Under Chinese Communist Party rule, village elections are the only example of a one-person, one-vote democracy in China. Launched in the mid-eighties, these elections were originally introduced to replace the village communes that were dissolved after the Cultural Revolution. At the time, few outside China paid much attention and many still do not know this is happening.
In addition, according to the US Army in 1928, a republic has a Constitution, and China has one, which provides for all four points that were made in the US Army definition of a republic. Another definition for a representative type of government is that the constitution is changeable from its original meaning by amendments and China’s 1954 Constitution was amended in 1982, 1988, 1993, 1999, and 2004.
Unlike the parliamentary democratic system where the prime minister may rule as long as his or her party holds the majority, China sets a limit of two five-year terms for its President, and he or she is elected by the National People’s Congress for the first of those two, five-year terms.
Emerging democracy in China
The office of President was created by the 1982 Constitution. Formally, the President is elected by the National People’s Congress in accordance with Article 62 of the Constitution. In practice, this election falls into the category of ‘single-candidate’ elections. The candidate is recommended by the Presidium of the National People’s Congress [The 2009 NPC Presidium is made up of 171 members and headed by the Secretary General of the NPC legislative session].
The National People’s Congress is the highest state body and the only legislative house in the People’s Republic of China with 2,987 members.
The State Council is the chief authority of the People’s Republic of China. It is appointed by the National People’s Congress, is chaired by the Premier, and includes the heads of each governmental department and agency. There are about 50 members in the Council. In the politics of the People’s Republic of China, the Central People’s Government forms one of three interlocking branches of power, the others being the Communist Party of China and the People’s Liberation Army.
The Supreme People’s Court is the highest court in the judicial system of the People’s Republic of China.
Hong Kong and Macau, as special administrative regions, have their own separate judicial systems based on British common law traditions and Portuguese civil-law traditions respectively, and are out of the jurisdiction of the Supreme People’s Court. The National People’s Congress appoints the judges of the Supreme People’s Court, which is similar to the United States where both houses of congress approve the appointment of the justices of the Supreme Court.
The governors of China’s provinces and autonomous regions and mayors of its centrally controlled municipalities are appointed by the central government in Beijing after receiving the nominal consent of the National People’s Congress.
Continued on January 25, 2012 in Is China a Republic – Part 4 or return to Part 2
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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