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 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. 

6.8 Infrastructure policy and the high-speed rail network

Snapshot November 2017: Chinese companies are involved in 20 railway projects overseas

At the end of November, China’s railway authorities report that Chinese companies are involved in more than 20 railway projects overseas, with a total investment of over 100 billion RMB. All projects are said to be linked to the Belt and Road Initiative with the aim to promote cooperation along the new Silk Road.

Source EN, Source CN

Shanghai-Kunming high-speed railway line cause for safety concerns after less than a year of operation

Part of the Shanghai-Kunming high-speed railway line in Guizhou has been exposed in November for having bad tunnel design and construction leading to severe water leakage. As a result, trains had to reduce their speed to as low as 70 kilometers per hour, instead of the usual speed of 300 km, to ensure safe operation.

Source ENSource CN

6.15 Urbanization policy: Experimental urban concepts

China compiles environmental protection plan for Xiongan

The Ministry of Environmental Protection has finished compiling an environmental protection plan for the Xiongan New Area. The central government has earmarked 500 million RMB for measures turning it into a sustainable green zone.

Source EN, Source CN

6.16 Internet security: National IT independence and China’s cyber policy

Former head of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) under investigation

On November 21, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) released a statement saying that Lu Wei, former head of the CAC, is under investigation for “serious violations of Party discipline”. Lu Wei retired from his position as head of the CAC in June 2016.

Source EN, Source CN

6.18 Mega-projects: China’s South-to-North Water Transfer Project

Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli demands more benefits from SNWTP

The head of the State Council South-to-North Water Diversion Project Construction Commission chaired a meeting of the commission in Beijing. Wang Yang, vice head of the commission, emphasized water quality and environmental protection.

1.2 How China is portrayed in Western media

Major Western media organizations blocked from Xi revealing new Politburo

On October 25, Chinese officials denied journalists of the BBC, the Financial Times, the Economist, the New York Times and the Guardian access to a statement by party-state leader Xi Jinping introducing the new Politburo to the press at the end of the 19th party congress of the CCP. No formal explanation has been given.

Source EN

1.4 Utilizing information and data from China

National Bureau of Statistics extends oversight over regional data collection by 2019

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced that it will expand its activities to calculating regional economic development. In a reform of national and regional economic accounting, the provincial statistics bureaus will work under the direct supervision of the NBS. It is another effort of the government to improve data accuracy within China’s economy.

Source EN, Source CN

2.11.1 Party control over the judicial and police systems

CCP establishes Leading Small Group of Governing the Country by Law

On October 18, Xi Jinping delivered his working report to the 19th Party Congress and declared the plan to establish a “Leading Small Group of Governing the Country by Law”. This would be the highest decision-making institution that takes on the leading role in carrying out China’s strategy of “governing the country by law”.

Source EN, Source CN

2.12 The military and politics

Xi unveils new vision for the PLA during Party Congress

While delivering his work report to the CCP’s 19th Party Congress on October 18, Xi outlined the path forward for the PLA. Within three years, the armed forces will make significant progress towards mechanization and informatization, and they will complete the process of modernization by 2035. Xi also expects the PLA to be a “world-class force” by 2050.

Source EN, Source CN

Central Military Commission reform

On October 25, after the 19th Party Congress, the CCP announced the new line-up of the Central Military Commission (CMC). The CMC will now be led by seven members – Xi as the chairman, two vice-chairmen and four other members – down from the previous 11 members. The commanders of the PLA’s military services, as well as the directors of the Logistic Support Department and the Equipment Development Department will no longer be part of the CMC leadership. And, for the first time, the chief of the CMC’s Discipline Inspection Commission will be a member.

Source EN, Source CN


Editor and principal author