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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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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. 

2.6.2 Hong Kong’s political trajectory

Pan-democrats defend strategically important seat in Hong Kong by-elections

Alvin Yeung, the candidate of the pan-democratic Civic Party won the New Territories East by-elections on February 28. If the pan-democrats had lost, the pro-establishment camp would have controlled both halves of the Legislative Council, allowing it to alter procedural regulations to prevent filibustering. 

Source EN, Source CN

Two of five missing Hong Kong booksellers confirmed to be in mainland custody amid growing concerns

Following the disappearance of Lee Bo in late December 2015, the fifth Hong Kong bookseller to vanish within three months, the increased frequency of what appear to be cross-border kidnappings by the mainland was met with concern among large sections of the Hong Kong public.  As student activists launched protests, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive CY Leung condemned covert actions by the mainland on Hong Kong territory and announced an investigation into the whereabouts of the missing persons.

Shortly after, two of the booksellers were confirmed to be in mainland China. Gui Minhai appeared in a “confession” on Chinese television, claiming to have turned himself in to mainland authorities over a drunk driving conviction dating back to 2004. A few days later, media reported that Lee Bo had met with his wife in an arranged secret meeting on the mainland. The fate of the remaining three booksellers remains unknown. Overall, the disappearances have contributed to a sense of insecurity and growing pessimism about Hong Kong’s future.

Source EN, Source EN, Source CN

2.5 Provincial- and municipal-level governments

Book recommendation

Teets, J. C., & Hurst, W.  (eds.) (2015). Local governance innovation in China: Experimentation, diffusion, and defiance. Oxon/ New York: Routledge.

Provincial level people’s congresses conclude their annual sessions with goals for 2016

In late February, the people’s congresses on provincial level concluded their annual plenary sessions. Innovation, coordination, sustainability, opening-up and shared development were the key words in the work reports of the respective provincial level governments. Concerning the goal for economic growth, media outlets reported that 9 provinces set ranges, 11 cut their goals, 10 kept them steady. For the remaining provincial level units no information was provided.

Source EN, Source CN

2.8 Public finance

MOF specifies rules for management of local government debt

In December 2015 the Ministry of Finance issued new rules on the management of local government debt. Among other things, the rules specify that quotas for local government debt may be increased when stimulus measures are needed during an economic downturn.

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

Act on Anti-Terrorism of the PRC legitimizes control on Internet freedom

On 27 December 2015 the Standing Committee of the National People’ Congress (SCNPC) approved the Act on Anti-Terrorism of the PRC (source: CN).  In this Act Internet Service Providers are obliged to cooperate with relevant government departments in supplying useful information for identifying certain harmful speeches that might facilitate terrorist activities.

2.11 The judiciary, police, and penal systems

New judges in China must take an oath to the Constitution

On 13 January 2016, 45 new judges who started their role as judges of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) took the oath to the Constitution of the PRC (source: CN). This is the first time that judges in the PRC have done so without pledging loyalty to the CCP. According to the new rules issued by the SCNPC in 2015 (full text: CN), new judges at all levels of Chinese courts will take the oath to the Constitution of the PRC in the future.

The Politburo of the CCP meddles with justice openly

On 7 January 2016 the CCP Committee of the SPC delivered a working report to the CCP Politburo Standing Committee at a conference (source: CN). The Politburo Standing Committee also reviewed the working reports submitted by the CCP Committees of the SCNPC, the State Council, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. Xi Jinping presided over the conference, emphasizing explicitly that the Party leads everything in China, and that everyone must study the Constitution of the CCP thoroughly in order to ensure the leadership of the CCP. This may be a clear symbol of the political target of Xi’s judicial reforms.

2.11.5 Attorneys

Chinese lawyers urge president of the SPC to resign

On January 17, more than a dozen of Chinese lawyers signed an open letter to express their objection to Zhou Qiang’s speech against an independent judiciary and requested Zhou, president of the SPC, to resign immediately. They called for the recognition of judicial independence as a universal value and characterized the speech by Zhou as unconstitutional.

Source EN, Source CN

2.12 The military and politics

Xi Jinping restructures the CMC

The Central Military Commission (CMC, 中央军委) decided on January 11, 2016, to dissolve its main four departments (Staff, Political, Logistics, and Armaments) into 15 new departments with clear-cut areas of responsibilities. This restructuring comes amidst a comprehensive reform effort to transform the PLA into a “modern army capable of fighting and winning wars in the information age.” Also, the CMC announced on New Year’s Eve the creation of a Strategic Support Force (SSF, 战略支援部队) responsible for high-tech warfare as well as a central headquarter for the army (联合参谋部).

Source CN, Source EN

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