Thanks to my pals over at Raoul’s, I found this really interesting article about the workings of the Chinese government written by an American teaching at Tsinghua University (the top college in China). Let’s face it, understanding the inner workings of our own government is hard enough (quick, name the 3 branches of the US gov’t.) but trying to understand another country, especially one unlike your own, is downright impossible.
That’s why I was very happy to read this article because it is in depth, but totally understandable. (Even for me!) I also like that it has clear descriptions and backgrounds not only of the current leaders, but future leaders as well. It also clears up the misconception that “All Chinese people are communists.” They aren’t, and this article explains it a bit.
It is a Leninist party, which means that unlike most Western political parties, it is a tightly-organized, hierarchical organization similar to a military unit or religious order.Â In the United States, there is no such thing as being a “member of the Republican or Democratic Party” the closest thing would be to register to vote in either party’s primary. Republican or Democratic committees, on either the local or national level, are really just funding and support co-ops for helping candidates; they are in no position to issue orders to voters, activists, candidates, or elected officials. Joining the Communist Party of China, in contrast, is a formal and highly selective process that takes several years to complete. Once initiated, a member must obey Party directives and take on whatever task (including official positions) the Party assigns. If they misbehave, or even break a law, they will be detained, investigated, and punished by the Party, not the police only after being expelled from the Party will they be turned over to the country’s regular legal system for prosecution.
It’s a long read, but worth it if you are interested in learning the inner workings. I especially like the short bio’s (and drastically different backgrounds) of the two people likely to be chosen next as President and Premier.
Xi Jinping is expected to replace Hu as China’s paramount leader. Xi, age 57, is a so-called ‘princeling,’ the child of a prominent Party official. His father, Xi Zhongxun, was a leading Communist revolutionary who served as Deputy Prime Minister in the early 1960s before being purged by Mao in the Cultural Revolution. After he was rehabilitated by Deng Xiaopeng, the elder Xi served as governor of Guangdong, where he proposed and implemented China’s first ‘special economic zone ‘s Shenzhen and emerged as a vigorous advocate of market reform. Xi is married to one of China’s most famous singers, Peng Liyuan, making her an unusually visible First Lady. Their daughter is currently enrolled at Harvard under a pseudonym.
Li Keqiang, age 55, is expected to succeed Wen as Premier, China’s top policymaker and Xi’s #2. He comes from a far more humble background than Xi his father was a local official in the poor, rural province of Anhui â€” but earned a law degree from Peking University, as well as a PhD in economics. In the process, he rose to a top leadership position in the Communist Youth League, Hu Jintao’s main power base, where he became a key protege of Hu. In 1998, Li became China’s youngest-ever governor when he was appointed to run the rural, heavily-populated province of Henan. His tenure there was marred by several damaging incidents, including a horrendous scandal involving the spread of AIDS through carelessly contaminated blood, which tagged him with a reputation for “bad luck.”
To continue reading, and learning all about the inner workings of the very private government, click here.