A total of 2,217 delegates were elected to the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), according to the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee reported on August 2. The delegates' names have been published by the news media in accordance with the CPC Central Committee rules. The nine-month elections started in October 2006 and ended this June. The elected delegates have to pass a qualification check by the Delegate Qualification Review Committee of the 17th CPC National Congress to receive final approval to attend the congress.
The Resolution on Convening the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), passed at the Sixth Plenary Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee, confirmed that the number of the delegates to the 17th National Congress is 2,220, 100 more than the 16th National Congress. The decision is based on two considerations. First, the CPC members all over China increased by 6 million after the 16th National Congress. Second, the CPC wants to appropriately increase the number of delegates from the forefront of production and work.
In principle, the number of the Party organizations and the Party members of the electorates, while taking into account of the number of the delegates to the previous National Congresses, decide the number of the delegates to the 17th National Congress. Based on this principle, the number of the delegates in each electorate increases in comparison with the 16th National Congress. In addition, the Central Committee traditionally invites some senior Party members who have already left their leading positions as specially invited delegates to attend the National Congress.
Taking into consideration the central, regional and army factors, the election of the delegates to the 17th National Congress is divided into 38 electorates, the same as the 16th National Congress.
According to the regulations of the CPC Constitution, the delegates to the 17th National Congress should possess four qualifications:
First of all, they should persistently observe and follow the CPC Constitution, bearing in mind the lofty ideals of Communism and Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and they should reflect upon the requirements of keeping the advanced nature of the CPC members. They should also constantly learn from Marxism, Leninism, Mao Zedong Thoughts, Deng Xiaoping Theory, and the Important Concept of "Three Represents", while sincerely apply the Scientific Outlook on Development.
Secondly, they should unswervingly follow the CPC's course, guidelines and policies, as well as correctly comprehend and earnestly implement the decisions of the Central Committee.
Thirdly, they should take the lead in fulfilling socialist concepts of honor and disgrace, dedicate themselves to their work with diligence, and make profound achievements in production and work. They should also have an integrated thinking-style, work-style and life-style, be just and fair, clear and honest.
Fourthly, they should closely connect with the masses and be welcomed by the masses, actively reporting the opinions and demands of the masses and the CPC members. They should also possess the ability to discuss official business, and correctly use the democratic rights of the CPC members and faithfully perform the duties of the delegates.
The delegates to the 17th National Congress, with trust of the 70 million Party members, have the responsibility of reflecting the suggestions and requirements of the Party members in all aspects and in all fields. They accordingly should include: Party leaders at all levels and ordinary Party members in the forefront of production and work. There should be representatives from the sectors of economy, science & technology, national defense, legislation, education, publicity, culture, health and sports. The number of delegates working in the forefront should be increased. Female Party members and Party members from minority ethnic groups should constitute a certain proportion.
In order to meet this requirement, the CPC Central Committee has made specific regulations to balance the constitutional proportion of the delegates from different electoral units. For example, of all the delegates from provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, the proportion of Party leaders should not be more than 70 percent, and the proportion of Party members in the forefront should not be less than 30 percent, among which the proportion of workers, farmers and technicians ought to be increased, the proportion of female and minority ethnic delegates should be higher than their respective percentages in their electoral units. There should be certain amount of Party member delegates from new economic and social organizations.
1. Recommendation and nomination
The recommendation and nomination of delegates start from the grassroots, involving all the grassroots Party units and members. The decision on the recommended candidates is based on the opinions of most Party units and most Party members at different levels after repeated discussions. The candidates recommended by local Party committees (at county or prefecture levels) should be discussed by the local congress of the CPC. When all the names of qualified nominees are put forward, the standing committee of the Party committees of the electoral units will discuss and decide upon a list of candidates.
2. Qualification checks
The preliminary candidates shall be assessed and undergo necessary qualification checks. Candidates should receive a notice before the checks. The opinions from the grassroots Party units, discipline inspection committees and supervision departments should be collected.
3. Public notification
Based on the number of candidates, qualification, composition requirements and inspection result, a list of the preliminary candidates will be formed by the standing committee of the Party committees of the electoral units. Before the names of the preliminary candidates are announced for public notification, the opinions from the discipline inspection committee at the same level must be considered.
4. Final candidates
After the preliminary candidates are decided upon by the Party committee (working committee session or Party group session), the name list will be reported to the Organizational Department of the CPC Central Committee within a fixed period of time for preliminary inspection. Before the Party committee meeting (at the provincial, autonomous regional or municipal levels) is held, the opinions from non-Communist parties, federations of industry & commerce and independent democrats will be collected.
The delegates will be elected at the CPC congress or delegate conference (the enlarged meeting of working committee) through a multi-candidate election. Election results should be reported to the CPC Central Committee within a fixed time.
Before the 17th National Congress is held, the 17th Credentials Committee should inspect the delegates' credentials again.
The election of the delegates to the 17th National Congress adopted some pragmatic steps and new methods and initiatives to further promote inner-Party democracy.
First of all, the proportion of the multi-candidate election has expanded. The number of the candidates was 15 percent more than the number of actually elected delegates.
Secondly, the recommended candidates by the Party Committee at the County, City and Prefecture levels were nominated by the Standing Committee, discussed and decided by the plenary session of the Party Committee. Compared with the previous practice as the Standing Committee discussing and deciding the candidates, this change promotes and improves democracy during the process.
Thirdly, the preliminary candidates were subject to a qualification check. Every electorate advertised via public notification the name list inside the electorate, so the public may give their feedback.
Fourthly, the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, before making the final decision, reported the name list of preliminary candidates, to the non-Communist parties and independent democrats for their opinions. This new initiative will produce significant and positive effects.
Fifthly, the proportion of the front-line delegates has increased. The election at the provincial level also incorporated certain delegates in new economic and social organizations. The move was aimed at better reflecting the opinions and requirements of the grass-roots Party organizations and Party members.
Sixthly, the publicity work of the election was enhanced with wide participation by the mass media.
(China.org.cn, 17thcongress.org.cn October 8, 2007)