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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:

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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. 

2.11.3 Courts and judges

Four new circuit tribunals of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC)

On November 1, 2016, the Central Leading Small Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms approved the SPC’s application on establishing additional circuit tribunals in Chongqing, Xi’an, Nanjing and Zhengzhou. From now on, the SPC will be able to assume a more direct control of the judicial practice in Northeast China, South China, East China, Central China, Southwest China and Northwest China.

Source EN, Source CN

2.11.6 Criminal law and the penal system

Highly controversial execution of death penalty

On November 15, 2016, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) gave an order to carry out the execution of Jia Jinglong’s death penalty despite wide appeals for annulling the judgement. After the forced demolition of his house Jia had killed a village party secretary. Leading jurists and rights activists in China argued openly for exculpating Jia. The SPC replied openly to the concerns afterwards.

Source EN, Source CN

2.12 The military and politics

China’s and America’s militaries conduct joint humanitarian disaster relief exercises

The three-day drill took place from November 16-18, 2016, in southwestern city of Kunming—one week after the election of Donald Trump. Commanders from both sides stressed that such military exchanges should continue under the new American administration. They described them as a crucial instrument in building trust and advancing military cooperation between the two powers.

Source EN, Source CN

2.3.2 Party congresses and ballots

Launch of new national supervision commission

This planned reform was announced by the CCP Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) on November 7, 2016. The new institution will be set up under the people’s congresses and monitor all public servants, including executive officers, judges and prosecutors, whether they are party member or not. The merging of the anti-draft agencies in the party, executive, and judiciary means an enormous power gain for the people’s congresses. Criticized for lack of legality, the CCDI, however, has to hand over their investigative activities against corruption suspects. This reform will be first tried out in Beijing, Shanxi, and Zhejiang provinces before being implemented nationwide.

Source ENSource CN

2.6 Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong and Macau

Hong Kong excludes two elected lawmakers from Legislative Council

Youngspiration’s Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung lost their seats on the Legislative Council after losing their final appeal against Hong Kong’s High Court ruling that the two did not truly intend to take the oath during the swearing in ceremony on October 12, 2016. The two “localist” candidates had changed the wording of the oath and used derogatory terms to convey their opposition to the People’s Republic. In its decision, the High Court had sided with a controversial interpretation of Hong Kong’s Basic Law issued by the NPC earlier in November. The two are the first candidates to ever be disqualified from the Legislative Council.

Source ENSource CN

1.2 How China is portrayed in Western media

New report published on working conditions of foreign journalists

On November 22, the Foreign Correspondence Club China (FCCC) published their Working Conditions Report 2016. Based on a survey among 118 journalists in China, the report highlights a new form of harassment by the State Security Bureau who regularly calls in journalists for ad-hoc meetings. An increase in the use of force by authorities against reporters at work is a second major concern the survey expresses.

Source EN

2.10.2 The People’s Congresses

Proliferation of independent candidature

A number of independent candidates across the country attempted to participate in low-level election campaigns for membership of the people’s congresses. Between October and November 2016, police in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, etc. reportedly intimidated and detained more than 100 independent election candidates as a gesture to deter them from such campaigns.

Source ENSource CN

Election fraud of the people’s congresses in Liaoning

532 members of the people’s congresses in Liaoning province bought votes to get their membership in different levels of people’s congresses, including 45 delegates to the NPC. The SCNPC held a special plenary on September 13 to annul the bribed membership of the delegates and order a re-election in Liaoning.

Source EN, Source CN

2.11.5 Attorneys

Lawyers’ petition for dismissing Minister of Justice

On October 10, 2016, more than a hundred Chinese lawyers signed an open letter to express their objection to the revised regulations on the management of law firms which lay down sanctions on lawyers who write open letters or sign petitions. They called for the dismissal of Wu Aiying, the Minister of Justice of the PRC, who was responsible for issuing the administrative measures.

Source EN, Source CN

2.11.7 Judicial reform

White Paper on the judicial protection of human rights

The State Council published a White Paper concerning judicial protection of human rights. The White Paper released a bunch of statistics to show the progress of human rights protection in judicial fields. However, the White Paper ignored important criticism from the international community and civil society.

Source EN, Source CN

Editor and principal author