The World’s Largest Political Party is in China

May 11, 2016

In late 2015, the South China Morning Post reported that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had almost 88 million members, a figure greater than the population of Germany and 217 other countries. In fact, out of 233 countries listed by worldometers, only 15 had populations greater then the CCP’s membership.

The South China Morning Post report said, “Membership is coveted and can bring benefits in terms of connections in business and academia as well as the prestige associated with being part of the country’s ruling class.”

For a comparison to the United States, there are four major political parties that rule America: 46.6-million are registered Democrats, 33.5-million are Republicans, and 65.5 million are independents, that do not belong to any political party (because they are so disgusted with extremists and corruption).

The Libertarian Party has 411,250 members with 143 members holding elected offices in the U.S. but this party has more political power than its size because of support from the Koch brothers and several other American billionaires (click the link to learn how devious they are). The Green Party, the smallest of the four with 134 elected Greens across the U.S., has 250,000 registered voters.

How does a Chinese citizen become a member of the CCP?

One source for CCP members may come from the Communist Youth League of China that has 89-million members. China’s Youth League, although overseen by the CCP, is a separate organization. The two are not necessarily one and the same, and not all Youth League members go on to join the CCP.

The China Daily says, “It (the Youth League) is a school where a large number of people learn about socialism with Chinese characteristics and about communism through practice. It is the Party’s assistant and reserve force.”

However, “Many of today’s party members are culled from the top ranks of high schools and colleges: top students are invited to join the party, and it is the sort of invitation that can’t be refused. Others can be nominated by friends who are party members, or apply on their own initiative if they have the support of other party members. During the past two decades, the ranks of the party have been expanded to include businessmen (who were previously not allowed to join) as well as more ethnic minorities, who currently account for 7 per cent of party members.” – Beyond Bricks

There are also factions within the CCP—just like the United States—that have different political opinions and agendas that balance each other. Political theorists have identified two groups within the Communist Party, a structure that has been called “one party, two factions”. The first is the “elitist coalition” or Shanghai clique which is composed mainly of officials who have risen from the more prosperous provinces. The second is the populist coalition, the core of which are the tuanpai, or the Youth League faction which consists mainly of officials who have risen from the rural interior, through the Communist Youth League.

Within his “one party, two factions” model, Li Cheng has noted that one should avoid labeling these two groupings with simplistic ideological labels, and that these two groupings do not act in a zero-sum, winner take all fashion. Neither group has the ability or will to dominate the other completely.

Then there is a study from the China Quarterly that explains why we find so many of China’s wealthy as members/supporters of the CCP.

“This article presents original survey data from 1999 and 2005 to evaluate the Communist Party’s strategy towards the private sector. The CCP is increasingly integrating itself with the private sector both by co-opting entrepreneurs into the Party and encouraging current Party members to go into business. It has opened the political system to private entrepreneurs, but still screens which ones are allowed to play political roles. Because of their close personal and professional ties, and because of their shared interests in promoting economic growth, China’s capitalist and communist officials share similar viewpoints on a range of political, economic and social issues. Rather than promote democratic governance, China’s capitalists have a stake in preserving the political system that has allowed them to prosper, and they are among the Party’s most important bases of support.” — The China Quarterly, 192, December 2007, pp.827-854

In addition, the President of China, who is limited to two, five-year terms, does not hold total dictatorial power and cannot be labeled a dictator. In fact, Bloomberg reports that China’s president has far less power than the President of the U.S. For a better understanding of who holds power in China and how that power works, I suggest clicking the Bloomberg link in this paragraph.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

Where to Buy

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

Advertisements

If China government isn’t a Monarchy or a Dictatorship, what is it? Part 3 of 4

December 12, 2014

Before we move on, let’s take a brief look at the Athenian democracy that was developed around the 5th century B.C. in the Greek city-state of Athens. Even though there is evidence that democratic forms of government existed before the 5th century, ancient Athens is generally believed to be the first democracy.

What did that democracy look like? Athens had a system of direct democracy, in which participating citizens voted directly on legislation and executive bills. But participation was not open to all residents: to vote, one had to be an adult, male citizen, and the number varied between 30,000 and 50,000 out of a total population of around 250,000 to 300,000—about 150,000 were slaves.

In comparison, the membership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is now 86.7 million—men make-up 77 percent of CP’s membership, while woman make up 23 percent—making the CCP the world’s largest political party representing more than 6 percent of China’s population, and slavery is illegal just like it is in the U.S.

In Part 2, I explained why China was not a monarchy or a dictatorship. In this post and in Part 4, I will show why China is becoming more like the republic Dr. Sun Yat-sen may have imagined by combining Western thought with Chinese traditions.

After Mao died, The Communist Party worked for several years to draft the 1982 Constitution, which included term limits of two five-year terms for elected government officials.

If you have read the Chinese Constitution carefully, it is obvious that the U.S. Constitution was used as a model. However, these two documents are not the same.

If the Party leadership is not happy with China’s president, he can be removed after one five-year term. There is even an article of impeachment in China’s Constitution.

China’s first president was Li Xiannian (1983 to 1988). He served one, five-year term, and then he stepped down.

From 1988 to 1993, Yang Shangkun would be China’s president for one five-year term. Deng Xiaoping (born 1904 – died 1997) was the Chairman of the Communist Party from 1983 to 1993, which was ten years—what China’s 1982 Constitution calls for, but Deng never served as the country’s president.

Due to how the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989 was handled, President Yang had to step down at the end of his first, five-year term. The only other way to remove him would have been through impeachment.

In 1993, Jiang Zemin became President and Chairman of the Communist Party. Then in 2003, Hu Jintao became President and Chairman of the Party. His term ended in 2012 when Xi Jinping became president of China.

Continued in Part 4 on December 13, 2014 or return to Part 2

View as Single Page

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. 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.

Kindle_LR_e-book_cover_MSC_July_25_2013

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


The Private World of Politics Inside China

February 11, 2014

This will probably rankle some, but the world of politics inside China isn’t that much different from the United States. Where the U.S. has two major parties and several splinter parties with little or no political power no matter how loud they shout, China has one major political party and several splinter parties without political power.

But what goes on inside the Chinese Communist Party mirrors what goes on between the GOP and the Democrats—when I say mirrors, I mean there are factions that debate and disagree with each other.

What the world sees in China is a government that seems to be walking in step but under the surface there are a lot of different opinions and debates taking place behind closed doors. In the end, like all republics—instead of one man making all the decisions—a consensus usually makes the final decision on important issues.

The biggest difference with the CCP is that any disagreements and arguments between factions are not for public consumption through the media like it is in the political circus that makes up American politics.

“It’s worth remembering that China has parties other than the Chinese Communist Party, although this does not make China a ‘multi-party state’ in the sense of the term. But observing how the CCP interacts with these other groupings can be revealing.”  (Sino-Gist)

The following list represents the eight registered minor political parties in China:

1. Revolutionary Committee of Kuomintang that’s considered second in status to the CCP has 53,000 members.

2. China’s Democratic League formed by 130,000 members, mainly mid-level and senior intellectuals.

3. Representing market socialism is the China Democratic national Construction Association that was formed by 69,000 members.

4. China Association for Promoting Democracy with about 65,000 members.

5. Chinese Peasants’ and Workers’ Democratic Party with 65,000 members

6. Zhigongdang of China: Returned overseas Chinese with 15,000 members

7. Jiusan Society with 68.000 members

8. Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League with 1,600 people mostly wealthy Taiwanese who now live on the mainland.

There is also the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) that was established in 1949 when the CCP legally made women equal to men for the first time in China’s history.  I wrote about that in Women’s Rights in China.

Then there’s the China Youth League (founded in 1920 with more than 73 million members today) and other representatives from people’s organizations; representatives of the People’s Liberation Army; and representatives of minority ethnic groups that have a population of over 1 million each. (China.org)

Another segment of the population where the CCP recruits new members, are freshly minted millionaires and billionaires of China’s successful capitalists—after an exhaustive background check probably similar to the CIA or FBI.

Many from the political list mentioned earlier may not belong to the CCP or have voting rights, but they have a voice. Just as most western corporate business is conducted on a golf course, in China these nonvoting members may express themselves at meals and banquets with CCP voting members.

These non-voting members are sort of like lower management in a corporation who take advantage to express their opinions and suggestions, with no guarantee that the majority of the CCP will agree.

In fact, non-party members, who are of a like mind, may be noticed and possibly asked to join the party, which is an invitation few in China reject since it means joining the more than 80 million that rule the country.

The Journal of Current Chinese Affairs reports: “China’s emerging bipartisanship within the CCP, therefor, is not only a mechanism of power-sharing through checks and balances among competing political camps, but also entails a more dynamic and pluralistic decision-making process through which political leaders can represent various social and geographic constituencies.”

In addition, “the diverse demographic and political backgrounds of China’s new leaders can also be considered a positive development that may contribute to the Chinese-style inner-Party democracy.” (The Chinese Communist Party: Recruiting and Controlling the New Elites)

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. 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.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Joining the Party

March 11, 2013

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has 83 million members, more than a quarter of the US population. For a comparison, there are about 63-million Democrats, 47-million Republicans and 32-million independents registered to vote in the United States.

How does a Chinese citizen become a member of the CCP?

One source for CCP members may come from the Communist Youth League of China that has 73-million members. China’s Youth League, although overseen by the CCP, is a separate organization. The two are not necessarily one and the same and not all Youth League members go on to join the CCP.

The China Daily says, “It (the Youth League) is a school where a large number of people learn about socialism with Chinese characteristics and about communism through practice. It is the Party’s assistant and reserve force.”

However, “Many of today’s party members are culled from the top ranks of high schools and colleges: top students are invited to join the party, and it is the sort of invitation that can’t be refused. Others can be nominated by friends who are party members, or apply on their own initiative if they have the support of other party members. During the past two decades, the ranks of the party have been expanded to include businessmen (who were previously not allowed to join) as well as more ethnic minorities, who currently account for 7 per cent of party members.” Source: Beyond Bricks

The conclusion of Leslie Hook’s Beyond Brick’s piece quoted Sidney Rittenberg, who says of the CCP, “Dictatorship gives you more dictatorship, not democracy.”

But, I do not agree with the term “dictatorship” to describe the CCP.  China is ruled by an authoritarian, one party political system and decisions are made by the consensus of hundreds of Party members. A dictatorship is a form of government in which absolute power is concentrated in a dictator or a small clique. Source: Merriam-Webster.com

There are also factions within the CCP that have different political opinions and agendas that balance each other. Political theorists have identified two groups within the Communist Party, a structure which has been called “one party, two factions”. The first is the “elitist coalition” or Shanghai clique which is composed mainly of officials who have risen from the more prosperous provinces. The second is the populist coalition, the core of which are the tuanpai, or the Youth League faction which consists mainly of officials who have risen from the rural interior, through the Communist Youth League.

Within his “one party, two factions” model, Li Cheng has noted that one should avoid labeling these two groupings with simplistic ideological labels, and that these two groupings do not act in a zero-sum, winner take all fashion. Neither group has the ability or will to dominate the other completely.

Then there is this study from the China Quarterly that explains why we find so many of China’s wealthy as members/supporters of the CCP.

“This article presents original survey data from 1999 and 2005 to evaluate the Communist Party’s strategy towards the private sector. The CCP is increasingly integrating itself with the private sector both by co-opting entrepreneurs into the Party and encouraging current Party members to go into business. It has opened the political system to private entrepreneurs, but still screens which ones are allowed to play political roles. Because of their close personal and professional ties, and because of their shared interests in promoting economic growth, China’s capitalist and communist officials share similar viewpoints on a range of political, economic and social issues. Rather than promote democratic governance, China’s capitalists have a stake in preserving the political system that has allowed them to prosper, and they are among the Party’s most important bases of support.” Source: The China Quarterly, 192, December 2007, pp.827-854

Discover Rumors of China – Fact or Fiction

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. 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.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China