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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. 

2.3.4 Central working organs and Leading Small Groups

A new Central Audit Commission (中央审计委员会)

This completely new commission will be set up in the CCP Central Commission and head the examination of annual executions of central government’s budget and other financial expenditure as well as inspection of accounts of main reform programs. Its office will be incorporated into the restructured National Audit Office which now takes over duties of financial inspection and control previously carried out by the NDRC, the Ministry of Finance and the SASAC. In the past years, the National Audit Office played a powerful but silent role in anti-corruption crackdown (see update 2.4).

Source EN, Source CN

A new Central Leading Small Group for Education Work (中央教育工作领导小组)

The newly formed Leading Small Group (LSG) will deal with policy design in respect of strengthening the party leadership as well as thoughts and ideological work in the education area. Furthermore, it monitors the national development strategy, medium- and long-term plans, principal policies and reform programs in term of education. Finally, the LSG should coordinate and solve main problems in the education area. Its secretariat is integrated in the Ministry of Education. Since 2012, the CCP has been calling for teachers and students to engage with Marxist theories and stick to party line.

Source, EN, Source EN, Source CN

A new research institution

The three former research offices – the Party History Research Office, the Party Documents Research Office and the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau, directly under the CCP CC, were integrated to the newly installed Central Institute for Party History and Literature Research (中央党史和文献研究院). The new Institute is tasked with research on Marxist Theories, Xi Jinping’s Thoughts and party history etc. as well as publications of party and state documents and writings of party leaders.

Source CN, Source CN

Institutional dismantling at Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission

Unlike the above-mentioned party bodies, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission must give up two former bodies which were responsible for dealing with social tensions and unrest, they are the Commission for Comprehensive Governance of Social Management and its office,  the Leading Small Group for Maintaining Social Stability and its office; Further, the duties of Leading Small Group for Preventing and Handling Cult Issues and its office will be transferred partly to the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission and partly to the Ministry of Public Security.

Source CN, Source CN

CCP released a plan on institutional restructuring of party headquarters and state organs

The plan is based on a decision taken by the CCP Central Committee’s third plenum on March 28. However, the plan was released one day after the end of the two-week long NPC on March 21, which approved only the part of restructuring of State Council. The restructuring plan contains 8 parts and 60 items, which 21 bodies of party headquarters (see following table) and 34 bodies of State Council are affected (see update 2.4). Further, the plan also includes changes on NPC, CPPCC, mass organizations and local authorities. According to the plan, central government should finish its reshuffle by the end of 2018, while the local governments adapt their institutions by March 2019.

Source EN, Source CN, Source CN


internal structure at the party headquarters

New leadership structure of maritime rights and interests protection

The former Central Leading Small Group for the Protection of Maritime Rights and Interests is removed; its responsibilities are integrated in the renamed Central Foreign Affairs Commission, while its office is located directly under the office of Central Foreign Affairs Commission. Further, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) is also divided up, its tasks in term of protection of ocean environment are taken over by the Ministry of Ecological Environment, while its tasks in term of Management of Nature reserve, Geoparks and similar come under the newly established State Forestry and Grassland Administration (see update 2.4). Finally, the administration of coast guards is transferred from SOA to the People’s Armed Police during ongoing restructuring of State Council.

Source EN, Source CN, Source CN, Source CN

A new Central Commission for Comprehensive “Rule the Country by Law” (中央全面依法治国委员会)

The newly launched commission based in the CCP Central Committee is responsible for policy design on the top-level in respect of law-based governing as well as coordinating and monitoring its implementation. In addition, the commission should advance “scientific legislation”, rigorous enforcement, fair justiciary and compliance in society in a coordinated manner. Its office will be set up at the Ministry of Justice which will play an enhanced role of law-making after current restructuring (see update 2.4). However, it is not yet announced who will head this new commission.

Source CN, Source CN

A newly formed Work Committee of Party Headquarters and State Organs (中央和国家机关工作委员会)

The new committee unites what used to be two separate committees - one for the party branch in Party Headquarters and one for the party branch in the State Council. The new committee is tasked with similar responsibilities as its predecessors, who manage, train and monitor the party members within the party headquarter and State Council. In the past, the two separate committees were headed by directors of General Offices of CCP CC and State Council, now the General Office director of CCP CC, Ding Xuexiang, chairs the new combined committee.

Source CN, Source CN

6.7 Public budgets: The role of local-government financing platforms

State owned financial institutions can only lend to local governments through the purchase of bonds

Previously state banks often extended bank loans to local governments. This practice is now to end.

Source CN

2.4.1 The State Council and its inner cabinet

New inner cabinet

After the re-election for a second five-year term by NPC, Premier Li Keqiang nominated four Vice-Premiers and five State Councilors to form the new inner cabinet with him. The NPC confirmed this nomination on March 19. The Vice-Premiers are Han Zheng (Executive Vice-Premier), Sun Chunlan, Hu Chunhua and Liu He. The State Councilors are Wei Fenghe (Minister of Defense), Wang Yong, Wang Yi (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Xiao Jie (Secretary General of the State Council) and Zhao Kezhi (Minister of Public Security). Each of them will be will be given a new portfolio due to the upcoming restructuring of State Council.

Source EN, Source CN, Source CN

Editor and principal author