Chinese Politics and the NPC

Written by Julen Madariaga on March 13th, 2009


NATIONAL PEOPLE’S CONGRESS - Let’s admit it. We’ve been watching closely the NPC, we read all the material available and we have written about it. And yet, this year again, we have no clue what the NPC is for. According to their own website, the NPC has legislative functions, so we tend to compare it to a Western parliament.  Some Chinese have compared it to a Carnival instead, and Party top leader Wu Bangguo has stated very clearly:

“The people’s congress exercises state power in a unified way”, that is  “different from the Western model, which separates the powers of the 3 departments.”

His speech asserted that “China will never copy the Western political systems”,  going to great lengths to explain the advantages of the “socialist system”. No separation of powers, that is the key. He could have saved the effort and drafted a shorter speech: “We will continue to monopolize the power because we think it is the best for our country (and for us)”. Which feels very much like a direct response to Wen Jiabao’s political reform statements 5 days earlier during the same Congress.

I will leave the high level tea leave reading to the professionals, but I count already two hardline statements from top level politburo members in less than a month, while Wen JiaBao’s constant democratic initiatives get little echo. I am of the opinion that Wen is untouchable this year, while economic and political hazards require the full support of the Chinese people to the party. But as soon as the danger is past, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him unexpectedly retire.

Sharing is free, support my work:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Digg
  • Haohao
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • LinkedIn
  • Netvibes
  • Reddit
  • Posterous
  • Live
  • QQ书签
  • MSN Reporter
  • 豆瓣
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • MySpace
  • FriendFeed
  • Print

Comments so far ↓

  1. Mar

    Good analysis. It’s too easy to see the CCP as a monolith power block - not least because mostly that is what it is, but there are divisions. I wonder whether Charles Liu is going to try to argue that China is still a democracy now?

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. Mar

    Haha. It is a long time I don’t see Charles around here. It is a pity, because I quite liked how he heated the discussion. His favourite phrase was: “you say you like China, but in fact you hate it”…

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. Mar


    But one point is missing: Re-affirming things like no western style democracy by Wu and insisting on political reform by Wen does not conflict each other from the pointof logical reasoning.

    It is too quick to make any deduction that Wu and Wen are on different terms. They can say that they are talking about two different aspects.

    Probably you have a great point, but it’s not great reasoning.

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. Mar

    It is true that when you see both articles they are not necessarily in conflict. You can understand Wen’s “democracy” as “socialist democracy”, and then they are just two different ways to call the same thing.

    And yet, the tone of the messages is completely different. One insist on what they will NOT do, the other insists on what they want to do. Top leaders in China don’t usually do direct public statements against each other, they express their support in more subtle ways. And lately, reactions (or lack thereof) to Wen’s statements sound very much like lack of support.

    Again, all this is no more than an informed guess, and my information is no more than my following through Xinhua and PDaily. But I don’t think there is any problem with the reasoning.

    [Reply to this comment]

  5. Jan

Leave a Comment

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. China: Resumen de la Semana (3) | CHINAYOUREN
  2. Caonima! The double meeting is here agan! | CHINAYOUREN