Political Parties and Social Organizations

China is a country of many political parties. Apart from the CPC, which is in power, China has eight non-Communist parties. Since their founding the latter have established cooperative relations with the CPC to different extents. The non-Communist parties responded to the call put forward by the CPC to hold the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and participated in the First Plenary Session of the CPPCC in September 1949 with the CPC and other democratic personages, at which the Common Program was adopted as the provisional constitution, and the Central People's Government was elected and founded, hence the founding of the People's Republic of China. Since then, all the non-Communist parties have earnestly participated in the consultations and decisions concerning important issues in the state's political life; and many representatives of the non-Communist parties have been elected deputies to the people's congresses and members of the committees of the CPPCC at various levels. Many members of the non-Communist parties hold leading posts on the standing committees of the people's congresses, the committees of the CPPCC, government organs, and economic, cultural, educational, scientific and technological departments at various levels. The non-Communist parties of China are neither parties out of office, nor opposition parties, but friendly parties that "coexist over a long period of time, engage in mutual supervision, show utter devotion to each other, and share honor and disgrace, weal and woe" with the CPC. They are parties participating in government and political affairs.

Communist Party of China Founded in July 1921, the CPC today has more than 60 million members. From 1921 to 1949, the CPC led the Chinese people in their arduous struggles that finally led to the overthrow of the rule of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism with the establishment of the PRC. After the founding of New China, the CPC led the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in defending the independence and safety of the country, successfully completing the transition from new democracy to socialism and carrying out systematic large-scale socialist construction, thus achieving economic and cultural progress unparalleled in Chinese history.

In September 1997, the CPC convened its 15th National Congress, a gathering of historic significance. The CPC 15th National Congress declared Deng Xiaoping Theory the guiding ideology of the whole Party, put forward the Party's basic program for the primary stage of socialism, and formulated the basic objectives and basic policies for economic, political and cultural development. It was clearly pointed out at the Congress that the period from now to the end of the first decade of the next century will be the key period for China's modernization drive. Therefore, it was stressed, China must actively promote fundamental changes in the economic system and economic growth modes, and establish a fairly complete socialist market economy to guarantee the sustained, rapid and healthy development of the national economy, and lay a solid foundation for the basic realization of modernization in the middle of the next century. Now the CPC is leading the Chinese people in building socialism with Chinese characteristics, and striving to achieve its ultimate goal-communism.

The highest leading bodies of the Communist Party of China are the national Party congress (which is held once every five years) and the Central Committee produced at the national Party congress. The Central Committee holds its plenum at least once annually. The Central Political Bureau (Politburo), the Politburo's Standing Committee and the general secretary of the Central Committee are elected at a plenary session of the Central Committee, which also decides on members of the Central Secretariat. The Central Political Bureau and its Standing Committee exercise the functions and powers of the Central Committee when it is not in session. The Central Secretariat attends to the day-to-day work of the Politburo and its Standing Committee. The Central Committee's general secretary is responsible for convening meetings of the Central Political Bureau and its Standing Committee, and directs the work of the Central Secretariat. Jiang Zemin is the current general secretary.

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