I. The essence of the multi-party cooperation and political consultation
The multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party of China is a basic political system in China.
The system means that the CPC is the only party in power in the People's Republic of China while under the precondition of accepting the leadership of the CPC, the eight other political parties participate in the discussion and management of state affairs, in cooperation with the CPC.
Political consultation means that under the leadership of the CPC, all parties, mass organizations and representatives from all walks of life take part in consultations of the country's basic policies and important issues in political, economic, cultural and social affairs before a decision is adopted and in the discussion of major issues in the implementation of the decisions.
Political consultation takes the organizational form of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
Political consultation is the most important political and organization form of the multi-party and political consultation system.
Cooperative relations between the CPC and other political parties are based on the principle of "long-term coexistence and mutual supervision, treating each other with full sincerity and sharing weal or woe."
II. Political parties participating in the discussion and management of state affairs
This refers to the eight political parties other than the CPC.
These parties are those established before the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, which were then dedicated to the realization of a bourgeois republic in China and supported the CPC in the latter's effort of overthrowing the rule of the Kuomintang. They are independent in organization and enjoy political freedom, organizational independence and legal equality under the Constitution.
1. China Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang
Officially founded on January 1, 1948, its main constituents at the time were former Kuomintang members for democracy and other patriotic personages. Their political stand was to overthrow the dictatorial rule of the Kuomintang and realize independence, democracy and peace in China.
Its Constitution revised in November 1988 stipulates that its political program at the present stage is to lead all party members, unite patriots living in China and residing abroad in favor of the unification of the motherland to strive for the unification and rejuvenation of China, under the guidance of the basic line for the primary stage of socialism.
Its members come from mainly four areas: those with relations with the Kuomintang, those with relations with people of all walks of life in Taiwan, those dedicated to the unification of the motherland and others. The party mainly draws members from representative people and middle-level and senior intellectuals.
By the end of 1997, the party had a membership of 54,000 and He Luli is its chairwoman.
2. China Democratic League
First established in November 1939, it took its present name in September 1944. At the time, it was a united political organization consisting of political parties and forces favoring the middle road and democracy.
In 1997 it adopted a constitution which stipulates that its program is to hold high the banner of patriotism and socialism, implement the basic line for the primary stage of socialism, safeguard stability in the society, strengthen services to national unity and strive for the promotion of socialist modernization, establishment and improvement of a market economy, enhancement of political restructuring and socialist spiritual civilization, emancipation and development of productive forces, consolidation and expansion of the united patriotic front and realization of the grand goals of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
China Democratic League is mainly made up by middle-level and senior intellectuals in the fields of culture, education, science and technology. It has a membership of 157,000 and its chairman is Jiang Shusheng.
3. China Democratic National Construction Association
It was established on December 16, 1945. Its political stand at the time was to guarantee the basic political rights and human rights of citizens, protect and develop national industry and commerce and oppose the dictatorial rule of the Kuomintang.
Its present constitution calls for the implementation of the CPC's policy of focusing on economic construction, acceptance of the leadership of the CPC, persisting in the tradition of self-education, adhering to the principle of democratic centralism and carrying out the policy of multi-party cooperation and political consultation. Most of its 90,000 members are representative figures in the economic field. Its chairman is Cheng Siwei.
4. China Association for the Promotion of Democracy
When it was founded on December 30, 1945, it was made up mostly by people engaged in education and publishing and patriotic figures in industry and commerce in Shanghai who stood for promotion of democracy and reform of the political power. It called on the Kuomintang to return the political power to the people, the establishment of a united and constitutional government.
Its program drawn in 1988 stands for the promotion and improvement of socialist democracy, improvement of a socialist legal system, uplifting of the qualifications of the people, development of productive forces and turning China into a prosperous, culturally developed, democratic, strong and modern socialist country.
The association is mainly made up by representative intellectuals in the fields of education, culture, publishing and science. It had a membership of 99,000 at the end of 2005 and its chairman is Xu Jialu.
5. Chinese Peasants' and Workers' Democratic Party
Founded in August 1930, its main political program was to oppose the dictatorial rule of the Kuomintang and establish the power of the people.
Its present program includes the stand to accept the leadership of the CPC, adhere to multi-party cooperation and political consultation, practice democratic centralism and safeguard the rights and interests of party members and associated intellectuals.
It now has a membership of over 80,000 and its chairman is Jiang Zhenghua.
6. China Zhi Gong Dang
China Zhi Gong Dang was founded in San Francisco, October 1925 by overseas Chinese organizations in North America.
According to its constitution, the party is made up mainly by the middle and upper levels of returned overseas Chinese and their relatives. Its job is to assist the CPC and the Chinese government, consolidate and develop political stability, safeguard the rights and interests of party members and associated returned overseas Chinese and their relatives, reflect their opinions and demands and practice democratic centralism.
It had a membership of nearly 16,000 at the end of 1997 and its chairman is Luo Haocai.
7. Jiusan Society
When it was first established in May 1946, its political stand was to carry on the tradition of democracy and science, oppose the civil war and practice democratic politics.
The present program of Jiusan Society stipulates that organizationally, the party draws members from representative middle and senior level intellectuals in the fields of science, technology, higher education and medicine. It stands for the multi-party cooperation and political consultation, democratic centralism and the safeguard of the rights and interest of its members.
It has a membership of 88,000 and its chairman is Han Qide.
8. Taiwan Democratic Self-government League
It was established on November 12, 1947 in Hong Kong. At the time it was a political organization of Taiwan residents which was founded and existed outside Taiwan Province, sought to become free from the rule of the Kuomintang, implement democracy and regional self-government. In March 1949, the league moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to Beijing.
Its present political program stands for patriotism and socialism, uniting with league members and Taiwan compatriots and striving for the acceleration of reform, opening up and socialist modernization drive, safeguarding stability and unity, improvement of socialist democracy and legal system and the realization of the peaceful unification of the motherland and "one country, two systems".
Most of the members are representative and upper level Taiwan compatriots living in large and medium-size cities on the mainland. It has a membership of over 1,800 and its chairman is Lin Wenyi.
III. Major forms of the multi-party cooperative system
1. Participation in the discussion of state affairs
Under this mechanism, members of various non-communist parties take part in the deliberation and implementation of major policies, laws and regulations of the country, take part in the consultation on major political issues and the choice of leaders of the state and take part in the running of state affairs.
Consultation between the CPC and other political parties mainly takes the following forms:
(1) Democratic consultation. Leaders of CPC invite, usually once a year, leaders of other political parties and representative personages without political party affiliation to a meeting at which CPC leaders hear and solicit their opinion on major policies and principles that the CPC puts forward.
(2) High-level talks. CPC leaders invite leaders of other political parties and representative personages without political party affiliation for small-scale meetings at which they exchange opinions on questions of common concern whenever there is a need for such a meeting.
(3) Bimonthly meetings. Chaired by the Central Committee of the CPC, the meetings are attended by people from other political parties and representative personages without political party affiliation. At these meetings, the CPC Central Committee informs the participants of major events, exchanges views with them, relays important documents of the CPC Central Committee and hears the opinion and suggestions of the participants or conducts discussions on specific topics. When necessary, there will be meetings between the bimonthly ones.
(4) Written suggestions or exchange of views in person. Leaders of non-communist political parties and representative figures without political party affiliation may, at any time they wish, submit in writing their suggestions to the CPC Central Committee on major state policies or specific issues or they may see leaders of the CPC Central Committee in person to exchange views.
2. Democratic supervision
Democratic supervision means that the non-communist political parties exercise supervision on the CPC and the government organs under its leadership, within the framework of the multi-party cooperation and political consultation.
The supervision may be conducted in the following manners: putting forward opinions, suggestions and criticisms to the CPC Central Committee at the meetings of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference; making known their suggestions and criticisms on major political, economic and social issues of the state on the basis of investigation; deputies to the NPC and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference who are members of non-communist political parties may conduct supervision through putting forward bills, proposals and inspection reports; and members of non-communist political parties may exercise their supervisory role by serving as special supervisors, inspectors, auditors and education supervisors of the government.
3. Holding government and judicial positions
All the non-communist political parties have their members holding leading positions in the government and judicial organs at various levels upon recommendation by the CPC.
IV. Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)
CPPCC has a national committee and regional committees.
1. Nature of CPPCC
The CPPCC is an organization of the united front with wide representation. It is an important organ of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC. It is composed of the CPC, other political parties, mass organizations, and representative public personages from all walks of life, representatives of compatriots of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao as well as of returned overseas Chinese and other specially invited people.
2. Function of CPPCC
The major function of the CPPCC is to conduct political consultation and exercise democratic supervision, organize its members from various non-communist political parties, mass organizations and public personages from all walks of life to take part in the discussion and management of state affairs.
(1) Content and forms of political consultation
Political consultation covers socialist material and spiritual construction, the building of a democratic legal system, important policies and planning of the reform and opening up program, reports on the work of the government, national financial and fiscal budget, economic and social development planning, major issues in political life in the country, drafting of major national laws, candidates for the state proposed by the CPC Central Committee, changes in the administrative division at the provincial level, major policies in foreign affairs, major policies in regard to the unification of the motherland, major issues involving people's livelihood, affairs of common interest of the political parties, important affairs of the CPPCC and other important issues in regard to the patriotic united front.
Political consultation takes the forms of plenary sessions, standing committees and meetings of the chairmen of the National Committee of the CPPCC, discussion meetings of Standing Committee members of the CPPCC, special committee meetings of the CPC, consultation meetings participated by people from various political parties, representative public personages without political party affiliation, mass organizations, ethnic minorities and patriotic figures from different walks of life and activities of local people's political consultative conferences at various levels.
(2) Major contents of democratic supervision
Democratic supervision covers such areas as the implementation of the Constitution, laws and regulations of the state, implementation of major policies formulated by the CPC Central Committee and state organs, the implementation of the national economic and social development plans and financial budget, the conduct of duties, law observance, and honesty of state organs and their staff, the execution of decisions and the regulations of the CPPCC on the part of its units and individuals.
Democratic supervision takes the forms of plenary sessions, Standing Committee meetings and meetings of the chairmen of the CPPCC submitting proposals to the CPC Central Committee and the State Council; various special committees of the CPPCC putting forward suggestions and reports; inspection, proposal, exposing and other forms of criticism and suggestion by individual CPPCC members; taking part in investigations organized by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council as well as activities organized by local people's political consultative conferences.
(3) Main contents of taking part in and managing state affairs
This includes organizing investigations and research of issues that the general public is concerned with, causing the attention of the CPC committees and departments of the State Council and which the CPPCC is capable of doing; actively making constructive suggestions to CPC and the government at various levels, maximizing the role of CPPCC members and their specialty to offer suggestions and services to the program of reform, opening up and the modernization drive.
3. Organizational principles of CPPCC
All political parties and mass organizations who support the charter of the CPPCC may sit on the National Committee or local committees, upon agreement by the National Committee or local committees after deliberation.
Individuals, invited by the National Committee or the standing committees of local committees, may also become members of the National Committee or local committees.
The relationship between the National Committee and local committees and between higher level committees and lower level committees is one of guidance.
Local committees have the obligation to observe and carry out national decisions adopted by the National Committee and lower level committees have the obligation to observe and carry out regional decisions adopted by the higher level committees.
All units and individuals taking part in the CPPCC have the right to take part in political consultation, democratic supervision, discussion and management of state affairs, through the meetings, organization and activities of the CPPCC.
Decisions of the plenary session and Standing Committee of the National Committee and local committees will become effective only after the majority of the committee members has voted in their favor.
All participating units and individuals have the obligation to observe and carry out the decisions. In case of different opinions, they may state their reservation on the precondition of firmly implementing them.
Participating units and individuals who have seriously violated the charter of the CPPCC or the decisions of the plenary sessions or Standing Committee shall be disciplined by the National Committee or standing committees of local committees including warning up to stripping them of their qualifications for joining the CPPCC.
4. The National Committee
The number and specific candidacy of the participating units and members of the National Committee are decided by the Standing Committee of the outgoing National Committee of the CPPCC.
During every term of office, when it is necessary to increase or change the number or candidacy of the participating units or members, it is to be decided by the Standing Committee of the present National Committee of the CPPCC.
The present National Committee is composed members of 34 units, i.e., the CPC, China Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang, China Democratic League, China Democratic National Construction Association, China Association for the Promotion of Democracy, Chinese Peasants' and Workers' Democratic Party, China Zhi Gong Dang, Jiusan Society, Taiwan Democratic Self-government League, public personages without party affiliation, the Communist League of China, All-China Federation of Trade Unions, All-China Federation of Women, All-China Federation of Youth, All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, China Association of Science and Technology, All-China Friendship Federation of Taiwan Compatriots, All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, representatives from the cultural and art circles, the fields of science, technology, social science, economics, agriculture, education, physical culture, journalism, publishing, medicine, social welfare, religion, and among ethnic minorities and the circle of friendship with foreign countries, specially invited people from Hong Kong, Macao and other specially invited personage. The present National Committee has 2,196 members, among whom 290 are members of the Standing Committee.
The National Committee serves for a term of five years and holds a plenary session once every year.
The National Committee has a chairman, vice chairmen and secretary-general. It sets up a Standing Committee which presides over the work of the National Committee.
The Standing Committee is composed of the chairman, vice chairmen, secretary-general and members. Candidacy of members to the Standing Committee is proposed by political parties, mass organizations, and people representing various walks of life of the CPPCC, and elected by the plenary session of the National Committee. The chairman of the National Committee presides over the work of the Standing Committee and the vice chairmen and secretary-general assist the chairman in his (her) work.
The meeting of the chairmen is composed of the chairman, vice chairmen and secretary-general and deals with the important aspects of the day-to-day work of the Standing Committee.
5. Local committees
The provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, cities divided into districts, counties, autonomous counties, as well as cities not divided into districts and districts under the jurisdiction of cities, where there are conditions for setting up the CPPCC, shall establish proper organizations of the CPPCC.
At present there are more than 3,000 CPPCC local committees at various levels made up by a total membership of over half a million.
Local committees of the CPPCC serve a term of five years.
The composition, election, function, major working organs of local committees and their standing committees should correspond to those of the National Committee.