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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. 

2.11.7 Judicial reform

Third National Human Rights Action Plan

The State Council published China’s third National Human Rights Action Plan for the period of 2016-2020. The Chinese government promises to materialize a variety of basic human rights as prescribed by international human rights conventions and to cooperate with the United Nations in supervising the implementation.

Source EN, Source CN

2.12 The military and politics

China commands a dominant position in Asia when it comes to military spending

The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies published a new report on September 28 which analyzes different estimates of China’s defense spending. The study concludes that China’s increasing military budget is motivated by the perceived threat from the United States as well as by the country’s growing economic power and technological capabilities. The study argues that China is currently becoming “the premier military power in Asia.”

Source EN

2.7.2 Village self-governance and village elections

Violent clashes in Wukan Village, Guangdong

On September 13, people protesting against the jail sentence against democratically elected village leader Lin Zuluan for corruption clashed with police. The violent confrontation took place after several protest organizers had been detained in the early morning of September 13. Wukan became famous after villagers expelled CCP officials in late 2011 and elected protest leader Lin Zuluan in 2012.

Source EN, Source CN

2.6.2 Hong Kong’s political trajectory

New political forces enter Hong Kong’s Legislative Council after September 4 elections

Candidates of several new “localist” parties founded in the aftermath of the 2014 “Umbrella Revolution”, including Youngspiration (founded in 2014) and Demosistō (founded in 2016), were voted into Hong Kong’s parliament. The elections saw a record voter turn-out of 58 percent. Other candidates perceived as too radical, such as Hong Kong Indigenous’ Edward Leung, were barred from running for office prior to the elections.

Source EN, Source CN

2.8 Public finance

Debt levels reaching a new high in 2015

The National Institution for Finance and Development (NIFD) of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences – one of the leading government think-tanks - referred to the rising debt levels in China as “poisonous”. According to a report issued by the NIFD the debt owed by governments, non-financial businesses and households reached 228 percent of GDP in 2015, an 11 percent increase compared to the fiscal year 2014.

Source EN, Source EN

2.5 Provincial- and municipal-level governments

New literature

Donaldson, John (ed.) (2016). Assessing the Balance of Power in Central-Local Relations in China. Routledge, 2016. 

Liaoning corruption scandal results in dismissal of NPC delegates

45 delegates to the National People’s Congress from the province of Liaoning were dismissed after they were found to have bribed their way into the NPC. In addition, 523 delegates of Liaoning Province’s People’s Congress stepped down after also being implicated in the massive vote-buying scandal.

Source EN, Source CN

1.2 How China is portrayed in Western media

New report on working conditions of foreign journalists published

On September 22, PEN America published a report titled “Dark screen. Constraints on foreign journalists in China”. One key finding was the increasing difficulty to assess expert sources willing to share information or opinion with foreign media due to fear of government reprisal.

Source EN

2.9 The cadre system and public administration

New guidelines on the promotion of cadres

The CCP issues document on preventing cadres from “being promoted while being ill (corrupt)” (关于防止干部“带病提拔”的意见). Accountability of cadres and their supervision receives major attention in Chinese media in August.

Source CN

2.10.1 Regulation and law-making

Draconian environmental legislation

The SCNPC reviewed a draft bill of the Act on the Protection of Marine Environment, which lifted the ban on a maximum limit of administrative sanction amounting to CNY 300,000. Instead, whoever causes serious marine pollution will pay a fine in terms of the actual direct losses/damages.

Source CN

Editor and principal author

Coauthors