More Power to the People's Congresses?

Parliaments and Parliamentarianism in the People's Republic of China

  • Jean-Pierre Cabestan (Autor/in)


The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) exerts its supremacy over the local and national people's congresses in two major ways: on the one hand, the CCP still tightly controls the various elections of its members, while on the other, it makes sure that the leading bodies of these congresses are dominated by CCP leaders at the same level. Nevertheless, the very existence of these congresses, the influence they exert on and the growing role they play in administrative affairs, particularly in drafting laws and regulations, are all worth assessing, especially in the economic and social environment that is taking shape in China today. The pluralisation of economic interests and the deepening social stratification that are taking place have both had an impact on the election processes and the actual powers of the people's congresses. People's congress delegates will not only continue to act as "remonstrators," but also as participators in the government of the Party-state. However, genuine parliamentarianism has not emerged in China so far. Only when the word "people's" is dropped from the name of the congresses will China's local and national congresses really become true parliaments that democratically represent the people who are supposed to elect them.