Chinese Solutions for Party Systems

The first session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) opens at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 3, 2018. by Duan Wei

Recently, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, met with members from the China Democratic League, China Zhi Gong Party and the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese as well as non-partisans who gathered in Beijing to attend the First Session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China’s top political advisory body. During the meeting, Xi stressed that China must unremittingly consolidate and improve the multi-party cooperation and political consultation system under the leadership of the CPC and tap into the unique potential of multi-party cooperation to provide practical advice and pool wisdom and strength for advancing socialist democratic politics.

After nearly 69 years of painstaking construction and reforms since its founding in 1949, the People’s Republic of China has developed a political party system unlike any other country around the world—a system featuring multi-party cooperation under the leadership of the CPC, in which the CPC is the ruling party and other political parties participate in the discussion and management of state affairs. This political party system was born in China, so it has distinct Chinese characteristics: With supreme leadership of the CPC as the prerequisite, the new type of party system aims to achieve unity, cooperation and win-win integration. In China, various non-Communist parties are not rivals or opposing parties, but friendly parties that participate in the operation of state affairs. The system has absorbed various innovations of world civilizations and is rich in democratic values.

Moreover, the new type of political party system respects the will of the people and uses a democratic decision-making mechanism. China’s major policies and decisions are not made by any single political party, but are designed through democratic consultation and scientific deliberation between the CPC and all other political parties. They pool their wisdom to draw the blueprint for the future of the Chinese nation and unite to smoothly handle state affairs. China’s new type of political system has avoided shortcomings of one-party rule such as a lack of democratic supervision as well as the political upheaval caused by vicious competitions among multiple parties vying for the chance to rule.

What constitutes this new type of political system?

First, the system combines theory and practice. The theoretical choice of a CPC-led multi-party cooperative political consultation system is rooted in the history of modern and contemporary China after the Opium War in the 19th Century. It is the choice of the Chinese people, of their own will, in the pursuit for salvation of the nation. The system is an outcome of the blending of Marxist party theory and China’s actual conditions. The development of a political consultation system combining the strength of the CPC, non-Communist parties and non-party personages has resulted in a great political invention. The history and achievements of the People’s Republic of China have shown that a new type of political system that integrates theory and practice can authentically, broadly and persistently represent and pursue the fundamental interests of Chinese people of all ethnic groups.

Second, the CPC-led multi-party cooperation and political consultation system integrates democracy and republicanism. All political parties work together for the common goal of building a stronger country and improving the people’s lives. They understand and communicate with each other to effectively avoid vicious competition between parties.

Third, China has built a more rational and efficient decision-making mechanism: consultative democracy. In a broad sense, democracy could be categorized as either electoral or consultative. Considering its huge population, China needs an efficient and rational decision-making mechanism. Political consultation emphasizes the role of the system and respects procedures while avoiding social fragmentation caused by disagreements between multiple political parties. The political consultation system advocates concepts like “the whole world is one community,” “inclusiveness” and “seeking common ground while shelving differences” and represents an important contribution to human political civilization.

The CPC-led multi-party cooperation and political consultation system is a unique innovation forged in China. It is rooted in the soil of China. Benefiting from achievements in the progress of human politics, it breaks the set pattern of party alterations and widens mankind’s vision. It also showcases China’s latest achievements in party politics and erects a monument in the development of world politics. China’s new type of political party system provides a “Chinese solution” for mankind to create a democratic, harmonious and beautiful political and social life. 

The author is a research follow at the Party Building Base of Beijing Municipal Party Committee School and the Coordination and Innovation Center for the Research of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in Beijing Colleges and Universities.

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