The future of the country's multi-party cooperation system remains secure under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and the creation of new parties is unnecessary, officials announced on Wednesday.
"The cooperation system is a unique political advantage of the CPC. It is different from the one-party system and the multi-party system," Chen Xiqing, a deputy head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, said at a press briefing.
"There are eight non-Communist parties and non-politically affiliated people. These two groups participate in state affairs under CPC leadership. They are not out of power and should not be viewed as the opposition," Chen said.
"In the West, opposition parties' supervision aims to topple the ruling party, whereas China's non-communist parties intend to help the CPC improve its ruling and avoid mistakes through supervision," Chen noted, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
Zhang Xiansheng, a spokesman for the United Front Work Department, said the cooperation system extends "wide coverage" across society, and it is unnecessary to establish new parties.
According to him, there are about 840,000 non-Communist-party members, a major rise from 60,000 when the country started reform and opening-up in the late 1970s.
By the end of 2010, the number of CPC members in China exceeded 80 million.
"The current political system was formed on experience reaching back decades. Copying another country's system is not a solution for China," said Cai Xia, a party history professor with the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC.
The CPC's vitality is not determined by time, but by its credibility among the public. The progress of political reform in China has to be balanced with the country's overall development, Cai added.
On Monday, Premier Wen Jiabao stressed the need for political structural reform.
"Without democracy, there is no socialism. Without freedom, there is no real democracy. Without the guarantee of economic and political rights, there is no real freedom," Xinhua quoted Wen as saying during a visit in London.
"To be frank, corruption, unfair income distribution and other ills that harm people's rights and interests still exist in China. The best way to resolve these problems is to firmly advance political structural reform and build socialist democracy under the rule of law," Wen added.
A measure to help reform is inner-party democracy, which was mentioned for the first time at the 16th National Congress of the CPC in 2002.
General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Hu Jintao called in 2009 for a vigorous improvement to inner-party democracy in order to enhance the CPC's ruling capacity and leadership, Xinhua reported.
"The realization of inner-party democracy must rely on the guarantee of all Party members' democratic rights to know, to participate, to vote and to supervise in all of the Party's internal affairs," Hu said.
Hu Shuli, editor-in-chief of Caixin Media, said in a commentary in Century Weekly magazine that "democratic centralism is one of the CPC's basic principles, but that in reality, centralism is usually overemphasized."
"Due to over-centralism, some officials gain excessive power at the expense of democracy. This also brews corruption. That's why inner-party democracy is emphasized," Hu Shuli said.
Liu Zonghong, director of the History Teaching and Research Department of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Party School, noted that the promotion of inner-party democracy would enhance internal Party supervision.
"In principle, any official's power is under supervision, but in reality, this mechanism does not work well since some party members do not express their opinions," Liu told the Global Times.
"The first step to promoting inner-party democracy could be the adoption of more competitive elections," Hu Shuli wrote in Century Weekly, adding that the development of inner-party democracy could help overall advancement of democracy in China.