China flag China: Economic and Political Overview

The political framework of China

Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: XI Jinping (since 14 March 2013); president and vice president indirectly elected by National People's Congress for a 5-year term. Nevertheless, a constitutional change was passed by the 2018 annual sitting of parliament, the National People's Congress, approving the removal of the two-term limit on the presidency, effectively allowing Xi Jinping to remain in power for life.
Vice President:  WANG Qishan (since 17 March 2018)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: March 2023
National People's Congress: late 2022 or early 2023
Current Political Context
Overall, the political situation in China has been stable, with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) firmly in power. China's current leader, Xi Jinping, holds a triple title as CCP general secretary, Central Military Commission chairman and state president. After assuming these functions in 2012-13, he was reappointed to them in 2017-18. Following the abolition of presidential term limits in early 2018, he is set to keep them beyond the expiry of the current terms in 2022-23 and is seen as the most powerful Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping.

In 2021, the Chinese government continued to reinforce its official political rhetoric and control, both internally and in terms of foreign policy. Weak global demand and strained foreign relations are expected to intensify calls for economic self-sufficiency emphasising the importance of the domestic market. In 2022, China’s most immediate challenges remain related to addressing the economic, social and public health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reshaping the Chinese economy around the principle of self-reliance is in the current political agenda of the Communist Party of China - who has marked its 100th anniversary in 2021 - but it is a complex and multi-year process.

Main Political Parties
The only political party in the country is the CCP (Chinese Communist Party). There are eight other registered small parties, but they remain under control of the CCP.
Executive Power
The Chinese executive is supervised by the State Council (collegial body equipped with important powers and appointed by the National People's Congress) under which are Government commissions, ministries and other organisations with the rank of a ministry. According to the Constitution, the Council is 'the Supreme Administrative Body' of the Chinese Government, even if the majority of important measures are decided by the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Council thus plays an important role in the economic domain.
The president is the head of state and is elected by the National People's Assembly. In general, he is also the general secretary of the Communist Party. He represents China in international institutions. The prime minister directs and controls government action, assisted by four deputy prime ministers. The State Council also includes 5 state councillors, who, like deputy prime ministers, have jurisdiction over several ministerial departments or commissions. The Secretary General of the Government is also a member of the State Council.
Legislative Power
The legislature is monocameral, composed of the National People's Congress (NPC). It is known as a 'Body of Supreme Power of the Government' and meets once per year in a plenary session. There are approximately 3,000 designated deputies elected to the NPC every five years by indirect vote of local bodies. Since the 1980s, it has been dominated by local or sectional interests. Deputies are the representatives of 23 provinces, five areas and four autonomous municipalities. The NPC comprises a delegation of the People's Liberation Army. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress is appointed by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Party. It sits instead of the NPC during its recess and exercises all its powers. It is composed of a president, 15 vice-presidents and 176 permanent members. The Standing Committee sits regularly, but it is the Bureau of the NPC which exerts its functions on a daily basis. Eligibility is controlled by the CCP, which also has a right to supervise the appointment of the executives and the senior officials of different administrative units.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
177/180

Source: World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Political Freedom:
7/7


Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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Latest Update: June 2022