The Government of China

Since 1949, China has been ruled by the Communist Party of China or CPC.

Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong

China is a one party state. The CPC is not elected but remains in government through its control of the army and police force. The CPC closely controls the newspapers, radio and television stations and limits access to the internet. The Chinese media is one of the most highly controlled by government anywhere in the world.

What is communism?

In 1949, under Chairman Mao, China became a communist country. This meant the state or government took control of the land, factories, businesses and other organisations on behalf of the people. There was no private or individual ownership. With the Communist Party of China in control, the people worked on behalf of the common good. The idea of individual progress at the expense of others, according to Mao, was not acceptable.

How China is run today

Unlike the UK, China is not a democracy. There is a Chinese parliament (the National People's Congress) which passes legislation (laws) but the parliament is not where decisions are made. It is the Communist Party which makes decisions for the country.

In 2018 voted to get rid of the two term limit on the Chinese President. This clears the way for President Xi Jinping to be the leader for the life. Originally the limit was put in to stop any Chinese leader becoming as strong and powerful as Mao was but that has now been removed. He is now the strongest Chinese leader since Mao.

Communist Party structure

President Xi Jinping
President Xi Jinping.

The Communist Party of China's most important body is the Politburo. The Politburo consists of the most senior Communist Party members including the Communist Party General Secretary (currently President Xi Jinping). He is the leader of the party and the country. In theory, Politburo members are elected. In practice they are selected by existing members from within the Politburo.

Once a decision has been taken by the Politburo, the Chinese parliament or National People's Congress (NPC) will normally write the decision into law. The NPC is seen by many people in the West as a place for holding debates, exchanging views and writing-up laws as agreed by the CPC. In practice the NPC has no decision-making power.

Once laws are passed by the NPC, decisions can then be passed down to the provinces and townships, to the courts or to the armed forces.

Structure chart showing how the communist party of china is structured, with the discipline commission and party elders exerting influence over the politburo and national people's council