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Communist Party of China

The Communist Party of China (中国共产党, pinyin: Zhōnggo Gngchăndăng) is the ruling party of the People's Republic of China. The party was founded in 1921, and fought the Kuomintang during the Chinese Civil War.

With more than 63 million members, the Communist Party of China (CPC; CCP for the unofficial name Chinese Communist Party; or the somewhat derogatory Chicom used mainly by the China Post) is the largest political party in the world. Authoritarian in structure and ideology, it continues to dominate the 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.

Table of contents
1 Organization
2 Policies
3 Members of the Central Committee
4 Leaders of the Communist Party of China
5 Criticism and support
6 See also
7 External link


The party's organizational structure was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and rebuilt afterwards by Deng Xiaoping.

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 Also important are "leading small groups," which are committees of high ranking party members within state agencies. These can be extremely powerful, particularly in the area of foreign policy.

Every five years, the Chinese Communist Party 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 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. 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.


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 Central Committee

The members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China are (as of 2003):

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: Wang Gang

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

Leaders of the Communist Party of China

List of Chairmen of the CPC Central Committee

List of General Secretaries

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.

Criticism and support

Much of the criticism of the CPC centers on the origins of China's problems in the 20th century. The critics could be loosely divided into three groups:

Western human rights activists tend to see Chinese events as examples of state oppression, whereas most Chinese (including many of those who are anti-government or anti-CPC) tend to see China's troubles as stemming from anarchy and the lack of social institutions that would defend China from outsiders or prevent one person from forming a cult of personality.

Supporters of Tibetan nationalism and Taiwan independence, extreme right wing politicians, along with anti-trade and protectionist forces on the left, in the United States and Japan, are among the groups which have perceived the CPC government as a totalitarian regime. They refer to events of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese famine of 1958-1961, and Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 as examples. They suggest that the CPC has been responsible for the deaths of very large numbers of people, with figures cited in millions. These accusations are dealt with in more detail in the article History of the People's Republic of China.

Among Chinese, opponents of the Party within the Chinese democracy movement have tend not to argue that a strong Chinese state is inherently bad, but rather have tended to argue that the Communist leadership is corrupt.

Supporters of the Communist Party have argued 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 Communist Party may be flawed, it is comparatively better, 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. Finally, it has been argued that despite its flaws, the Communist Party is better than its alternatives, and that a sudden forced transition to democracy would result in the economic and political collapse that occurred in Russia in the 1990s.

See also

External link

zh-cn:中国共产党 zh-tw:中國共產黨