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 constantly update all chapters. You can browse all updates on China's Political System by key word or chapter of the book. 

1.5 Analytical approaches to Chinese politics

Explaining Chinese foreign economic policy by looking at its domestic structures and politics

special issue by German IPE scholars in International Politics argues that key institutional features of China’s state-permeated capitalism explain its external behaviour. This “second-image-reversed” approach is then convincingly applied to a range of topics including Chinese OFDI, RMB internationalization, capital account liberalization etc. 

2.3.1 Party organization and party membership

Number of local CCP committees and leading cadres

According to the new Regulations on the Work of Local CCP Committees, which entered into force in December 2015, the number of local CCP committee members shall be limited to 11 to 13 at the provincial level and 9 to 11 at municipal and county levels respectively. Until the end of 2014 there were 3218 CCP committees nationwide, of which 31 were at the provincial level, 397 at the municipal level and 2790 at the county level. That allows the CCP to appoint a total number of local leading cadres ranging from 29024 to 35460. These local centers of leadership are crucial to the implementation of decisions made by the Central Committee of the CCP.

2.8 Public finance

China’s Vice Minister of Finance considers crossing the red line on fiscal deficit

In November 2015, China’s Vice Minister of Finance publicly questioned the necessity of keeping the fiscal deficit below 3 percent of GDP and public debt below 60 percent of GDP.

New budgeting rules

According to a report by the Economic Information Daily (经济参考报), starting in October 2015, new budgeting rules were being implemented that require all government units to define targets for their programs. If the targets are not achieved, either the programs will be cancelled or the available funds will be reduced. The new rules are meant to increase transparency and accountability.

2.11 The judiciary, police, and penal systems

Central Political Legal Committee issues model cases on leadership interference

On November 6 the Central Political Legal Committee issued model cases of leadership interference in the judicial process.

Amnesty International: Legal reforms fail to curb torture

According to a report by Amnesty International, Chinese legal reforms have failed to curb the use of torture by police to obtain confessions.

First meeting held to amend the Judges Law

On October 23 the first meeting of the drafting group to amend the Judges Law was held, with the Supreme Court’s Vice President Shen Deyong chairing the meeting. Issues under consideration include: the criteria for the selection of judges; protection for judges undertaking their duties; and evaluation of judges, judicial assistants, salary scales, retirement and insurance, and rewards and punishments.

1.2 How China is portrayed in Western media

French journalist verbally attacked by state media after report on Xinjiang policy

On November 18, Ursula Gauthier, who works for the Paris-based weekly, L’Obs, published an article about the Beijing government’s reaction to the Paris attacks. Gauthier questioned Xi Jinping’s framing of terrorist attacks in China as part of global terrorism and mentioned Beijing’s repressive measures against the Uyghurs. After the article’s publication, several Chinese websites featured inflammatory editorials and aggressive comments directed at Gauthier. She was also summoned to the Chinese Foreign Ministry in order to admit “wrong” reporting.

Source ENSource CN

2.9 The cadre system and public administration

Nearly 1.4 million candidates qualified to take part in the 2016 national civil service exam

The deadline for applying to take part in the 2016 national civil service exam was October 24. Out of 2 million applicants, about 1.4 million were accepted to take the test. The written examination takes place at the end of November 2015.

Source EN, Source CN

Editor and principal author