China’s Third Plenum: a recap

China's Third Plenum: a recap

by Elaine Dunn

First off: what is the “Third Plenum,” you ask? A plenum is a meeting of the Communist Party’s Central Committee and a platform for the Party’s Central Committee leaders to announce major reforms. The third plenum is important because, usually, the first introduces the new leadership, the second focuses on personnel and the third is when the new leadership introduces its economic and political blueprint for the next decade.

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Chinese People’s Consultative Conference (CPCC)

By Lisong Liu, Staff Writer

Unlike the state organs we introduced in previous issues, such as the National People’s Congress and the State Council, which could easily find their counterparts in other countries, the CPCC is kind of a political institution and a part of the party system “with remarkable Chinese characteristics.” It was established during the Civil War in the late 1940s, while the relations between the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the democratic parties within CPCC trace back even to the War of Resistance Against Japan in the 1930s. CPCC could be said to be the witness of the tremendous transformation of China in the last century.


National People’s Congress of China (PRC)

By Lisong Liu, Staff Writer

In the last issue [we] outlined the state structure of PRC. Here we will discuss the National People’s Congress (NPC) in greater detail. Under the constitution, NPC is the highest organ of state power in China. In other words, NPC formally ranks above the State Council, the Central Military Commission (CMC), the Supreme Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP).

I. History of NPC

NPC was established in 1954 based on the Soviet Union’s Supreme Soviet. China has convened ten NPCs up to now, respectively 1954, 1959, 1964, 1975, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, and the most recent from March 5 to 18, 2003, which elected a new political leadership and approved important changes in the organization of government. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), NPC like many other state organs was hardly at work; after that NPC gradually restored its power and progressed with the political and economic reform in China. The 1982 Constitution redefined its organizations and increased deputies’ influence over public affairs. NPC restored and expanded its working organs, and some new committees were created such as the Internal and Judicial Affairs Committee in 1988 and the Environmental and Resources Protection Committee in 1993. 


China’s Central People’s Government: the State Council

In this article we talk about the central people’s government of PRC: the State Council. It is the highest executive body of the state power and the highest organ of state administration. We will first introduce the composition and functions of the State Council, then pay more attention to the new government’s institutional reform as adopted by the 10th National People’s Congress (NPC) this year.


State Structure of People’s Republic of China (PRC)

Chinese Government Basics

By Lisong Liu, Staff Writer

Based on public documents, and serving as an objective description of Chinese political systems and state organs, this short article will outline the state organs and their functions including the National People’s Congress (NPC), the Presidency, the State Council, the Central Military Commission (CMC), the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP), and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). First, however, it is necessary to look at how the state organs are defined and related to the Constitution and the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Constitution and the Communist Party of China (CPC)


The existing Constitution of China was adopted at the fifth session of the 5th National People’s Congress on December 4, 1982 and was amended in 1988, 1993 and 1999. The Constitution defines the socialist system as the basic system of China, and establishes the goal of the leadership of CPC in China, which is to lead people to build socialism with Chinese characteristics. The Constitution defines the fundamental rights and duties of citizens, the National Flag, the National Emblem and the Capital, as well as the state structure at both central and local levels.


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