Communist Party of China

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Communist Party of China

Zhōngguó Gòngchǎndǎng
General Secretary Xi Jinping
Standing Committee
Founded23 July 1921;97 years ago (1921-07-23)
Headquarters Zhongnanhai, Xicheng District, Beijing
Newspaper People's Daily
Research office Central Policy Research Office
Armed wing People's Liberation Army
People's Armed Police
China Militia
Membership (2018)90,594,000
Ideology Chinese communism [1] [2]
Socialism with Chinese characteristics
Chinese unification
National affiliation United Front
International affiliation International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties
Slogan Serve the People [lower-alpha 1]
"The Internationale" (de facto)
National People's Congress (13th)
2,119 / 2,980(71%)
NPC Standing Committee
121 / 175(69%)
Party flag
Flag of the Chinese Communist Party.svg
Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China (Chinese characters).svg
"Communist Party of China" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese 中国共产党
Traditional Chinese 中國共產黨
Hanyu Pinyin Zhōngguó Gòngchǎndǎng
Tibetan name
Tibetan ཀྲུང་གོ་གུང་ཁྲན་ཏང
Zhuang name
Zhuang Cunghgoz Gungcanjdangj
Mongolian name
Mongolian Cyrillic Дундад улсын(Хятадын) Эв хамт(Kоммунист) Hам
Mongolian script ᠳᠤᠮᠳᠠᠳᠤ ᠤᠯᠤᠰ ᠤᠨ
(ᠬᠢᠲᠠᠳ ᠤᠨ)
ᠡᠪ ᠬᠠᠮᠲᠤ
Uyghur name
Uyghur جۇڭگو كوممۇنىستىك پارتىيىسى
Manchu name
Manchu script ᡩᡠᠯᡳᠮᠪᠠᡳ ᡤᡠᡵᡠᠨ ‍ᡳ
(ᠵᡠᠨᡤᠣ ‍ᡳ)
Romanization Dulimbai gurun-i(Jungg'o-i) Gungcan Hoki

The Communist Party of China (CPC), also referred to as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party is the sole governing party within mainland China, permitting only eight other, subordinated parties to co-exist, those making up the United Front. It was founded in 1921, chiefly by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The party grew quickly, and by 1949 it had driven the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, leading to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It also controls the world's largest armed forces, the People's Liberation Army.

The ruling party or governing party or political party in a democratic parliamentary system is the current political party or coalition of the majority in parliament, that administers the affairs of state. In many other democratic republic countries, the ruling party is the party of the elected president that is in charge of the executive branch of government. Within a parliamentary system, the majority in the legislature also controls the executive branch of government, thus leaving no possibility of opposing parties concurrently occupying the executive and legislative branches of government, such as in an American style presidential system where the party of the president does not necessarily also have a legislative majority.

A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of state in which one political party has the right to form the government, usually based on the existing constitution. All other parties are either outlawed or allowed to take only a limited and controlled participation in elections. Sometimes the term de facto one-party state is used to describe a dominant-party system that, unlike the one-party state, allows democratic multiparty elections, but the existing practices or balance of political power effectively prevent the opposition from winning the elections.

Mainland China geopolitical area under the jurisdiction of the Peoples Republic of China excluding Special Administrative Regions

Mainland China, also known as the Chinese mainland, is the geopolitical as well as geographical area under the direct jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It includes Hainan island and strictly speaking, politically, does not include the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, even though both are partially on the geographic mainland.


The CPC is officially organised on the basis of democratic centralism, a principle conceived by Russian Marxist theoretician Vladimir Lenin which entails democratic and open discussion on policy on the condition of unity in upholding the agreed upon policies. The highest body of the CPC is the National Congress, convened every fifth year. When the National Congress is not in session, the Central Committee is the highest body, but since the body meets normally only once a year most duties and responsibilities are vested in the Politburo and its Standing Committee. The party's leader holds the offices of General Secretary (responsible for civilian party duties), Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) (responsible for military affairs) and State President (a largely ceremonial position). Through these posts, the party leader is the country's paramount leader. The current paramount leader is Xi Jinping, elected at the 18th National Congress held in October 2012.

Democratic centralism is a Leninist democratic practice in which political decisions reached by voting processes are binding upon all members of the party.

Marxism economic and sociopolitical worldview based on the works of Karl Marx

Marxism is a theory and method of working-class self-emancipation. As a theory, it relies on a method of socioeconomic analysis that views class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation. It originates from the works of 19th-century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Theoretician (Marxism)

In Marxism, a theoretician is an individual who observes and writes about the condition or dynamics of society, history, or economics, making use of the main principles of Marxian socialism in the analysis.

The CPC is committed to communism and continues to participate in the International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties each year. According to the party constitution, the CPC adheres to Marxism–Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, socialism with Chinese characteristics, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era. The official explanation for China's economic reforms is that the country is in the primary stage of socialism, a developmental stage similar to the capitalist mode of production. The command economy established under Mao Zedong was replaced by the socialist market economy, the current economic system, on the basis that "Practice is the Sole Criterion for the Truth".

In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

The Constitution of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has 53 Articles and includes contents of General Program, Membership, Organization System, Central Organizations, Local Organizations, Primary Organizations, Party Cadres, Party Discipline, Party Organs for Discipline Inspection, Leading Party Members' Groups, Relationship Between the Party and the Communist Youth League, Party Emblem and Flag.

Marxism–Leninism political ideology

In political science, Marxism–Leninism was the official state ideology of the Soviet Union (USSR), of the parties of the Communist International, after Bolshevisation; and is the ideology of Stalinist political parties. The purpose of Marxism–Leninism is the revolutionary transformation of a capitalist state into a socialist state, by way of two-stage revolution, which is led by a vanguard party of professional revolutionaries, drawn from the proletariat. To realise the two-stage transformation of the state, the vanguard party establishes the dictatorship of the proletariat, which determines policy through democratic centralism.

Since the collapse of Eastern European communist governments in 1989–1990 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the CPC has emphasised its party-to-party relations with the ruling parties of the remaining socialist states. While the CPC still maintains party-to-party relations with non-ruling communist parties around the world, since the 1980s it has established relations with several non-communist parties, most notably with ruling parties of one-party states (whatever their ideology), dominant parties in democracies (whatever their ideology) and social democratic parties.

Revolutions of 1989 series of 1989-protests overthrowing communist governments in Eastern Europe

The Revolutions of 1989 formed part of a revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted in the end of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. The period is sometimes called the Fall of Nations or the Autumn of Nations, a play on the term Spring of Nations that is sometimes used to describe the Revolutions of 1848.

Dissolution of the Soviet Union Process leading to the late-1991 breakup of the USSR

The dissolution of the Soviet Union occurred on 26 December 1991, officially granting self-governing independence to the Republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). It was a result of the declaration number 142-Н of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. The declaration acknowledged the independence of the former Soviet republics and created the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), although five of the signatories ratified it much later or did not do so at all. On the previous day, 25 December, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and final leader of the USSR, resigned, declared his office extinct and handed over its powers—including control of the Soviet nuclear missile launching codes—to Russian President Boris Yeltsin. That evening at 7:32 p.m., the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time and replaced with the pre-revolutionary Russian flag.

A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country is a sovereign state constitutionally dedicated to the establishment of socialism. The term "communist state" is often used interchangeably in the West specifically when referring to single-party socialist states governed by Marxist–Leninist, or Titoist in case of Yugoslavia political parties, despite these countries being officially socialist states in the process of building socialism. These countries never describe themselves as communist nor as having implemented a communist society. Additionally, a number of countries which are not single-party states based on Marxism–Leninism make reference to socialism in their constitutions; in most cases these are constitutional references alluding to the building of a socialist society that have little to no bearing on the structure and development paths of these countries' political and economic systems.


Founding and early history (1921–1927)

Site of the first CPC congress, in the former Shanghai French Concession The First National Congress of CPC.jpg
Site of the first CPC congress, in the former Shanghai French Concession

The CPC has its origins in the May Fourth Movement of 1919, during which radical Western ideologies like Marxism and anarchism gained traction among Chinese intellectuals. [3] Other influences stemming from the Bolshevik revolution and Marxist theory inspired the Communist Party of China. [4] Li Dazhao was the first leading Chinese intellectual who publicly supported Leninism and world revolution. [5] In contrast to Chen Duxiu, Li did not renounce participation in the affairs of the Republic of China. [6] Both of them regarded the October Revolution in Russia as groundbreaking, believing it to herald a new era for oppressed countries everywhere. [6] The CPC was modeled on Vladimir Lenin's theory of a vanguard party. [7] Study circles were, according to Cai Hesen, "the rudiments [of our party]". [8] Several study circles were established during the New Culture Movement, but "by 1920 skepticism about their suitability as vehicles for reform had become widespread." [9]

May Fourth Movement 1919 Chinese protests against the countrys concessions in the Treaty of Versailles

The May Fourth Movement was an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement which grew out of student protests in Beijing on 4 May 1919.

Anarchism in China was a strong, perhaps predildo, intellectual force in the reform and revolutionary movements in the early 20th century. In the years before and just after the overthrow of the Qing dynasty Chinese anarchists insisted that a true revolution could not be political, replacing one government with another, but had to overthrow traditional culture and create new social practices, especially in the family. "Anarchism" was translated into Chinese as 無政府主義 literally, "the doctrine of no government."

The current status of Chinese intellectuals reflects traditions established in the imperial period. For most of this period, government officials were selected from among the literati on the basis of the Confucian civil service examination system. Intellectuals were both participants in and critics of the government. As Confucian scholars, they were torn between their loyalty to the emperor and their obligation to "correct wrong thinking" when they perceived it.

The founding National Congress of the CPC was held on 23–31 July 1921. [10] With only 50 members in the beginning of 1921, the CPC organization and authorities grew tremendously. [11] While it was originally held in a house in the Shanghai French Concession, French police interrupted the meeting on 30 July [12] and the congress was moved to a tourist boat on South Lake in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province. [12] Only 12 delegates attended the congress, with neither Li nor Chen being able to attend, [12] the latter sending a personal representative in his stead. [12] The resolutions of the congress called for the establishment of a communist party (as a branch of the Communist International) and elected Chen as its leader. [12]

1st National Congress of the Communist Party of China

The 1st National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in Shanghai and Jiaxing between July 23 and August 2, 1921. The Congress established the Communist Party of China. It was succeeded by the 2nd National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The congress began in a shikumen building of the French Concession area of Shanghai. In early June 1921, Dutch national Henk Sneevliet, also known as Ma Lin, a representative of Comintern, arrived in Shanghai, and urged various Communist cells in the country to get together for a national-level meeting. Russian Comintern representative Nikolski also attended the meeting. At the time, there were 57 members of the Communist Party of China. Notably, the two founders of the party did not attend the congress: Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao.

Site of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party building

The Site of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is now preserved as a museum in Shanghai, China. It is located in Xintiandi, on Xingye Road. It is located in the historical shikumen buildings in which the 1st National Congress of the Communist Party of China took place during the month of July in 1921.

Shanghai French Concession French sphere of influence in Shanghai, China

The Shanghai French Concession was a foreign concession in Shanghai, China from 1849 until 1943, which progressively expanded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The concession came to an end in 1943 when the French State under German pressure signed it over to the pro-Japanese Reorganized National Government of China in Nanjing. For much of the 20th century, the area covered by the former French Concession remained the premier residential and retail district of Shanghai, and was also one of the centres of Catholicism in China. Despite re-development over the last few decades, the area retains a distinct character and is a popular tourist destination.

The communists dominated the left wing of the KMT, a party organized on Leninist lines, struggling for power with the party's right wing. [13] When KMT leader Sun Yat-sen died in March 1925, he was succeeded by a rightist, Chiang Kai-shek, who initiated moves to marginalize the position of the communists. [13] Fresh from the success of the Northern Expedition to overthrow the warlords, Chiang Kai-shek turned on the communists, who by now numbered in the tens of thousands across China. [14] Ignoring the orders of the Wuhan-based KMT government, he marched on Shanghai, a city controlled by communist militias. Although the communists welcomed Chiang's arrival, he turned on them, massacring 5000 with the aid of the Green Gang. [14] [15] [16] Chiang's army then marched on Wuhan, but was prevented from taking the city by CPC General Ye Ting and his troops. [17] Chiang's allies also attacked communists; in Beijing, 19 leading communists were killed by Zhang Zuolin, while in Changsha, He Jian's forces machine gunned hundreds of peasant militiamen. [18] [19] That May, tens of thousands of communists and their sympathizers were killed by nationalists, with the CPC losing approximately 15,000 of its 25,000 members. [19]

The CPC continued supporting the Wuhan KMT government, [19] but on 15 July 1927 the Wuhan government expelled all communists from the KMT. [20] The CPC reacted by founding the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army of China, better known as the "Red Army", to battle the KMT. A battalion led by General Zhu De was ordered to take the city of Nanchang on 1 August 1927 in what became known as the Nanchang uprising; initially successful, they were forced into retreat after five days, marching south to Shantou, and from there being driven into the wilderness of Fujian. [20] Mao Zedong was appointed commander-in-chief of the Red Army, and led four regiments against Changsha in the Autumn Harvest Uprising, hoping to spark peasant uprisings across Hunan. [21] His plan was to attack the KMT-held city from three directions on 9 September, but the Fourth Regiment deserted to the KMT cause, attacking the Third Regiment. Mao's army made it to Changsha, but could not take it; by 15 September, he accepted defeat, with 1,000 survivors marching east to the Jinggang Mountains of Jiangxi. [21] [22] [23]

Chinese Civil War and World War II (1927–1949)

Flag of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army Zhong Guo Gong Nong Hong Jun Jun Qi .svg
Flag of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army

The near-destruction of the CPC's urban organizational apparatus led to institutional changes within the party. [24] The party adopted democratic centralism, a way to organize revolutionary parties, and established a Politburo (to function as the standing committee of the Central Committee). [24] The result was increased centralization of power within the party . [24] At every level of the party this was duplicated, with standing committees now in effective control. [24] After Chen Duxiu's dismissal, Li Lisan was able to assume de facto control of the party organization by 1929–30. [24] Li Lisan's leadership was a failure, leaving the CPC on the brink of destruction. [24] The Comintern became involved, and by late 1930, his powers had been taken away. [24] By 1935 Mao had become the party's informal leader, with Zhou Enlai and Zhang Wentian, the formal head of the party, serving as his informal deputies. [24] The conflict with the KMT led to the reorganization of the Red Army, with power now centralized in the leadership through the creation of CPC political departments charged with supervising the army. [24]

The Second Sino-Japanese War caused a pause in the conflict between the CPC and the KMT. [25] The Second United Front was established between the CPC and the KMT to tackle the invasion. [26] While the front formally existed until 1945, all collaboration between the two parties had ended by 1940. [26] Despite their formal alliance, the CPC used the opportunity to expand and carve out independent bases of operations to prepare for the coming war with the KMT. [27] In 1939 the KMT began to restrict CPC expansion within China. [27] This led to frequent clashes between CPC and KMT forces [27] but which subsided rapidly on the realisation on both sides that civil war was not an option. [27] Yet, by 1943, the CPC was again actively expanding its territory at the expense of the KMT. [27]

Mao Zedong declared the establishment of the People's Republic of China on 1 October 1949 Mao proclaiming the establishment of the PRC in 1949.jpg
Mao Zedong declared the establishment of the People's Republic of China on 1 October 1949

From 1945 until 1949, the war had been reduced to two parties; the CPC and the KMT. [28] This period lasted through four stages; the first was from August 1945 (when the Japanese surrendered) to June 1946 (when the peace talks between the CPC and the KMT ended). [28] By 1945, the KMT had three-times more soldiers under its command than the CPC and initially appeared to be prevailing. [28] With the cooperation of the Americans and the Japanese, the KMT was able to retake major parts of the country. [28] However, KMT rule over the reconquered territories would prove unpopular because of endemic party corruption. [28] Notwithstanding its huge numerical superiority, the KMT failed to reconquer the rural territories which made up the CPC's stronghold. [28] Around the same time, the CPC launched an invasion of Manchuria, where they were assisted by the Soviet Union. [28] The second stage, lasting from July 1946 to June 1947, saw the KMT extend its control over major cities, such as Yan'an (the CPC headquarters for much of the war). [28] The KMT's successes were hollow; the CPC had tactically withdrawn from the cities, and instead attacked KMT authorities by instigating protests amongst students and intellectuals in the cities (the KMT responded to these events with heavy-handed repression). [29] In the meantime, the KMT was struggling with factional infighting and Chiang Kai-shek's autocratic control over the party, which weakened the KMT's ability to respond to attacks. [29] The third stage, lasting from July 1947 to August 1948, saw a limited counteroffensive by the CPC. [29] The objective was clearing "Central China, strengthening North China, and recovering Northeast China." [30] This policy, coupled with desertions from the KMT military force (by the spring of 1948, the KMT military had lost an estimated 2 of its 3 million troops) and declining popularity of KMT rule. [29] The result was that the CPC was able to cut off KMT garrisons in Manchuria and retake several lost territories. [30] The last stage, lasting from September 1948 to December 1949, saw the communists take the initiative and the collapse of KMT rule in mainland China as a whole. [30] On 1 October 1949, Mao declared the establishment of the PRC, which signified the end of the Chinese Revolution (as it is officially described by the CPC). [30]

Single ruling party (1949–present)

Flag of the Communist Party of China from 17 June 1951 to 21 July 1996. Flag of the Chinese Communist Party (Pre-1996).svg
Flag of the Communist Party of China from 17 June 1951 to 21 July 1996.

On 1 October 1949, Mao Zedong announced the 21 September 1949 establishment of the PRC before a massive crowd at Beijing Square. By the end of the year, the CPC became the major ruling party in China. [31] During the 1960s and 1970s, the CPC experienced a significant ideological separation from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. [32] By that time, Mao had begun saying that the "continued revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat" stipulated that class enemies continued to exist even though the socialist revolution seemed to be complete, leading to the Cultural Revolution in which millions were persecuted and killed. [33]

Chinese communists celebrate Joseph Stalin's birthday, 1949 Stalin birthday2.jpg
Chinese communists celebrate Joseph Stalin's birthday, 1949

Following Mao's death in 1976, a power struggle between CPC general secretary Hua Guofeng and Deng Xiaoping erupted. [34] Deng won the struggle, and became the "paramount leader". [34] Deng, alongside Chen Yun and Li Xiannian, spearheaded the Reform and opening policy, and introduced the ideological concept of socialism with Chinese characteristics, opening China to the world's markets. [35] In reversing some of Mao's "leftist" policies, Deng argued that a socialist state could use the market economy without itself being capitalist. [36] While asserting the political power of the Party, the change in policy generated significant economic growth. [3] The new ideology, however, was contested on both sides of the spectrum, by Maoists as well as by those supporting political liberalization. With other social factors, the conflicts culminated in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. [37] The protests having been crushed, Deng's vision on economics prevailed, and by the early 1990s the concept of a socialist market economy had been introduced. [38] In 1997, Deng's beliefs (Deng Xiaoping Theory), were embedded in the CPC constitution. [39]

CPC general secretary Jiang Zemin succeeded Deng as "paramount leader" in the 1990s, and continued most of his policies. [40] As part of Jiang Zemin's nominal legacy, the CPC ratified the Three Represents for the 2003 revision of the party's constitution, as a "guiding ideology" to encourage the party to represent "advanced productive forces, the progressive course of China's culture, and the fundamental interests of the people." [41] The theory legitimized the entry of private business owners and bourgeois elements into the party. [41] [42] Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin's successor as paramount leader, took office in 2002. [43] Unlike Mao, Deng and Jiang Zemin, Hu laid emphasis on collective leadership and opposed one-man dominance of the political system. [43] The insistence on focusing on economic growth led to a wide range of serious social problems. To address these, Hu introduced two main ideological concepts: the Scientific Outlook on Development and Harmonious Socialist Society. [44] Hu resigned from his post as CPC general secretary and Chairman of the CMC at the 18th National Congress held in 2012, and was succeeded in both posts by Xi Jinping. [45] Since taking power Xi has initiated the most concerted anti-corruption effort in decades, while centralizing powers in the office of CPC General Secretary at the expense of the collective leadership; because of that, foreign commentators have likened him to Mao. [46]


Collective leadership

Collective leadership, the idea that decisions will be taken through consensus, is the ideal in the CPC. [47] The concept has its origins back to Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Bolshevik Party. [48] At the level of the central party leadership this means that, for instance, all members of the Politburo Standing Committee are of equal standing (each member having only one vote). [47] A member of the Politburo Standing Committee often represents a sector; during Mao's reign, he controlled the People's Liberation Army, Kang Sheng, the security apparatus, and Zhou Enlai, the State Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [47] This counts as informal power. [47] Despite this, in a paradoxical relation, members of a body are ranked hierarchically (despite the fact that members are in theory equal to each others). [47] In spite of this, the CPC is led by an informal leader principle, each collective leadership is led by a core, that is a paramount leader; a person who holds the offices of CPC general secretary, CMC chairman and President of the PRC. [49] Before Jiang Zemin's tenure as paramount leader, the party core and collective leadership were indistinguishable. [50] In practice, the core was not responsible to the collective leadership. [50] However, by the time of Jiang, the party had begun propagating a responsibility system, referring to it in official pronouncements as the "core of the collective leadership". [50]

Democratic centralism

The CPC's organizational principle is democratic centralism, which is based on two principles: democracy (synonymous in official discourse with "socialist democracy" and "inner-party democracy") and centralism. [51] This has been the guiding organizational principle of the party since the 5th National Congress, held in 1927. [51] In the words of the party constitution, "The Party is an integral body organized under its program and constitution and on the basis of democratic centralism". [51] Mao once quipped that democratic centralism was "at once democratic and centralized, with the two seeming opposites of democracy and centralization united in a definite form." Mao claimed that the superiority of democratic centralism lay in its internal contradictions, between democracy and centralism, and freedom and discipline. [51] Currently, the CPC is claiming that "democracy is the lifeline of the Party, the lifeline of socialism". [51] But for democracy to be implemented, and functioning properly, there needs to be centralization. [51] The goal of democratic centralism was not to obliterate capitalism or its policies but instead it is the movement towards regulating capitalism while involving socialism and democracy. [52] Democracy in any form, the CPC claims, needs centralism, since without centralism there will be no order. [51] According to Mao, democratic centralism "is centralized on the basis of democracy and democratic under centralized guidance. This is the only system that can give full expression to democracy with full powers vested in the people's congresses at all levels and, at the same time, guarantee centralized administration with the governments at each level exercising centralized management of all the affairs entrusted to them by the people's congresses at the corresponding level and safeguarding whatever is essential to the democratic life of the people". [51]

Multi-party Cooperation System

The Multi-party Cooperation and Political Consultation System is led by the CPC in cooperation and consultation with the eight parties which make up the United Front. [53] Consultation takes place under the leadership of the CPC, with mass organizations, the United Front parties, and "representatives from all walks of life". [53] These consultations contribute, at least in theory, to the formation of the country's basic policy in the fields of political, economic, cultural and social affairs. [53] The CPC's relationship with other parties is based on the principle of "long-term coexistence and mutual supervision, treating each other with full sincerity and sharing weal or woe." [53] This process is institutionalized in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). [53] All the parties in the United Front support China's road to socialism, and hold steadfast to the leadership of the CPC. [53] Despite all this, the CPPCC is a body without any real power. [54] While discussions do take place, they are all supervised by the CPC. [54]


Central organization

The 18th National Congress, convened in November 2012 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.jpg
The 18th National Congress, convened in November 2012

The National Congress is the party's highest body, and, since the 9th National Congress in 1969, has been convened every five years (prior to the 9th Congress they were convened on an irregular basis). According to the party's constitution, a congress may not be postponed except "under extraordinary circumstances." [55] The party constitution gives the National Congress six responsibilities: [56]

  1. electing the Central Committee; [56]
  2. electing the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI); [56]
  3. examining the report of the outgoing Central Committee; [56]
  4. examining the report of the outgoing CCDI; [56]
  5. discussing and enacting party policies; and: [56]
  6. revising the party's constitution. [56]

In practice, the delegates rarely discuss issues at length at the National Congresses. Most substantive discussion takes place before the congress, in the preparation period, among a group of top party leaders. [56] In between National Congresses, the Central Committee is the highest decision-making institution. [57] The CCDI is responsible for supervising party's internal anti-corruption and ethics system. [58] In between congresses the CCDI is under the authority of the Central Committee. [58]

The Central Committee, as the party's highest decision-making institution between national congresses, elects several bodies to carry out its work. [59] The 1st Plenary Session of a newly elected central committee elects the General Secretary of the Central Committee, the party's titular leader, the Central Military Commission (CMC), the Politburo, the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), and since 2013, the Central National Security Commission (CNSC). The first plenum also endorses the composition of the Secretariat and the leadership of the CCDI. [59] According to the party constitution, the general secretary must be a member of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), and is responsible for convening meetings of the PSC and the Politburo, while also presiding over the work of the Secretariat. [60] The Politburo "exercises the functions and powers of the Central Committee when a plenum is not in session". [61] The PSC is the party's highest decision-making institution when the Politburo, the Central Committee and the National Congress are not in session. [62] It convenes at least once a week. [63] It was established at the 8th National Congress, in 1958, to take over the policy-making role formerly assumed by the Secretariat. [64] The Secretariat is the top implementation body of the Central Committee, and can make decisions within the policy framework established by the Politburo; it is also responsible for supervising the work of organizations that report directly into the Central Committee, for example departments, commissions, publications, and so on. [65] The CMC is the highest decision-making institution on military affairs within the party, and controls the operations of the People's Liberation Army. [66] The general secretary has, since Jiang Zemin, also served as Chairman of the CMC. [66] Unlike the collective leadership ideal of other party organs, the CMC chairman acts as commander-in-chief with full authority to appoint or dismiss top military officers at will. [66] The CNSC "co-ordinates security strategies across various departments, including intelligence, the military, foreign affairs and the police in order to cope with growing challenges to stability at home and abroad." [67] The general secretary serves as the Chairman of the CNSC. [68]

A first plenum of the Central Committee also elects heads of departments, bureaus, central leading groups and other institutions to pursue its work during a term (a "term" being the period elapsing between national congresses, usually five years). [55] The General Office is the party's "nerve centre", in charge of day-to-day administrative work, including communications, protocol, and setting agendas for meetings. [69] The CPC currently has four main central departments: the Organization Department, responsible for overseeing provincial appointments and vetting cadres for future appointments, [70] the Publicity Department (formerly "Propaganda Department"), which oversees the media and formulates the party line to the media, [71] [72] the International Department, functioning as the party's "foreign affairs ministry" with other parties, [73] and the United Front Work Department, which oversees work with the country's non-communist parties and other mass organizations. [71] The CC also has direct control over the Central Policy Research Office, which is responsible for researching issues of significant interest to the party leadership, [74] the Central Party School, which provides political training and ideological indoctrination in communist thought for high-ranking and rising cadres, [75] the Party History Research Centre, which sets priorities for scholarly research in state-run universities and the Central Party School, [76] and the Compilation and Translation Bureau, which studies and translates the classical works of Marxism. [77] The party's newspaper, the People's Daily , is under the direct control of the Central Committee [78] and is published with the objectives “to tell good stories about China and the (Party)" and to promote its party leader. [79] The theoretical magazines Seeking Truth from Facts and Study Times are published by the Central Party School. [75] The various offices of the "Central Leading Groups", such as the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, the Taiwan Affairs Office, and the Central Finance Office, also report to the central committee during a plenary session. [80]

Lower-level organizations

Party committees exist at the level of provinces; autonomous regions; municipalities directly under the central government; cities divided into districts; autonomous prefectures; counties (including banners); autonomous counties; cities not divided into districts; and municipal districts. [81] These committees are elected by party congresses (at their own level). [81] Local party congresses are supposed to be held every fifth year, but under extraordinary circumstances they may be held earlier or postponed. However that decision must be approved by the next higher level of the local party committee. [81] The number of delegates and the procedures for their election are decided by the local party committee, but must also have the approval of the next higher party committee. [81]

A local party congress has many of the same duties as the National Congress, and it is responsible for examining the report of the local Party Committee at the corresponding level; examining the report of the local Commission for Discipline Inspection at the corresponding level; discussing and adopting resolutions on major issues in the given area; and electing the local Party Committee and the local Commission for Discipline Inspection at the corresponding level. [81] Party committees of "a province, autonomous region, municipality directly under the central government, city divided into districts, or autonomous prefecture [are] elected for a term of five years", and include full and alternate members. [81] The party committees "of a county (banner), autonomous county, city not divided into districts, or municipal district [are] elected for a term of five years", but full and alternate members "must have a Party standing of three years or more." [81] If a local Party Congress is held before or after the given date, the term of the members of the Party Committee shall be correspondingly shortened or lengthened. [81]

Vacancies in a Party Committee shall be filled by an alternate members according to the order of precedence, which is decided by the number of votes an alternate member got during his or hers election. [81] A Party Committee must convene for at least two plenary meetings a year. [81] During its tenure, a Party Committee shall "carry out the directives of the next higher Party organizations and the resolutions of the Party congresses at the corresponding levels." [81] The local Standing Committee (analogous to the Central Politburo) is elected at the first plenum of the corresponding Party Committee after the local party congress. [81] A Standing Committee is responsible to the Party Committee at the corresponding level and the Party Committee at the next higher level. [81] A Standing Committee exercises the duties and responsibilities of the corresponding Party Committee when it is not in session. [81]


"It is my will to join the Communist Party of China, uphold the Party's program, observe the provisions of the Party constitution, fulfill a Party member's duties, carry out the Party's decisions, strictly observe Party discipline, guard Party secrets, be loyal to the Party, work hard, fight for communism throughout my life, be ready at all times to sacrifice my all for the Party and the people, and never betray the Party."

—Communist Party admission oath. [82]

To join the party, an applicant must be approved by the communist party. In 2014, only 2 million applications were accepted out of some 22 million applicants. [83] Admitted members then spend a year as a probationary member. [82]

In contrast to the past, when emphasis was placed on the applicants' ideological criteria, the current CPC stresses technical and educational qualifications. [82] To become a probationary member, the applicant must take an admission oath before the party flag. [82] The relevant CPC organization is responsible for observing and educating probationary members. [82] Probationary members have duties similar to those of full members, with the exception that they may not vote in party elections nor stand for election. [82] Many join the CPC through the Communist Youth League. [82] Under Jiang Zemin, private entrepreneurs were allowed to become party members. [82] According to the CPC constitution, a member, in short, must follow orders, be disciplined, uphold unity, serve the Party and the people, and promote the socialist way of life. [81] Members enjoy the privilege of attending Party meetings, reading relevant Party documents, receiving Party education, participating in Party discussions through the Party's newspapers and journals, making suggestions and proposal, making "well-grounded criticism of any Party organization or member at Party meetings" (even of the central party leadership), voting and standing for election, and of opposing and criticizing Party resolutions ("provided that they resolutely carry out the resolution or policy while it is in force"); and they have the ability "to put forward any request, appeal, or complaint to higher Party organizations, even up to the Central Committee, and ask the organizations concerned for a responsible reply." [81] No party organization, including the CPC central leadership, can deprive a member of these rights. [81]

As of 30 June 2016, individuals who identify as farmers, herdsmen and fishermen make up 26 million members; members identifying as workers totalled 7.2 million. [84] Another group, the "Managing, professional and technical staff in enterprises and public institutions", made up 12.5 million, 9 million identified as working in administrative staff and 7.4 million described themselves as party cadres. [84] 22.3 million women are CPC members. [84] The CPC currently has 90.59 million members, [85] making it the second largest political party in the world after India's Bharatiya Janata Party. [86]

Communist Youth League

The Communist Youth League (CYL) is the CPC's youth wing, and the largest mass organization for youth in China. [87] According to the CPC's constitution the CYL is a "mass organization of advanced young people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China; it functions as a party school where a large number of young people learn about socialism with Chinese characteristics and about communism through practice; it is the Party's assistant and reserve force." [81] To join, an applicant has to be between the ages of 14 and 28. [87] It controls and supervises Young Pioneers, a youth organization for children below the age of 14. [87] The organizational structure of CYL is an exact copy of the CPC's; the highest body is the National Congress, followed by the Central Committee, Politburo and the Politburo Standing Committee. [88] However, the Central Committee (and all central organs) of the CYL work under the guidance of the CPC central leadership. [81] Therefore, in a peculiar situation, CYL bodies are both responsible to higher bodies within CYL and the CPC, a distinct organization. [81] As of the 17th National Congress (held in 2013), CYL had 89 million members. [89]


A temporary monument in Tiananmen Square marking the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China in 2011 HammerSickle Tiananmen.jpg
A temporary monument in Tiananmen Square marking the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China in 2011

According to Article 53 of the CPC constitution, "the Party emblem and flag are the symbol and sign of the Communist Party of China." [81] At the beginning of its history, the CPC did not have a single official standard for the flag, but instead allowed individual party committees to copy the flag of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. [90] On 28 April 1942, the Central Politburo decreed the establishment of a sole official flag. "The flag of the CPC has the length-to-width proportion of 3:2 with a hammer and sickle in the upper-left corner, and with no five-pointed star. The Political Bureau authorizes the General Office to custom-make a number of standard flags and distribute them to all major organs". [90] According to People's Daily , "The standard party flag is 120 centimeters (cm) in length and 80 cm in width. In the center of the upper-left corner (a quarter of the length and width to the border) is a yellow hammer-and-sickle 30 cm in diameter. The flag sleeve (pole hem) is in white and 6.5 cm in width. The dimension of the pole hem is not included in the measure of the flag. The red color symbolizes revolution; the hammer-and-sickle are tools of workers and peasants, meaning that the Communist Party of China represents the interests of the masses and the people; the yellow color signifies brightness." [90] In total the flag has five dimensions, the sizes are "no. 1: 388 cm in length and 192 cm in width; no. 2: 240 cm in length and 160 cm in width; no. 3: 192 cm in length and 128 cm in width; no. 4: 144 cm in length and 96 cm in width; no. 5: 96 cm in length and 64 cm in width." [90] On 21 September 1966, the CPC General Office issued "Regulations on the Production and Use of the CPC Flag and Emblem", which stated that the emblem and flag were the official symbols and signs of the party. [90]


"Since 1978 China has to a certain extent shifted its political philosophical discourse. But this shift has brought us closer to classical Marxism. For example, classical Marxism expresses the relationship between economics and politics, and further, the economic base and superstructure where the latter is determined fundamentally by the former and only under certain limited conditions can the latter shape the former. Both Stalin and Mao, however, believed that politics and the superstructure could, at any moment, fundamentally determine economics, that they could determine absolutely the economic base. In a word, for whatever reason both Stalin and Mao misunderstood this vital point in Marxist theory and suffered accordingly in practice."

Jiexiong Yi, a senior Marxist researcher at Beijing University and the Central Party School. [91]

It has been argued in recent years, mainly by foreign commentators, that the CPC does not have an ideology, and that the party organization is pragmatic and interested only in what works. [92] The party itself, however, argues otherwise. For instance, Hu Jintao stated in 2012 that the Western world is "threatening to divide us" and that "the international culture of the West is strong while we are weak ... Ideological and cultural fields are our main targets". [92] The CPC puts a great deal of effort into the party schools and into crafting its ideological message. [92] Before the "Practice Is the Sole Criterion for the Truth" campaign, the relationship between ideology and decision-making was a deductive one, meaning that policy-making was derived from ideological knowledge. [93] Under Deng this relationship was turned upside down, with decision-making justifying ideology and not the other way around. [93] Lastly, Chinese policy-makers believe that the Soviet Union's state ideology was "rigid, unimaginative, ossified, and disconnected from reality" and that this was one of the reasons for the dissolution of the Soviet Union. They therefore believe that their party ideology must be dynamic to safeguard the party's rule. [93]

Formal ideology

A monument dedicated to Karl Marx (left) and Friedrich Engels (right) in Shanghai Marx et Engels a Shanghai.jpg
A monument dedicated to Karl Marx (left) and Friedrich Engels (right) in Shanghai

Marxism–Leninism was the first official ideology of the Communist Party of China. [94] According to the CCP, "Marxism–Leninism reveals the universal laws governing the development of history of human society." [94] To the CCP, Marxism–Leninism provides a "vision of the contradictions in capitalist society and of the inevitability of a future socialist and communist societies". [94] According to the People's Daily , Mao Zedong Thought "is Marxism–Leninism applied and developed in China". [94] Mao Zedong Thought was conceived not only by Mao Zedong, but by leading party officials. [95]

"I am a Marxist. The essence of Marxism is change, [...] Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton by stressing change. The Marxist in China today is not a stubborn, dogmatic, and outdated 19th-century old man, but a dynamic, pro-change, young thinker. We have a flexible approach: if Marx's words are still applicable, we will use them; for things he did not articulate clearly, we will spell them out; for what he did not say, we will boldly come up with something new."

Ye Xiaowen on the role of Marxist thought. [96]

While non-Chinese analysts generally agree that the CCP has rejected orthodox Marxism–Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought (or at least basic thoughts within orthodox thinking), the CCP itself disagrees. [97] Certain groups argue that Jiang Zemin ended the CCP's formal commitment to Marxism with the introduction of the ideological theory, the Three Represents. [98] However, party theorist Leng Rong disagrees, claiming that "President Jiang rid the Party of the ideological obstacles to different kinds of ownership [...] He did not give up Marxism or socialism. He strengthened the Party by providing a modern understanding of Marxism and socialism—which is why we talk about a 'socialist market economy' with Chinese characteristics." [98] The attainment of true "communism" is still described as the CCP's and China's "ultimate goal". [99] While the CCP claims that China is in the primary stage of socialism, party theorists argue that the current development stage "looks a lot like capitalism". [99] Alternatively, certain party theorists argue that "capitalism is the early or first stage of communism." [99] Some have dismissed the concept of a primary stage of socialism as intellectual cynicism. [99] According to Robert Lawrence Kuhn, a China analyst, "When I first heard this rationale, I thought it more comic than clever—a wry caricature of hack propagandists leaked by intellectual cynics. But the 100-year horizon comes from serious political theorists". [99]

Deng Xiaoping Theory was added to the party constitution at the 14th National Congress. [39] The concepts of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" and "the primary stage of socialism" were credited to the theory. [39] Deng Xiaoping Theory can be defined as a belief that state socialism and state planning is not by definition communist, and that market mechanisms are class neutral. [100] In addition, the party needs to react to the changing situation dynamically; to know if a certain policy is obsolete or not, the party had to "seek truth from facts" and follow the slogan "practice is the sole criterion for the truth". [101] At the 14th National Congress, Jiang reiterated Deng's mantra that it was unnecessary to ask if something was socialist or capitalist, since the important factor was whether it worked. [102]

"Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural development which this determines. To try to prohibit entirely, to put the lock on all development of private, non-state exchange, i.e., trade, i.e., capitalism, which is inevitable with millions of small producers ... such a policy would be foolish and suicidal for the party that tried to apply it."

Vladimir Lenin on the Marxist rationale for keeping private property. [103]

The "Three Represents", literally a Marxism adapted to Chinese conditions, was adopted by the party at the 16th National Congress. [104] Certain segments within the CCP criticized the Three Represents as being un-Marxist and a betrayal of basic Marxist values. Supporters viewed it as a further development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. [105] Jiang disagreed, and had concluded that attaining the communist mode of production, as formulated by earlier communists, was more complex than had been realized, and that it was useless to try to force a change in the mode of production, as it had to develop naturally, by following the economic laws of history. [106] The theory is most notable for allowing capitalists, officially referred to as the "new social strata", to join the party on the grounds that they engaged in "honest labor and work" and through their labour contributed "to build[ing] socialism with Chinese characteristics." [107] The 3rd Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee conceived and formulated the ideology of the Scientific Outlook on Development. [108] It is considered to be Hu Jintao's contribution to the official ideological discourse. [109] To apply the Scientific Outlook on Development to Chinese conditions, the CCP must adhere to building a Harmonious Socialist Society. [110]


Deng did not believe that the fundamental difference between the capitalist mode of production and the socialist mode of production was central planning versus free markets. He said, "A planned economy is not the definition of socialism, because there is planning under capitalism; the market economy happens under socialism, too. Planning and market forces are both ways of controlling economic activity". [36] Jiang Zemin supported Deng's thinking, and stated in a party gathering that it did not matter if a certain mechanism was capitalist or socialist, because the only thing that mattered was whether it worked. [38] It was at this gathering that Jiang Zemin introduced the term socialist market economy, which replaced Chen Yun's "planned socialist market economy". [38] In his report to the 14th National Congress Jiang Zemin told the delegates that the socialist state would "let market forces play a basic role in resource allocation." [111] At the 15th National Congress, the party line was changed to "make market forces further play their role in resource allocation"; this line continued until the 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee, [111] when it was amended to "let market forces play a decisive role in resource allocation." [111] Despite this, the 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee upheld the creed "Maintain the dominance of the public sector and strengthen the economic vitality of the State-owned economy." [111]

"[...] their theory that capitalism is the ultimate has been shaken, and socialist development has experienced a miracle. Western capitalism has suffered reversals, a financial crisis, a credit crisis, a crisis of confidence, and their self-conviction has wavered. Western countries have begun to reflect, and openly or secretively compare themselves against China's politics, economy and path."

Xi Jinping, the CCP general secretary, on the inevitability of socialism. [112]

The CCP views the world as organized into two opposing camps; socialist and capitalist. [113] They insist that socialism, on the basis of historical materialism, will eventually triumph over capitalism. [113] In recent years, when the party has been asked to explain the capitalist globalization occurring, the party has returned to the writings of Karl Marx. [113] Despite admitting that globalization developed through the capitalist system, the party's leaders and theorists argue that globalization is not intrinsically capitalist. [114] The reason being that if globalization was purely capitalist, it would exclude an alternative socialist form of modernity. [114] Globalization, as with the market economy, therefore does not have one specific class character (neither socialist nor capitalist) according to the party. [114] The insistence that globalization is not fixed in nature comes from Deng's insistence that China can pursue socialist modernization by incorporating elements of capitalism. [114] Because of this there is considerable optimism within the CCP that despite the current capitalist dominance of globalization, globalization can be turned into a vehicle supporting socialism. [115]

Party-to-party relations

Communist parties

The CPC continues to have relations with non-ruling communist and workers' parties and attends international communist conferences, most notably the International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties. [116] Delegates of foreign communist parties still visit China; in 2013, for instance, the General Secretary of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), Jeronimo de Sousa, personally met with Liu Qibao, a member of the Central Politburo. [117] In another instance, Pierre Laurent, the National Secretary of the French Communist Party (FCP), met with Liu Yunshan, a Politburo Standing Committee member. [118] In 2014 Xi Jinping, the CPC general secretary, personally met with Gennady Zyuganov, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), to discuss party-to-party relations. [119] While the CPC retains contact with major parties such as the PCP, [117] FCP, [118] the CPRF, [120] the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, [121] the Communist Party of Brazil, [122] the Communist Party of Nepal [123] and the Communist Party of Spain, [124] the party retains relations with minor communist and workers' parties, such as the Communist Party of Australia, [125] the Workers Party of Bangladesh, the Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist–Leninist) (Barua), the Communist Party of Sri Lanka, the Workers' Party of Belgium, the Hungarian Workers' Party, the Dominican Workers' Party and the Party for the Transformation of Honduras, for instance. [126] In recent years, noting the self-reform of the European social democratic movement in the 1980s and 1990s, the CPC "has noted the increased marginalization of West European communist parties." [127]

Ruling parties of socialist states

The CPC has retained close relations with the remaining socialist states still espousing communism: Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam and their respective ruling parties as well as North Korea and its ruling party, which officially abandoned communism in 2009. [128] It spends a fair amount of time analyzing the situation in the remaining socialist states, trying to reach conclusions as to why these states survived when so many did not, following the collapse of the Eastern European socialist states in 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. [129] In general, the analyses of the remaining socialist states and their chances of survival have been positive, and the CPC believes that the socialist movement will be revitalized sometime in the future. [129]

The ruling party which the CPC is most interested in is the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). [130] In general the CPV is considered a model example of socialist development in the post-Soviet era. [130] Chinese analysts on Vietnam believe that the introduction of the Doi Moi reform policy at the 6th CPV National Congress is the key reason for Vietnam's current success. [130]

While the CPC is probably the organization with most access to North Korea, writing about North Korea is tightly circumscribed. [129] The few reports accessible to the general public are those about North Korean economic reforms. [129] While Chinese analysts of North Korea tend to speak positively of North Korea in public, in official discussions they show much disdain for North Korea's economic system, the cult of personality which pervades society, the Kim family, the idea of hereditary succession in a socialist state, the security state, the use of scarce resources on the Korean People's Army and the general impoverishment of the North Korean people. [131] There are those analysts who compare the current situation of North Korea with that of China during the Cultural Revolution. [132] Over the years, the CPC has tried to persuade the Workers' Party of Korea (or WPK, North Korea's ruling party) to introduce economic reforms by showing them key economic infrastructure in China. [132] For instance, in 2006 the CPC invited the WPK general secretary Kim Jong-il to Guandong province to showcase the success economic reforms have brought China. [132] In general, the CPC considers the WPK and North Korea to be negative examples of a communist ruling party and socialist state. [132]

There is a considerable degree of interest in Cuba within the CPC. [130] Fidel Castro, the former First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), is greatly admired, and books have been written focusing on the successes of the Cuban Revolution. [130] Communication between the CPC and the PCC has increased considerably since the 1990s, hardly a month going by without a diplomatic exchange. [133] At the 4th Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee, which discussed the possibility of the CPC learning from other ruling parties, praise was heaped on the PCC. [133] When Wu Guanzheng, a Central Politburo member, met with Fidel Castro in 2007, he gave him a personal letter written by Hu Jintao: "Facts have shown that China and Cuba are trustworthy good friends, good comrades, and good brothers who treat each other with sincerity. The two countries' friendship has withstood the test of a changeable international situation, and the friendship has been further strengthened and consolidated." [134]

Non-communist parties

Since the decline and fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the CPC has begun establishing party-to-party relations with non-communist parties. [73] These relations are sought so that the CPC can learn from them. [135] For instance, the CPC has been eager to understand how the People's Action Party of Singapore (PAP) maintains its total domination over Singaporean politics through its "low-key presence, but total control." [136] According to the CPC's own analysis of Singapore, the PAP's dominance can be explained by its "well-developed social network, which controls constituencies effectively by extending its tentacles deeply into society through branches of government and party-controlled groups." [136] While the CPC accepts that Singapore is a liberal democracy, they view it as a guided democracy led by the PAP. [136] Other differences are, according to the CPC, "that it is not a political party based on the working class—instead it is a political party of the elite ... It is also a political party of the parliamentary system, not a revolutionary party." [137] Other parties which the CPC studies and maintains strong party-to-party relations with are the United Malays National Organisation, which has ruled Malaysia democratically since 1957, and the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, which dominated Japanese politics for over five uninterrupted decades. [138]

The CPC has, since Jiang Zemin's time, made friendly overtures to its erstwhile foe, the Kuomintang. The CPC emphasizes strong party-to-party relations with the KMT so as to strengthen the probability of the reunification of Taiwan with mainland China. [139] However, several studies have been written on the KMT's loss of power in 2000, after having ruled Taiwan since 1949 (the KMT officially ruled mainland China from 1928 to 1949). [139] In general, one-party states or dominant-party states are of special interest to the party, and party-to-party relations are formed so that the CPC can study them. [139] For instance, the longevity of the Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party is attributed to the personalization of power in the al-Assad family, the strong presidential system, the inheritance of power, which passed from Hafez al-Assad to his son Bashar al-Assad, and the role given to the Syrian military in politics. [140]

Xi Jinping (second from left) with Enrique Pena Nieto (second from right), the former President of Mexico and a leading member of the social democratic Institutional Revolutionary Party Cena de Estado que en honor del Excmo. Sr. Xi Jinping, Presidente de la Republica Popular China, y de su esposa, Sra. Peng Liyuan (8959188037).jpg
Xi Jinping (second from left) with Enrique Peña Nieto (second from right), the former President of Mexico and a leading member of the social democratic Institutional Revolutionary Party

In recent years, the CPC has been especially interested in Latin America, [140] as shown by the increasing number of delegates sent to and received from these countries. [140] Of special fascination for the CPC is the 71-year-long rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico. [140] While the CPC attributed the PRI's long reign in power to the strong presidential system, tapping into the machismo culture of the country, its nationalist posture, its close identification with the rural populace and the implementation of nationalization alongside the marketization of the economy, [140] the CPC concluded that the PRI failed because of the lack of inner-party democracy, its pursuit of social democracy, its rigid party structures that could not be reformed, its political corruption, the pressure of globalization, and American interference in Mexican politics. [140] While the CPC was slow to recognize the pink tide in Latin America, it has strengthened party-to-party relations with several socialist and anti-American political parties over the years. [141] The CPC has occasionally expressed some irritation over Hugo Chávez's anti-capitalist and anti-American rhetoric. [141] Despite this, in 2013 the CPC reached an agreement with the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which was founded by Chávez, for the CPC to educate PSUV cadres in political and social fields. [142] By 2008, the CPC claimed to have established relations with 99 political parties in 29 Latin American countries. [141]

Social democratic movements in Europe have been of great interest to the CPC since the early 1980s. [141] With the exception of a short period in which the CPC forged party-to-party relations with far-right parties during the 1970s in an effort to halt "Soviet expansionism", the CPC's relations with European social democratic parties were its first serious efforts to establish cordial party-to-party relations with non-communist parties. [141] The CPC credits the European social democrats with creating a "capitalism with a human face". [141] Before the 1980s, the CPC had a highly negative and dismissive view of social democracy, a view dating back to the Second International and the Marxist-Leninist view on the social democratic movement. [141] By the 1980s that view had changed, and the CPC concluded that it could actually learn something from the social democratic movement. [141] CPC delegates were sent all over Europe to observe. [143] By the 1980s most European social democratic parties were facing electoral decline, and were in a period of self-reform. [143] The CPC followed this with great interest, laying most weight on reform efforts within the British Labour Party and the Social Democratic Party of Germany. [143] The CPC concluded that both parties were re-elected because they modernized, replacing traditional state socialist tenets with new ones supporting privatization, shedding the belief in big government, conceiving a new view of the welfare state, changing their negative views of the market, and moving from their traditional support base of trade unions to entrepreneurs, the young and students. [144]

See also


  1. The slogans at Xinhuamen ("New China Gate", the main entrance to Zhongnanhai) are "Serve the People" (middle), "Long live the great Communist Party of China" (left), and "Long live ever-victorious Mao Zedong Thought" (right).

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Since both the Communist Party of China and the People's Liberation Army promote according to seniority, it is possible to discern distinct generations of Chinese leadership. In official discourse, each group of leadership is identified with a distinct extension of the ideology of the party. Historians have studied various periods in the development of the government of the People's Republic of China by reference to these "generations".

Song Renqiong Chinese politician

Song Renqiong, born Song Yunqin, was a general in the People's Liberation Army of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and one of the Eight Elders of the Communist Party of China.

Deng Xiaoping Theory Ideology of Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping Theory, also known as Dengism, is the series of political and economic ideologies first developed by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. The theory does not claim to reject Marxism–Leninism or Mao Zedong Thought but instead seeks to adapt them to the existing socio-economic conditions of China.

Qiao Shi Former Politburo Standing Committee member of the Communist Party of China

Qiao Shi was a Chinese politician and one of the top leaders of the Communist Party of China. He was a member of the party's top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee, from 1987 to 1997. He was a contender for the paramount leadership of China, but lost out to his political rival Jiang Zemin, who assumed the post of General Secretary of the party in 1989. Qiao Shi instead served as Chairman of the National People's Congress, then the third-ranked political position, from 1993 until his retirement in 1998. Compared with his peers, including Jiang Zemin, Qiao Shi adopted a more liberal stance in political and economic policy, promoting the rule of law and market-oriented reform of state-owned enterprises.

Leader of the Communist Party of China head of the Communist Party of China

The leader, now officially the General Secretary of the Central Committee (CC) of the Communist Party of China (CPC), is by right of office the Chairman of the Central Military Commission and the President of the People's Republic of China. Since its formation in 1921, the leader's post has been titled as Secretary of the Central Bureau (1921–1922), Chairman, and General Secretary.

The 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in Beijing, China, at the Great Hall of the People from 15 to 21 October 2007. The Congress marked significant shift in the political direction of the country as CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao solidified his position of leadership. Hu's signature policy doctrine, the Scientific Development Concept, which aimed to create a "Socialist Harmonious Society" through egalitarian wealth distribution and concern for the country's less well-off, was enshrined into the Party Constitution. It was succeeded by the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

The Scientific Outlook on Development, sometimes translated to either the scientific development concept, or as the scientific development perspective, is one of the guiding socio-economic principles of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the central feature of former Party General Secretary Hu Jintao's attempts to create a "harmonious society."

The 14th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was in session from 1992 to 1997. It held seven plenary sessions. It was preceded by the 13th Central Committee. It was most certainly succeeded by the 15th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. It was set in motion by the 14th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China National legislature roster in China

The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China began on November 8, 2012 at the Great Hall of the People. It was preceded by the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Due to term and age limits restrictions, seven of the nine members of the powerful Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) retired during the Congress, including Hu Jintao, who was replaced by Xi Jinping as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. The Congress elected the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and saw the number of Politburo Standing Committee seats reduced from nine to seven. It was succeeded by the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

This article details the history of the Communist Party of China.

The theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is a broad term for political theories and policies that are seen by their proponents as representing Marxism–Leninism adapted to Chinese circumstances and specific time periods. For instance, in this view Xi Jinping Thought is considered to represent Marxist–Leninist policies suited for China's present condition while Deng Xiaoping Theory was considered relevant for the period when it was formulated.

The ideology of the Communist Party of China has undergone dramatic changes throughout the years, especially during Deng Xiaoping's leadership. While foreign commentators have accused the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of lacking a coherent ideology, the CCP still identify as communists.

The organization of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is based upon the Leninist idea of democratic centralism.

The "Peaceful Evolution" theory in international political thought refers to the alleged attempt to effect a political transformation of the Chinese socialist system by peaceful means, primarily by the United States.

The 15th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in Beijing between September 12 and 18, 1997. It was preceded by the 14th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. It was followed by the 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. 2,048 delegates and 60 specially invited delegates elected a 344-member 15th CPC Central Committee, as well as a 115-member Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). This change in membership made the new average age of the CPC 55 and percentage of members holding university or college level education 92.4%. Jiang Zemin was reappointed CPC General Secretary and Chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Xi Jinping Thought a political theory that was incorporated into the Constitution of the Communist Party of China in 2017

Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, simply known as Xi Jinping Thought, or Xism is a political theory derived from the Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping.



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Articles & journal entries


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