Communist Party of China

The Communist Party of China (CPC), also known as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Although nominally it exists alongside the United Front,[1] in practice, the CPC is also the only party of the PRC,[2] maintaining a unitary government centralising the state, military, and media.[3] The legal power of the Communist Party is guaranteed by the PRC constitution.[3]

The party was founded on July 1st 1921 in Shanghai.[4] After a lengthy civil war, the party defeated its primary rival, the Kuomintang (KMT), and expanded into all of mainland China by 1949.[5] The Kuomintang retreated to the island of Taiwan, which it still retains to this day.

The PRC is a single-party state,[2] and the CPC is the dominant entity of the government of the People's Republic of China. The party has fluctuated between periods of reform and political conservatism throughout its history. In the modern party, the topic of reform and liberalisation remains a contentious issue heavily debated among top officials.[6] On one side, Wu Bangguo, the head of the National People's Congress, has said that:

"We will never simply copy the system of Western countries or introduce a system of multiple parties holding office in rotation."[7] On the other, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has stressed the need of reform, stating that: "Without the safeguard of political reform, the fruits of economic reform would be lost and the goal of modernization would not materialize."[8]

The CPC is the world's largest political party,[9] claiming nearly 78 million members[10] at the end of 2009 which constitutes about 5.6% of the total population of mainland China.

Contents [hide] 1 Organization 1.1 Factions 1.2 Membership 2 History 3 Political ideology and stances 3.1 Regional corruption and reform 3.2 Relationship with competing ideologies 3.2.1 Religion 4 Current leadership 4.1 Historical leaders 5 References 6 External links

[edit] Organization This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2010)

The party's organizational structure was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and rebuilt afterwards by Deng Xiaoping, who subsequently initiated "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" and brought all state apparatuses back under the rule of the CPC.

Theoretically, the party's highest body is the National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which meets at least once every five years. The primary organization of power in the Communist Party which is detailed in the party constitution include:

Central Committee, which includes: The General Secretary, which is the highest ranking official within the Party and usually the Chinese Paramount leader. The Politburo, consisting of 24 full members (including the members of the Politburo Standing Committee) and one alternate; see current members of the Politburo for a complete list.

The Politburo Standing Committee, which currently consists of nine members; see current members of the Politburo Standing Committee for a complete list. The Secretariat, the principal administrative mechanism of the CPC, headed by the General Secretary of the Central Committee; The Central Military Commission (a parallel organization of the government institution of the same name); The Central Discipline Inspection Commission, which is directly under the National Congress and on the same level with the Central Committee, charged with rooting out corruption and malfeasance among party cadres. Other central organizations include:

General Office[11] Central Organization Department; Propaganda Department International Liaison Department; and United Front Department In addition, there are numerous commissions and leading groups, the most important of which are:

Central Political and Legislative Affairs Committee Work Committee for Organs under the Central Committee Work Committee for Central Government Organs Central Financial and Economic Leading Group Central Leading Group for Rural Work Central Leading Group for Party Building Central Foreign Affairs Leading Group Central Taiwan Affairs Leading Group Commission for Protection of Party Secrets Leading Group for State Security Party History Research Centre Party Research Center Central Party School Every five years, the Communist Party of China holds a National Congress. The latest happened on October 19, 2005. Formally, the Congress serves two functions: to approve changes to the Party constitution regarding policy and to elect a Central Committee, about 300 strong. The Central Committee in turn elects the Politburo. In practice, positions within the Central Committee and Politburo are determined before a Party Congress, and the main purpose of the Congress is to announce the party policies and vision for the direction of China in the following few years.

The party's central focus of power is the Politburo Standing Committee. The process for selecting Standing Committee members, as well as Politburo members, occurs behind the scenes in a process parallel to the National Congress. The new power structure is announced obliquely through the positioning of portraits in the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Party. The number of Standing Committee members varies and has tended to increase over time. The Committee was expanded to nine at the 16th Party National Congress in 2009.

There are two other key organs of political power in the People's Republic of China: the formal government and the People's Liberation Army. There are, in addition to decision-making roles, advisory committees, including the People's Political Consultative Conference. During the 1980s and 1990s there was a Central Advisory Commission established by Deng Xiaoping which consisted of senior retired leaders, but with their passing this has been abolished since 1990.

[edit] Factions The flag of the Communist Party of ChinaPolitical scientists have identified two groupings within the Communist Party[12] leading to a structure which has been called "one party, two factions".[13] The first is the "elitist coalition" or Shanghai clique which contains mainly 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.

Minor informal groupings include the reformist Qinghua clique, and the derogatorily-termed Crown Prince Party of officials benefiting from nepotism. The interaction between the two main factions is largely complementary with each faction possessing a particular expertise and both committed to the continued rule of the Communist Party and not allowing intra-party factional politics threaten party unity. It has been noted that party and government positions have been assigned to create a very careful balance between these two groupings.

Within his "one party, two factions" model, Li Chen 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.[14]

[edit] MembershipThe party was small at first, but grew intermittently through the 1920s. Twelve voting delegates were seated at the 1st National Congress in 1921, as well as at the 2nd (in 1922), when they represented 195 party members. By 1923, the 420 members were represented by 30 delegates. The 1925 4th Congress had 20 delegates representing 994 members; then real growth kicked in. The 5th Congress (held in April–May 1927 as the KMT was cracking down on communists) comprised 80 voting delegates representing 57,968 members.

It was on October 3, 1928 6th Congress that the now-familiar ‘full’ and ‘alternate’ structure originated, with 84 and 34 delegates, respectively. Membership was estimated at 40,000. In 1945, the 7th Congress had 547 full and 208 alternate delegates representing 1.21 million members, a ratio of one representative per 1,600 members as compared to 1:725 in 1927.

After the Party defeated the Nationalists, participation at National Party Congresses became much less representative. Each of the 1026 full and 107 alternate members represented 9,470 party members (10.73 million in total) at the 1956 8th Congress. Subsequent congresses held the number of participants down despite membership growing to more than 60 million by 2000.[15] [edit] History This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2010)

Location of the first Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in July 1921, in Xintiandi, former French Concession, Shanghai. Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.Main article: History of the Communist Party of China The CPC has its origins in the May Fourth Movement of 1919, where radical political systems like anarchism and Communism gained traction among Chinese intellectuals.[16] Stalin opposed the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang because he wanted to expand Soviet influence in the province.[17]

The CPC's ideologies have significantly evolved since its founding and establishing political power in 1949. Mao's revolution that founded the PRC was nominally based on Marxism-Leninism with a rural focus based on China's social situations at the time. During the 1960s and 1970s, the CPC experienced a significant ideological breakdown with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev, and later, Leonid Brezhnev.

Since then Mao's peasant revolutionary vision and so-called "continued revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat" stipulated that class enemies continued to exist even though the socialist revolution seemed to be complete, giving way to the Cultural Revolution. This fusion of ideas became known officially as "Mao Zedong Thought", or Maoism outside of China. It represented a powerful branch of communism that existed in opposition to the Soviet Union's "Marxist revisionism".

Following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, however, the CPC under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping moved towards Socialism with Chinese characteristics and instituted Chinese economic reform. In reversing some of Mao's "extreme-leftist" policies, Deng argued that a socialist country and the market economy model were not mutually exclusive. While asserting the political power of the Party itself, the change in policy generated significant economic growth.

The ideology itself, however, came into conflict on both sides of the spectrum with Maoists as well as progressive liberals, culminating with other social factors to cause the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests. Deng's vision for economic success and a new socialist market model became entrenched in the Party constitution in 1997 as Deng Xiaoping Theory.

The "third generation" of leadership under Jiang Zemin, Zhu Rongji, and associates largely continued Deng's progressive economic vision while overseeing the re-emergence of Chinese nationalism in the 1990s. Nationalist sentiment has seemingly also evolved to become informally the part of the Party's guiding doctrine.

As part of Jiang's nominal legacy, the CPC ratified the Three Represents into the 2003 revision of the Party Constitution as a "guiding ideology", encouraging the Party to represent "advanced productive forces, the progressive course of China's culture, and the fundamental interests of the people." There are various interpretations of the Three Represents. Most notably, the theory has legitimized the entry of private business owners and quasi-"bourgeoisie" elements into the party.

The insistent road of focusing almost exclusively on economic growth has led to a wide range of serious social problems. The CPC's "fourth generation" of leadership under Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, after taking power in 2003, attempted reversing such a trend by bringing forth an integrated ideology that tackled both social and economic concerns. This new ideology was known as the creation of a Harmonious Society using the Scientific Development Concept.

The degree of power the Party had on the state has gradually decreased as economic liberalizations progressed. The evolution of CPC ideology has gone through a number of defining changes that it no longer bears much resemblance to its founding principles. Some believe that the large amount of economic liberalization starting from the late 1970s to present, indicates that the CPC has transitioned to endorse economic neoliberalism.[18][19][20][21] The CPC's current policies are fiercely rejected as capitalist by most communists, especially anti-revisionists, and by adherents of the Chinese New Left from within the PRC.

The Communist Party of China comprises a single-party state form of government; however, there are parties other than the CPC within China, which report to the United Front Department of the Communist Party of China and do not act as opposition or independent parties. Since the 1980s, as its commitment to Marxist ideology has appeared to wane, the party has begun to increasingly invoke Chinese nationalism as a legitimizing principle as opposed to the socialist construction for which the party was originally created. The change from socialism to nationalism has pleased the CPC's former enemy, the Kuomintang (KMT), which has warmed its relations with the CPC since 2003.