Mass organizations are an important part of China's contemporary politics. There are some 2,000 national mass organizations, including nearly 200 that receive appropriations from the state treasury and are listed in the national administrative setup. Among these 200, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the Communist Youth League of China and the All-China Women's Federation enjoy special political status and have extensive social influence. Besides, some other organizations, though less influential than the above three, are also rather special. They are: All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, China Science and Technology Association, All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, Chinese People's Association for Friendship With Foreign Countries, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, China Disabled Persons' Federation, All-China Journalists' Association, China Red Cross, All-China Taiwan Compatriots Association, Soong Ching Ling Foundation, Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, Whampoa Military Academy Alumni Association, Western Returned Students' Association, Chinese Writers Association, China Law Association and Chinese Workers Ideological and Political Work Research Society. Though nongovernmental organizations, they, to a large extent, exercise administrative functions and powers.
Major Mass Organizations
All-China Federation of Trade Unions
The All-China Federation of Trade Unions, created on May 1, 1925, is the leading body of all local federations of trade unions and national industrial unions in China. The major social functions of the Chinese trade unions are as follows: to protect the legitimate interests and democratic rights of workers and staff members; to mobilize and organize workers and staff members to take part in construction and reform, and accomplish tasks in economic and social development; to participate in the democratic management of enterprises and educate workers and staff members to constantly improve their ideological and moral qualities and raise their scientific and cultural levels. At the end of July 2006, the federation had 1.174 million grassroots unions and a membership topping 150 million. Wang Zhaoguo is current chairman of its Executive Committee.
Trade union organizations are playing a crucial role in safeguarding workers’ rights. Pictured are several migrant workers showing their certificates of trade union membership.
Communist Youth League of China
The Communist Youth League of China, created in May 1922, is a mass organization of advanced youth under the leadership of the CPC. Basic tasks of the league at the current stage are to unite and lead youths to focus on economic construction and, during the great practice of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, to temper themselves as successors who are well educated and have lofty ideals, moral integrity and high sense of discipline. The league had 72.146 million members at the end of 2005, who are at the age of between 14 and 28 years, in 199,000 grassroots committees consisting of 220,000 branches and 2.491 million sub-branches. Full-time workers of the league totaled 191,000. The current first secretary of the Secretariat of the league's Central Committee is Hu Chunhua.
All-China Women's Federation
The All-China Women's Federation, established in 1949, is a bridge linking the CPC and the government with women. It constitutes an important social support for state power. The basic function of the ACWF is to represent and safeguard the interests of women, and promote equality between men and women. Publications of the federation are China Women News and Chinese Women magazine. Gu Xiulian is current chairwoman of the Executive Committee of the federation.
Rong Hua (left), head of the Beijing Municipal Women's Federation, visits house helpers in the city. The basic functions of the women's federations at all levels are representing and safeguarding women's rights and promoting the equality between men and women.
All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce
The All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, a nongovernmental chamber of commerce founded in November 1953, is a national mass organization formed by industrial and commercial circles. It is a bridge linking the CPC and the government with business people in non-public sectors and assists the government with management of the non-public economy. The federation now had 1.97 million members at the end of June 2006 and its current chairman of Executive Committee is Huang Mengfu.
China Federation of Literary and Art Circles
Founded in March 1949, the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles is a mass organization formed by national associations of writers and artists, federations of literary and art circles of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, and national industrial associations of writers and artists. Its current chairman is Sun Jiazheng.
China Science and Technology Association
The China Science and Technology Association, established in 1958, is a nongovernmental organization of Chinese scientists and technicians. It serves the purposes of boosting scientific and technological undertakings and promoting the popularization of scientific knowledge. The association now consists of 167 national societies, with a combined membership of 4.3 million. Its current chairman is Han Qide.
All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese
With the inception in 1958, the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese is a mass organization formed by returned overseas Chinese and their relatives. Its current chairman is Lin Zhaoshu.
Chinese People's Association for Friendship With Foreign Countries
Established in Beijing on May 3, 1953, the Chinese People's Association for Friendship With Foreign Countries is a national nongovernmental organization dealing with people's diplomacy. It serves the purposes of promoting understanding and friendship between the Chinese people and peoples in different countries in the world, enhancing mutual economic, social, cultural, scientific and educational exchanges and cooperation and maintaining world peace. Chen Haosu is incumbent president of the association.
China Council for the Promotion of International Trade
Established in 1952, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade is a national nongovernmental organization engaged in foreign economic and trade activities. It is composed of representative figures, enterprises and associations in the country's economic and trade sectors. Currently, it has 18 industrial branches, 70,000 corporate members, more than 600 local branches and sub-branches, and 16 overseas offices. With approval from the Chinese Government, the council created the China Chamber of International Commerce in June 1988. Wan Jifei is current president of the council.
China Disabled Persons' Federation
Established in November 1983, the China Disabled Persons' Federation is composed of the disabled and those working for the disabled. Its major functions are: representing common interests of the disabled and safeguarding their lawful rights and interests; uniting and educating the disabled and providing them with services; and managing and developing understanding of the disabled as entrusted by the government. Its current chairman is Deng Pufang.
All-China Journalists' Association
Formally established on March 14, 1957, the All-China Journalists' Association's predecessor is the Society of Young Chinese Journalists that was set up in Shanghai on November 8, 1937 under the initiation of late Premier Zhou Enlai. It serves the purposes of uniting journalists of all ethnic groups in the country, strengthening the building of journalistic contingent, safeguarding the lawful rights and interests of journalists, promoting press reform, enriching and developing socialist journalistic undertakings and conducting international exchanges. Its current chairman is Tian Congming.
China Red Cross
Established in 1907, the China Red Cross is engaged in protecting people's health and life, displaying humanitarianism and promoting peace and progress. It currently has more than 70,000 grassroots cells and more than 20 million members. Peng Peiyun is current chairwoman.
All-China Taiwan Compatriots Association
Founded in Beijing on December 27, 1981, the All-China Taiwan Compatriots Association is a patriotic mass organization for Taiwan compatriots of various ethnic groups living on the Chinese mainland. Its current president is Liang Guoyang.
Soong Ching Ling Foundation
Established on May 29, 1982, the Soong Ching Ling Foundation serves the purposes of carrying on the undertakings in culture, education, science and welfare for the young people that Soong Ching Ling, wife of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, had worked hard for during her lifetime, promoting the healthy and sound progress of children, enhancing international friendship, maintaining world peace and unifying China. There are currently four sub-foundations in China's Shanghai, Japan, Canada and the United States. Its current chairman is Hu Qili.
Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs
Established on December 15, 1949, the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs exercises the functions to conduct exchanges with and connect foreign political activists, celebrities, as well as institutions and scholars studying international affairs. It also organizes and participates in various kinds of bilateral and multilateral academic activities to study, deliberate and exchange views on international affairs, in efforts to promote the mutual understanding and cooperation between Chinese and people of foreign countries. Its current president is Yang Wenchang.
Whampoa Military Academy Alumni Association
The Whampoa Military Academy Alumni Association, created on June 16, 1984 is a patriotic organization. Its membership is open to all generations of students of the Whampoa Military Academy, China's first institution of military education, as well as its affiliates, either on the mainland or in Taiwan. The association observes the following purposes: carrying on the Whompoa spirit of "patriotism and revolution," uniting Whampoa students, promoting the reunification of the motherland and dedicating to the rejuvenation of China. Li Yunchang is current chairman of the association's Board of Directors. The association's official publication is Whampoa magazine.
Western Returned Students' Association
The Western Returned Students' Association, established in October 1913 serves the purposes of carrying on patriotic traditions, uniting students who have returned from their studies in Europe and America, maintaining contact with overseas students and their relatives, strengthening friendship, exchanging experience and jointly working for the rejuvenation of China and the unification of the motherland. Chairman of its Board of Directors is Han Qide.