MERICS China's Political System header


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 have updated all chapters until May 2018. You can browse all updates on China's Political System by key word or chapter of the book. 

2.3.4 Central working organs and Leading Small Groups

Xi Jinping heads a newly formed Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development

The decision was made by the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee on January 22. Exploiting cutting-edge technologies, like artificial intelligence, robotics, big data and nanotechnology, is viewed by the Chinese leadership as crucial for modern warfare. The new commission is expected to facilitate the transfer of innovative developments from technology companies and national research institutes to the military.

Source EN, Source CN

2.11.6 Criminal law and the penal system

SPC acknowledges wrong use of death penalty of Nie Shubin

On December 2, the 2nd Circuit Tribunal of the SPC found Nie Shubin innocent, a man accused of murder and executed after the People’s High Court of Hebei sentenced him to death in 1995. This was an unprecedented ruling. However, the SPC failed to find him being tortured under detainment. 

Source EN, Source CN

2.6 Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong and Macau

New literature

Ying Xia. “Contesting Citizenship in Post-Handover Hong Kong.” Journal of Chinese Political Science. December 2016, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 485–500.

2.10.2 The People’s Congresses

Pilot project of supervisory commissions

On December 25, the NPCSC issued a decision on the pilot project of reforms of the national supervision system starting in Beijing, Shanxi and Zhejiang. The purpose is to create a new supervision commission under the people’s congresses.

Source EN, Source CN

Pilot projects of establishing supervision committees under the people’s congresses in Beijing, Shanxi and Zhejiang

On November 7, 2016, the General Office of the Central Committee of the CCP issued its Pilot Plan of Reforms of the National Supervision System in Beijing, Shanxi and Zhejiang. In these cities and provinces, the people’s congresses will establish “supervision committees” and elect their key personnel, whose major functions and duties are to carry out the anti-corruption campaigns.

Source ENSource CN

2.12 The military and politics

Pilot projects for mixed-ownership reform of state-owned enterprises announced

The central government announced steps to expand mixed ownership forms of state-owned enterprises. Tentative schemes for seven sectors will be introduced in approved pilot projects. Mixed-ownership reform has been identified as a major driver for improving management of state-owned enterprises by Liu He, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Source EN, Source CN

2.6.2 Hong Kong’s political trajectory

Legal challenges against four elected pan-democratic lawmakers

On December 2, 2016, Hong Kong’s government lodged a judicial review against four pan-democratic lawmakers elected during the September 2016 Legislative Council (LegCo) elections. Two “localist” lawmakers were already excluded from the LegCo after their oaths were declared invalid due to deviation from protocol. The move comes amid concerns from Beijing that the Hong Kong government does not have Hong Kong’s pro-independence movement under control.

Source EN, Source CN

2.3.2 Party congresses and ballots

The election of delegates for 19th Party Congress will be completed by the end of June 2017

This has been specified by Central Committee guidelines released on December 7. The guidelines further confirm that a total of 2,300 delegates will be selected by forty electoral blocks. The number of candidates standing for election must exceed the number of elected delegates by at least 15 percent. Political loyalty is one of the most important selection criteria, according to the document. The Party Congress is expected to take place in October or November later this year.

Source EN, Source CN

2.9 The cadre system and public administration

2017 National Civil Service Exam

Nearly 1.5 million candidates were accepted for the test. Eventually 984,000 took part in the test to compete for 27,061 open government positions. (see figure below)

Source CN

2.10.1 Regulation and law-making

Interpretation of Hong Kong’s Basic Law

On November 7, the SCNPC adopted the interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the PRC at its 24th session. This is an exclusive law-making activity through which the SCNPC may exert influence on the political development in Hong Kong. According to the interpretation, an invalid inauguration oath annuls one’s eligibility for taking office.

Source ENSource CN

Editor and principal author