New Dimensions of Chinese Foreign Policy (Challenges Facing Chinese Political Development)

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  1. Navigation menu
  2. Reward Yourself
  3. Post-Mao China
  4. New Dimensions of Chinese Foreign Policy : Sujian Guo :

The Rule of Law? Takeover by Civil Society? The End or Continuity of Communist Totalitarianism? This is an important book that will be valuable to comparitive political scientists and area specialists in equal measure. They may disagree with its method and conclusions, but they will finish the book having read a convincing and logical argument that is reinforced by a strong commitment to thorough empirical research and analysis.

This book presents a new assessment of post-Mao changes, with new insight into many controversial issues in the post-Mao Deng's reform This is a book which is essential to understanding contemporary China. I am pleased to recommend this book to western readers and hope a Chinese version will soon be published in Taiwan or Hong Kong for Chinese language readers outside China.

The CPC's most important responsibility comes in the selection and promotion of personnel. They also see that party and state policy guidance is followed and that non-party members do not create autonomous organizations that could challenge party rule. Particularly important are the leading small groups which coordinate activities of different agencies.

Although there is a convention that government committees contain at least one non-party member, a party membership is a definite aid in promotion and in being included in crucial policy setting meetings.

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Constitutionally, the party's highest body is the Party Congress , which is supposed to meet at least once every 5 years. Meetings were irregular before the Cultural Revolution but have been periodic since then. The party elects the Central Committee and the primary organs of power are formally parts of the central committee. Members of the State Council include the Premier, a variable number of vice premiers now four , five state councilors protocol equal of vice premiers but with narrower portfolios , and 29 ministers and heads of State Council commissions.


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During the s there was an attempt made to separate party and state functions, with the party deciding general policy and the state carrying it out. The attempt was abandoned in the s with the result that the political leadership within the state are also the leaders of the party, thereby creating a single centralized locus of power. At the same time, there has been a convention that party and state offices be separated at levels other than the central government, and it is unheard of for a sub-national executive to also be party secretary. Conflict has been often known to develop between the chief executive and the party secretary, and this conflict is widely seen as intentional to prevent either from becoming too dominant.

Some special cases are the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau where the Communist Party does not function at all as part of the governmental system, and the autonomous regions where, following Soviet practice, the chief executive is typically a member of the local ethnic group while the party general secretary is non-local and usually Han Chinese. It meets annually for about 2 weeks to review and approve major new policy directions, laws, the budget, and major personnel changes. Although the NPC generally approves State Council policy and personnel recommendations, the NPC and its standing committee has increasingly asserted its role as the national legislature and has been able to force revisions in some laws.

Currently, local government in China is structured in a hierarchy on four different levels. With the village being the grassroots usually a hundred or so families , and not considered part of the hierarchy, local government advances through the township , county , prefecture or municipality , and the province as the geographical area of jurisdiction increases.

Reward Yourself

Each level in the hierarchy is responsible for overseeing the work carried out by lower levels on the administrative strata. At each level are two important officials. A figure that represents the Communist Party of China, colloquially termed the Party chief or the Party Secretary , acts as the policy maker.

This figure is appointed by their superiors.

The head of the local People's Government , is, in theory, elected by the people. Usually called a governor , mayor , or magistrate , depending on the level, this figure acts to carry out the policies and most ceremonial duties. The distinction has evolved into a system where the Party Secretary is always in precedence above the leader of the People's Government. After Deng Xiaoping took power in greater autonomy has been given to provinces in terms of economic policy implementation as well as other areas of policy such as education and transportation.

As a result, some provincial authorities have evolved tendencies of operating on a de facto federal system with Beijing. Prominent examples of greater autonomy are seen in the provinces of Guangdong and Zhejiang , where local leaders do little to adhere to the strict standards issued by the Central Government, especially economic policy.

In addition, conflicts have arisen in the relations of the central Party leaders with the few provincial-level Municipalities, most notably the municipal government of Shanghai and the rivalry between former Beijing mayor Chen Xitong and Jiang Zemin. China's system of autonomous regions and autonomous prefectures within provinces are formally intended to provide for greater autonomy by the ethnic group majority that inhabits the region.

In practice, however, power rests with the Party secretary. Beijing will often appoint loyal party cadres to oversee the local work as Party secretary, while the local Chairman of the region's government is regarded as its nominal head. Power rests with the Party secretary. To avoid the solidification of local loyalties during a cadre's term in office, the central government freely and frequently transfers party cadres around different regions of the country, so a high ranking cadre's career might include service as governor or party secretary of several different provinces.

The Party and the State jointly established the Central Military Commission that carries out the task of supreme military leadership over the armed forces. The PRC Constitution provides that the State Chairman President directs the armed forces and made the State Chairman the chair of the Defense Commission the Defense Commission is an advisory body, it does not lead the armed forces. From that time onwards, the system of joint Party and state military leadership was established.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party leads in all military affairs. The State Chairman directs the state military forces and the development of the military forces managed by the State Council. However, the CMC of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China remained the Party organization that directly leads the military and all the other armed forces. However, looking at it organizationally, these two CMCs are subordinate to two different systems — the Party system and the State system.

Therefore, the armed forces are under the absolute leadership of the Communist Party and are also the armed forces of the state. This is a unique Chinese system that ensures the joint leadership of the Communist Party and the state over the armed forces.

Post-Mao China

No substantial legal political opposition groups exist, and the country is mainly run by the Communist Party of China CPC , but there are other political parties in the PRC, called "democratic parties", which participate in the People's Political Consultative Conference but mostly serve to endorse CPC policies. Even as there have been some moves in the direction of democratisation as far as the electoral system at least, in that openly contested People's Congress elections are now held at the village and town levels, [24] and that legislatures have shown some assertiveness from time to time, the party retains effective control over governmental appointments.

This is because the CPC wins by default in most electorates.

Current political concerns in Mainland China include countering the growing gap between the wealthy and the poorer, and fighting corruption within the government leadership and its institutions. Also, private conversations and anecdotal information often reveal conflicting views. However, according to a survey conducted in Hong Kong, where a relatively high level of freedom is enjoyed, the current CPC leaders have received substantial votes of support when its residents were asked to rank their favourite Chinese leaders from Mainland and Taiwan.

The eight registered minor parties have existed since before Their original function was to create the impression that the PRC was being ruled by a diverse national front, not a one-party dictatorship. The major role of these parties is to attract and subsequently muzzle niches in society that have political tendencies, such as the academia. Although these parties are tightly controlled and do not challenge the Communist Party, members of the parties often individually are found in policy-making national institutions, and there is a convention that state institutions generally have at least one sinecure from a minor political party.

Coordination between the eight registered minor parties and the Communist Party of China is done through the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference which meets annually in Beijing in March at about the same time that the National People's Congress meets. In addition, there are a few minor parties which either lack official recognition or are actively suppressed by the government, such as the Maoist Communist Party of China , China Democracy Party and China New Democracy Party , which have their headquarters outside of the Mainland China.

The Chinese legal code is a complex amalgam of custom and statute, largely focused on criminal law, though a rudimentary civil code has been in effect since January 1, and new legal codes have been in effect since January 1, Continuing efforts are being made to improve civil, administrative, criminal, and commercial law. Although current law of China cannot be categorised by arbitrary rule, it is over-simplifying to describe it as a system of rule of law.

While personal freedom and right to private property is nominally guaranteed by law, officials maintain the right to trespass citizens before proving or suspecting them breaking the law through the use of Droit administrati. In other words, the concept of Habeas corpus does not apply in China. Also, Party members are subjected to different sets of law, namely the Constitution of the Communist Party of China , which authorises itself to use state apparatus to regulate behaviours of party members, sometimes overriding Law of the land. One of the most distinctive characteristics of the Chinese law is the lack of a mechanism to verify the constitutionality of statute laws.

This in effect allows the enactment of any administrative laws as long as circumstances justify.

The liberal world order never really existed. Great-power politics are here to stay.

The government's efforts to promote rule by law not the same as rule of law are significant and ongoing. After the Cultural Revolution , the PRC's leaders aimed to develop a legal system to restrain abuses of official authority and revolutionary excesses. In , the National People's Congress adopted a new state constitution that emphasized the concept of rule by law by which party and state organizations are all subject to the law.

The importance of the rule by law was further elevated by a Constitutional amendment.

New Dimensions of Chinese Foreign Policy : Sujian Guo :

Many commentators [ who? Since , when the drive to establish a functioning legal system began, more than laws and regulations, most of them in the economic area, have been promulgated. After China's entry into the WTO , many new economically related laws have been put in place, while others have been amended. There are more than , such committees in both rural and urban areas. Taking Hu Jintao's proposal for 'peaceful development' as a starting point, the contributors in this volume examine the new trends of thought in the fourth generation of Chinese policymakers. Special emphasis is placed on US-China relations.

The essays contained in this volume cover a comprehensive breadth of topics, including: