LA CINA E UNA POTENZA COMUNISTA, NON ESISTE LA LIBERT´┐Ż DI ESPRESSIONE, LA POLIZIA OPPRIME I CITADINI QUANDO DICONO CHE SONO IN UNA DITTATURA ASSOLUTA. SONO PAESI A RISCHIO, ANCHE UN EUROPEO RISCHIA LA GALERA SESZA AVER FATTO NIENTE. SENCONDO ME DOVREMMO BLOCCARE TUTTI I PRODOTTI CINESI, COSI I POLITICI DIVENTANO MENO ARROGANTI. LA CINA NON RISPETTA I DIRITTI UMANI. TANTE TORTURE E TANTA GENTE VIENE FUCILATA AL MURO. NELLA CCTV SI VEDONO SOLTANTO DEI FILM,DELLE CANZONI E DELLA PROPAGANDA CHE ´┐Ż UN LAVAGGIO DI CERVELLO AI CITADINI. IO SONO CINESE E HO UN RISTORANTE CINESE A ROMA. MI CHIAMO SUIANG NANKANG.
PRIGIONIERI E TORTURE CINESI. LOTTIAMO CONTRO LA OPRESSIONE DEL POPOLO.
The Communist Party of China was founded on July 1, 1921 in Shanghai, China. After 28 years of struggle, the CPC finally won victory of "new-democratic revolution" and founded the People's Republic of China in 1949.
The People's Republic of China (PRC) is an authoritarian state in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP or Party) is the paramount source of power. Party members held almost all top government, police, and military positions. Ultimate authority rested with members of the Politburo. Leaders stressed the need to maintain stability and social order and were committed to perpetuating the rule of the CCP and its hierarchy. Citizens lacked both the freedom to peacefully express opposition to the party-led political system and the right to change their national leaders or form of government. Socialism continued to provide the theoretical underpinning of national politics, but Marxist economic planning had given way to pragmatism, and economic decentralization increased the authority of local officials. The Party's authority rested primarily on the Government's ability to maintain social stability; appeals to nationalism and patriotism; party control of personnel, media, and the security apparatus; and continued improvement in the living standards of most of the country's 1.3 billion citizens. The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, in practice the Government and the CCP, at both the central and local levels, frequently interfered in the judicial process and directed verdicts in many high-profile cases.
The theoretical basis of the political system continued to be Marxism-Leninism, but with an unmistakable emphasis on the application of this doctrine to achieve desired results. The test of a reform was no longer how closely it reflected hallowed quotations or ideas--although reforms continued to be couched in proper doctrinal arguments--but whether or not it produced demonstrable benefits to the reform program. The banner slogan of the reform agenda was "socialism with Chinese characteristics." This slogan implied that considerable leeway would be allowed in doctrinal matters in order to achieve the overriding goal of rapid modernization. But reform leaders realized that successful implementation of the broad-ranging reform program required a stable, professional bureaucracy to direct the course of events. The course chosen included a more rational division of powers and functions for the party and government, and it provided a body of regulations and procedures to support the separation. Institutions were set up to maintain discipline and to audit bureaucratic records.
The organizational principle that drives the Chinese political system is democratic centralism. Within the system, the democratic feature demands participation and expression of opinion on key policy issues from members at all levels of party organization. It depends on a constant process of consultation and investigation. At the same time, the centralist feature requires that subordinate organizational levels follow the dictates of superior levels. Once the debate has reached the highest level and decisions concerning policy have been made, all party members are obliged to support the Central Committee.
The National Party Congress is in theory the highest body of the CCP. It should be distinguished from the National People's Congress, China's highest legislative body. After its ascent to power in 1949, the party held no congress until 1956. This was the eighth congress since the party's founding in 1921. The Ninth National Party Congress convened in April 1969, the tenth in August 1973, the eleventh in August 1977, and the twelfth in September 1982.
Political power is formally vested in the much smaller CCP Central Committee and the other central organs answerable directly to this committee. The Central Committee is elected by the National Party Congress and is identified by the number of the National Party Congress that elected it. Central Committee meetings are known as plenums (or plenary sessions), and each plenum of a new Central Committee is numbered sequentially. Plenums are to be held at least annually. In addition, there are partial, informal, and enlarged meetings of Central Committee members where often key policies are formulated and then confirmed by a plenum. For example, the "Communique of the Third Plenum of the Eleventh Central Committee" (December 1978), which established the party's commitment to economic modernization, resulted from a month-long working meeting that preceded the Third Plenum.
The day-to-day work of the CCP is carried out by the Secretariat and its various departments--all placed under the direction of the Political Bureau and its Standing Committee. The Secretariat (suspended in 1966) was reestablished in February 1980 as the administrative center of the party apparatus, or, more aptly, as the party's inner cabinet. The Secretariat and its general secretary are elected by the CCP Central Committee.
The CCP's Central Military Commission is also elected by the Central Committee and exercises authority over the military through the General Political Department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Since 1982 the party Central Military Commission has had a counterpart organization in the state Central Military Commission. In fact, the leadership of both bodies is identical. Nevertheless, because the party Central Military Commission reports directly to the powerful Central Committee, it is the authoritative body in matters of military policy.
Below the central level, party committees and congresses were formed in the twenty-one provinces, five autonomous regions, and three special municipalities directly under the central government. Taiwan was listed as a province but, of course, was not under China's administration. The party also was represented in various county subdivisions (which included the prefectures) and within the PLA from regional headquarters down to regimental level. At the bottom of the party hierarchy were three kinds of basic organizations: general party branches, primary party committees, and party branches. These were set up in factories, shops, schools, offices, neighborhoods, PLA companies, and other places, depending on local circumstances and subject to approval by the appropriate party committees.
Party committees at the provincial level are elected by the provincial-level congresses that convene every five years and have as additional functions the election of a discipline inspection commission, advisory commissions, and delegates to the National Party Congress. The county-level party congress convenes every three years and elects a committee, standing committee, and secretary. Below the county and PLA regimental levels, the general branch committee meets twice a year and is elected for a two-year term. The party branch, or lowest level of party organization, meets four times a year and elects a branch committee for a two-year term. Every party member must be a member of a branch committee. Party branch committees and their members at the grass-roots level are the backbone of the party organization. This is also the level where admission and expulsion of party members takes place. Branch members exchange views on issues, become thoroughly informed concerning party goals and policies, and learn to accept party discipline.
The CCP is variously estimated to have between 40 million and 60 million members (about 4-5 percent of the national population). To qualify as party members, applicants must be at least eighteen years of age and must go through a one-year probationary period. Emphasis is placed on the applicant's technical and educational qualifications rather than on ideological criteria. Members are expected, however, to be both "red" and "expert" (see Glossary), and the need to make the party apparatus more responsive to the demands and wishes of the masses of the people is stressed.
In an August 1980 speech, "On the Reform of the Party and State Leadership System," Deng Xiaoping declared that power was overcentralized and concentrated in the hands of individuals who acted arbitrarily, following patriarchal methods in carrying out their duties. Deng meant that the bureaucracy operated without the benefit of regularized and institutionalized procedures, and he recommended corrective measures such as abolishing the bureaucratic practice of life tenure for leading positions. In 1981 Deng proposed that a younger, better educated leadership corps be recruited from among cadres in their forties and fifties who had trained at colleges or technical secondary schools.
By the late 1980s the party and government cadre (ganbu) system, the rough equivalent of the civil service system in many other countries, was entering the final stages of a massive overhaul aimed at transforming the bureaucracy into an effective instrument of national policy. The term cadre refers to a public official holding a responsible or managerial position, usually full time, in party and government. A cadre may or may not be a member of the CCP, although a person in a sensitive position would almost certainly be a party member.
In sum, the "revolution" being carried out in the bureaucratic structures of power was meant to reorient the system away from the style, procedures, and excesses of the Cultural Revolution and toward the most efficient and potentially successful methods for China's modernization. This reorientation required the massive retirement of veteran cadres and the recruitment of those knowledgeable in modern economics and technology to be trained in leadership positions. It was an enormous task and one that obviously met significant resistance from those who either did not understand the new requirements or saw them as a substantial threat to their position and livelihood.
The Party's Leading Role
The Constitution states that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are fundamental rights to be enjoyed by all citizens; however, the Government tightly restricted these rights in practice. The Government interpreted the Party's "leading role," as mandated in the preamble to the Constitution, as circumscribing these rights. The Government strictly regulated the establishment and management of publications. The Government did not permit citizens to publish or broadcast criticisms of senior leaders or opinions that directly challenged Communist Party rule. The Party and Government continued to control many and, on occasion, all print and broadcast media tightly and used them to propagate the current ideological line. All media employees were under explicit, public orders to follow CCP directives and "guide public opinion," as directed by political authorities. Both formal and informal guidelines continued to require journalists to avoid coverage of many politically sensitive topics. These public orders, guidelines, and statutes greatly restricted the freedom of broadcast journalists and newspapers to report the news and led to a high degree of self-censorship.
The Constitution provides for freedom of peaceful assembly; however, the Government severely restricted this right in practice. The Constitution stipulates that such activities may not challenge "Party leadership" or infringe upon the "interests of the State." Protests against the political system or national leaders were prohibited. Authorities denied permits and quickly moved to suppress demonstrations involving expression of dissenting political views.
The Constitution provides for freedom of association; however, the Government restricted this right in practice. Communist Party policy and government regulations require that all professional, social, and economic organizations officially register with, and be approved by, the Government. Ostensibly aimed at restricting secret societies and criminal gangs, these regulations also prevent the formation of truly autonomous political, human rights, religious, spiritual, environmental, labor, and youth organizations that might directly challenge government authority. Since 1999, all concerts, sports events, exercise classes, or other meetings of more than 200 persons require approval from Public Security authorities.
The Constitution provides for freedom of religious belief and the freedom not to believe; however, the Government sought to restrict religious practice to government-sanctioned organizations and registered places of worship and to control the growth and scope of the activity of religious groups. There are five official religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestantism, and Catholicism. A government-affiliated association monitored and supervised the activities of each of the five faiths. Membership in religions was growing rapidly. While the Government generally did not seek to suppress this growth outright, it tried to control and regulate religious groups to prevent the rise of sources of authority outside the control of the Government and the Party.
The law does not prohibit religious believers from holding public office; however, most influential positions in government were reserved for Party members, and Party officials stated that Party membership and religious belief are incompatible. Party membership also was required for almost all high-level positions in government and in state-owned businesses and organizations. The Party reportedly issued circulars ordering Party members not to adhere to religious beliefs. The Routine Service Regulations of the People's Liberation Army state explicitly that servicemen "may not take part in religious or superstitious activities." Party and PLA personnel have been expelled for adhering to Falun Gong beliefs. In November, an international company that employs over 100,000 women in the country reported that it had revised its Chinese sales force agreement to remove an explicit ban on Falun Gong members.
Despite official regulations encouraging officials to be atheists, in some localities as many as 25 percent of Party officials engaged in some kind of religious activity. Most of these officials practiced Buddhism or a folk religion. The National People's Congress (NPC) included several religious representatives. Two of the NPC Standing Committee's vice chairmen are Fu Tieshan, a bishop and vice-chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, and Pagbalha Geleg Namgyai, a Tibetan "reincarnate lama." Religious groups also were represented in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, an advisory forum for "multiparty" cooperation and consultation led by the CCP, and in local and provincial governments. During the year, Director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs Ye Xiaowen publicly emphasized that the guiding "Three Represents" ideology includes serving the interests of "the more than 100 million persons with religious beliefs." In a widely reported July speech, he stated that "upholding the propaganda and education on atheism and upholding the policy on freedom of religious belief are both correct and necessary."
Citizens lack the right to change their government peacefully and cannot freely choose or change the laws and officials that govern them. Rural citizens voted directly for their local village committees, which were not considered to be government bodies, and, in some areas, for Party-reviewed candidates for positions in township governments and county-level people's congresses. However, people's congress delegates at the provincial level were selected by county-level people's congresses, and, in turn, provincial-level people's congresses selected delegates to the NPC. Although the Party vets candidates for all elections above the village level, many township, county, and provincial elections featured competition, with more candidates than available seats in some races. Many elections, however, remained tightly controlled.
According to the Constitution, the NPC is the highest organ of state power. Formally, it elects the President and Vice President, selects the Premier and Vice Premiers, and elects the Chairman of the State Central Military Commission. In practice, the NPC Standing Committee oversees these elections and determines the agenda and procedure for the NPC under the direct authority of the CCP's Politburo Standing Committee. The NPC does not have the power to set policy or remove Government or Party leaders. In general, the election and agenda of people's congresses at all levels remained under the firm control of the CCP, the paramount source of political authority. By the end of 2003, 23 provincial Party leaders had been named to head concurrently provincial people's congresses in order to strengthen Party control over the legislatures.
The CCP retained a tight rein on political decision-making and forbade the creation of new political parties. The Government continued efforts to suppress the CDP, an opposition party that had attracted hundreds of members nationwide within a few months of its founding in 1998. Public security forces had previously arrested nearly all of the CDP's leaders: Xu Wenli, Wang Youcai, and Qin Yongmin were sentenced in 1998 to prison terms of 13, 12, and 11 years respectively. Xu Wenli was released on medical parole to the United States in December 2002, but Wang and Qin remained in prison. At the time of the 16th Party Congress in November 2002, authorities targeted many remaining activists for signing an open letter calling for political reform and a reappraisal of the official verdict on the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.
Under the Organic Law of the Village Committees, all of the country's approximately 1 million villages were expected to hold competitive, direct elections for subgovernmental village committees. A 1998 revision to the law called for improvements in the nominating process and improved transparency in village committee administration. The revised law also explicitly transferred the power to nominate candidates to the villagers themselves, as opposed to village groups or Party branches. According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the majority of provinces have carried out at least four or five rounds of village elections. Foreign observers who monitored local village committee elections judged the elections they observed, on the whole, to have been fair. However, the Government estimated that one-third of all elections had serious procedural flaws. Corruption and interference by township level officials continued to be a problem in some cases.
Since 1998, there has been experimentation at the township level designed to expand the role of township residents in the selection of their leaders. The country's Constitution forbids direct election of officials above the village level, and a 2001 NPC directive emphasized that direct election of township-level officials was forbidden. In August, Wei Shengduo, a Party official in Chongqing municipality reportedly was detained for 2 weeks for trying to organize a direct election for the head of township government. Nonetheless, experimentation with indirect township-level elections continued during the year, and results of such elections were allowed to stand. Most such "elections" involved open nomination of candidates by township residents and pro forma confirmation by the township people's congress, selected either directly by residents or indirectly by "residents' representatives."
Candidates favored by local authorities have been defeated in some elections, although, in general, the CCP dominated the local electoral process. Approximately 60 percent of the members elected to the village committees were Party members. National-level election procedures mandate secret ballots and require villagers to be given ballots with space for write-in candidates, and these requirements were implemented in most cases. In elections for district level people's congresses, independent candidates were elected in Guangdong Province in May and in Beijing in December.
Corruption remained an endemic problem. The courts and Party agencies took disciplinary action against some public and Party officials during the year. According to the Supreme People's Procuratorate, prosecutors at all levels investigated 207,103 cases of embezzlement, bribery, and other functionary crimes during the 1997-2002 period. During that period, 83,308 public officials were convicted for graft or bribery, a 65 percent increase over the previous 5-year period, according to the Supreme People's Court. In April, the Minister of Supervision reported that 860,000 corruption cases were filed against Party members from 1997 to 2002, resulting in over 137,000 expulsions and disciplinary action in over 98 percent of cases. The Party's Central Discipline and Inspection Commission also played an important role in investigating corruption and official malfeasance but published no statistics and, in some cases, reportedly acted as a substitute for sanctions by the courts and other legal agencies.
The Constitution provides for freedom of association. However, in practice, workers were not free to organize or join unions of their own choosing. The All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), which was controlled by the Communist Party and headed by a high-level Party official, was the sole legal workers' organization. The Trade Union Law gives the ACFTU control over the establishment and operation of all subsidiary union organizations and activities throughout the country, including enterprise-level unions. The Trade Union Law also allows workers to decide whether to join official unions in their enterprises. There were no reports of repercussions for the small percentage of workers in the state-owned sector that had not joined. Independent unions are illegal.
Although the ACFTU and its constituent unions had a monopoly on trade union activity, their influence over the workplace diminished with the economic reforms of recent years. ACFTU unions were relatively powerless to protect the tens of millions of members who have lost their jobs or had their wages or benefits delayed or cut in the massive restructuring of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The unions have, however, provided some benefits and reemployment assistance to affected workers. The ACFTU had difficulty organizing in the country's rapidly growing private and foreign-invested sectors, where union membership during the year was estimated to be less than 20 percent. With declines in the state-owned sector and organizational weakness outside the state sector, the ACFTU's membership declined from nearly 100 percent of the urban workforce during the height of the planned economy to approximately 50 percent in recent years. The ACFTU reported a membership of 130 million at the end of 2002, out of an estimated 248 million urban workers.