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The Chinese government is one of the most important actors in international affairs today. China’s global economic and diplomatic presence is challenging the earlier dominance by the Western powers. To thoroughly understand how the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has grown in power requires a careful analysis of its political system. What contribution has the political system and government activity made in respect to China’s economic transformation? What consequences will the economic modernisation and world-economic integration have on the political system? Is the political system able to adapt to changing economic, technological, and international conditions? Which potentials and risks will shape the mid-term development of the political system?

The book offers a differentiated understanding of the conditions, potentials and risks of the political development in China. It is based on a comprehensive of analysis of Chinese resources and gives readers the most current overview of international China research.

"China's political system" published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers is available on Amazon.

The German version of the book is available in bookshops or online at:

AmazonThaliaBücher.deWeltbild, Springer

China's Political System cover

Updates on China's Political System

We constantly update all chapters. You can browse all updates on China's Political System by key word or chapter of the book. 

2.5 Provincial- and municipal-level governments

State Council approves plan for Chengdu-Chongqing City Cluster

On March 30, the executive meeting of the State Council discussed and endorsed the plan that is part of a larger initiative to boost socio-economic development in China’s southwest.

Source EN, Source CN

2.6.2 Hong Kong’s political trajectory

Zhang Dejiang visits Hong Kong

From May 17 to 18, Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and Politburo Standing Committee Member in charge of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, visited Hong Kong. During his visit, he struck a fairly conciliatory tone but also warned of “chaos” in Hong Kong. Zhang was the first high level state leader to visit Hong Kong since Hu Jintao’s visit in 2012.

Source EN, Source CN

Student leaders found new political party

On April 10, members of the now disbanded group Scholarism around student leader Joshua Wong founded the new party Demosisto. One of the party’s goals is to push for a referendum by 2026 in which residents of Hong Kong will be allowed to vote on their political future after 2047, when the “One Country Two Systems” principle that protects Hong Kong’s unique political, economic, and legal system officially expires.

Source EN, Source CN

1.5 Analytical approaches to Chinese politics

New MERICS Paper on China edited by Heilmann and Stepan

The publication analyzes leadership styles, structures and processes in “China’s Core Executive”. The report provides a balanced understanding of the rationale and the mechanisms that guide top-level decision-making and leadership in today’s China. This unique analytical focus on the core executive posits that shifting functions, interactions and resources of top-level (supra-ministerial) policy-makers and their supporting organizations help to explain systemic change in China.

2.10 Legislation, the People’s Congresses, and the Political Consultative Conferences

The NPC enacted the Act on the administration of the activities of overseas nongovernmental organizations within China

The NPC approved and enacted the NGO Act. The law represents a significant measure of imposing further political control of foreign NGOs in China, especially with regard to those activities that may arouse political concerns on the part of the Chinese government. Notably, the law places foreign NGOs under the obligation of registration at the public security departments above the provincial level. NGOs in China must also divulge their annual financial budgets and submit annual reports to the Chinese government.

Source EN, Source CN

The NPC issued a resolution on the seventh five-year plan for promoting the publicity and education of rule of law

The NPC will conduct a further campaign of promoting the dissemination of such basic concepts as the priority of the constitution, facilitating the study of fundamental laws and regulations, and enhancing the general consciousness about rule of law among the Chinese citizens.

Source CN

Member of the Political Consultative Conference criticized China’s public confession practice and got censored

Zhu Zhengfu, deputy chairman of the All-China Lawyers Association and a delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, criticized the recent spate of instances where people have appeared on state television to express their remorse for crimes they’re accused of. However, the interview with Zhu conducted by, a Chinese financial website, which revealed Zhu’s opinions, was censored during the Political Consultative Conference.

Source CN, Source EN

2.12 The military and politics

New military title for Xi

The party-state media announced on April 21 that Xi Jinping has been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the newly established Joint Operations Command (军委联合作战指挥中心). Xi wore a camouflage combat uniform and was surrounded by China’s highest-ranking generals during an inspection tour to the new facility. The official PLA report suggests that Xi, in times of crisis, would receive military reports from Joint Operations Command on the tactical level and be involved in military decision-making.

Source EN, Source CN

2.11.5 Attorneys

Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang loses licence

Pu Zhiqiang, one of the most famous Chinese civil right lawyers, who specializes in press freedom among others and was given a suspended three-year prison sentence last December, was reported to have been disbarred due to his postings on social media.

Source EN, Source CN

2.9 The cadre system and public administration

Provincial level governments issue regulations on cadre promotion and demotion

In March, 12 provincial level governments in China have issued new regulations on cadre management. The regulations provide the legal basis for the promotion and demotion of cadre. In July 2015, the CCP leadership had explicitly called for clear rules concerning cadre demotion.

Source CN

Editor and principal author