice President - Premier
Communist Party of China | National People's Congress | State Council | PLA
Political parties | Elections

[edit] External links

bg:Китайска комунистическа партия ca:Partit Comunista Xinès da:Kinas kommunistiske parti de:Kommunistische Partei Chinas es:Partido Comunista de China fa:حزب کمونیست چین fr:Parti communiste chinois gl:Partido Comunista de China ko:중국 공산당 id:Partai Komunis Tiongkok it:Partito Comunista Cinese lt:Kinijos komunistų partija hu:Kínai Kommunista Párt nl:Communistische Partij van China ja:中国共産党 no:Det kinesiske kommunistparti pl:Komunistyczna Partia Chin pt:Partido Comunista da China ro:Partidul Comunist Chinez ru:Коммунистическая партия Китая fi:Kiinan kommunistinen puolue sv:Kinas kommunistiska parti vi:Đảng Cộng sản Trung Quốc tr:Çin Komünist Partisi zh:中国共产党

Communist Party of China

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