China, officially the People's Republic of China, is formally a multi-party state under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in a United Front similar to the popular fronts of former Communist-era Eastern European countries such as the National Front of Democratic Germany.

Under the one country, two systems scheme, the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, which were previously colonies of European powers, operate under a different political system to the rest of China. Currently, both Hong Kong and Macau possess multi-party systems.[1]

Relationships with the Communist Party

In practice, only one political party, the CPC, holds effective power at the national level. Its dominance is such that China is effectively a one-party state. Eight minor parties also participate in the political system. However, they have limited power on a national level and are almost completely subservient to the CPC; they must accept the "leading role" of the CPC as a condition of being allowed to exist. The Chinese political system allows for the participation of some non-communist party members and minor parties in the National People's Congress (NPC), but they are vetted by the CPC. The Constitution of China describes it as "The system of the multi-party cooperation and political consultation led by the Communist Party of China will exist and develop for a long time to come" in the preamble.[2]

Although opposition parties are not formally banned in China, the CPC maintains control over the political system in several ways.

Firstly, only the people's congresses/assemblies up to the county level (or district under a municipality) are subject to direct popular vote. Even such a lower-level direct election can be highly controlled or managed by the CPC and higher level governmental bodies. Above the county level, one people's congress appoints the members of the next higher congress. This means that although independent members can theoretically, and occasionally in practice, get elected to the lowest level of congress, it is impossible for them to organize to the point where they can elect members to the next higher people's congress without the approval of the CPC or to exercise oversight over executive positions at the lowest level in the hierarchy. This lack of effective power also discourages outsiders from contesting the people's congress elections even at the lowest level.

Second, although Chinese law has no formal provision for banning a non-religious organization, it also has no provision which would give non-CPC political parties any corporate status. This means that a hypothetical opposition party would have no legal means to collect funds or own property in the name of the party. More importantly, Chinese law also has a wide range of offenses which can and have been used against the leaders of efforts to form an opposition party such as the China Democracy Party and against members of organizations that the CPC sees as threatening its power.[3][4] These include the crimes of subversion, sedition, and releasing state secrets. Moreover, the control that the Party has over the legislative and judicial processes means that the Party can author legislation that targets a particular group.

Thirdly, Article 1 of the Constitution of China defines socialism as "the basic system" of the country, and explicitly forbids "sabotage of the socialist system by any individual or organization."[5]


Current existing

English name
Chinese name
Date founded Existed Location founded Member features
(generally considered)
Members Current leader Official website
     Communist Party of China (CPC)
Ruling party
中国共产党 (中共) 1 July 1921 96 years, 279 days Shanghai, China People who believe Marxism–Leninism, Maoist and Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, and have the will to develop socialist society to make the communist society come true 89,450,000 Secretary General
Xi Jinping
     Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang (RCCK) 中国国民党革命委员会 (民革) 1 January 1948 70 years, 95 days British Hong Kong Intellectuals who have relationships with Kuomintang (before 1949), RCCK or Taiwan
Major in science and law
127,930 Chairman
Wan Exiang
     China Democratic League (CDL) 中国民主同盟
19 March 1941 77 years, 18 days Chongqing, China Intellectuals who major in cultural education and science technology 282,000 Chairman
Ding Zhongli
     China Democratic National Construction Association (CDNCA) 中国民主建国会 (民建) 16 December 1945 72 years, 111 days Chongqing, China Intellectuals who major in economy 170,000 Chairman
Hao Mingjin
     China Association for Promoting Democracy (CAPD) 中国民主促进会 (民进) 30 December 1945 72 years, 97 days Shanghai, China Intellectuals who major in education, culture and publication 156,808 Chairman
Cai Dafeng
     Chinese Peasants' and Workers' Democratic Party (CPWDP) 中国农工民主党 (农工党) 9 August 1930 87 years, 240 days Shanghai, China Intellectuals who major in medical science, population resource and ecology condition 145,000 Chairman
Chen Zhu
     China Zhi Gong Party (CZGP) 中国致公党
10 October 1925 92 years, 178 days Los Angeles, United States Returned overseas Chinese and their relatives 48,000 Chairman
Wan Gang
     Jiusan Society (JS) 九三学社 3 September 1945 72 years, 215 days Chongqing, China Intellectuals who major in science technology 167,218 Chairman
Wu Weihua
     Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League (TDSGL) 台湾民主自治同盟 (台盟) 12 November 1947 70 years, 145 days British Hong Kong Taiwanese who support Chinese unification 3,000 Chairman
Su Hui

Suppressed parties

The following parties have been and are currently suppressed in China. Due to censorship and suppression, they most likely have their headquarters outside the Chinese mainland.

Historical: Republic of China (1912–1949)

The Republic of China was founded by the Kuomintang (KMT) leader Dr. Sun Yat-sen in 1912. The Kuomintang's prior revolutionary political group, the Revive China Society, was founded on 24 November 1894. It later merged with various other revolutionary groups to form the Tongmenghui in 1905. In August 1911, the Tongmenghui further merged with various other political parties in Beijing to form the KMT. In July 1914, the KMT re-organized itself as the "Chinese Revolutionary Party" in Tokyo, Japan. In 1919, the party officially renamed itself as "Kuomintang of China", which literally translates to "Chinese Nationalist Party".[21] It was China's first major political party. In 1921, the Communist Party of China (CPC) was founded by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao in Shanghai as a study society and an informal network. Slowly, the CPC began to grow. These were the two major political parties in China, during the time when the ROC ruled mainland China from 1911 to 1949.

During the Chinese Civil War, under the leadership of the CPC, the People's Liberation Army defeated the National Revolutionary Army of the Kuomintang in 1949. The Kuomintang had no choice but to leave mainland China and move to the island of Taiwan in 1945 from Japan then fled there with the aim to retake mainland China and retained the name "Republic of China" even though the CPC claimed that the Republic of China ceased to exist after 1949.

See also


  1. ^ Buckley, Roger. (1997) Hong Kong: The Road to 1997. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-46979-1
  2. ^ http://www.npc.gov.cn/englishnpc/Constitution/2007-11/15/content_1372962.htm
  3. ^ a b c Gittings, John. The Changing Face of China: From Mao to Market. (2005). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280612-2
  4. ^ a b c Goldsmith, Jack L. Wu, Tim. (2006). Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515266-2
  5. ^ "Constitution of China". People's Daily Online. Retrieved 2016-12-28. 
  6. ^ http://english.cpc.com.cn.  Missing or empty title= (help)
  7. ^ http://www.minge.gov.cn.  Missing or empty title= (help)
  8. ^ http://www.dem-league.org.cn.  Missing or empty title= (help)
  9. ^ http://www.cdnca.org.cn.  Missing or empty title= (help)
  10. ^ http://www.mj.org.cn.  Missing or empty title= (help)
  11. ^ http://www.ngd.org.cn.  Missing or empty title= (help)
  12. ^ http://www.zg.org.cn.  Missing or empty title= (help)
  13. ^ http://www.93.org.cn.  Missing or empty title= (help)
  14. ^ http://www.taimeng.org.cn.  Missing or empty title= (help)
  15. ^ "Chinese Pan-Blue Alliance Members Arrested". Epoch Times. 2008-02-18. 
  16. ^ Moore, Malcolm. "Former teacher names Bo Xilai chairman of 'new political party'". Telegraph. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  17. ^ Benjamin Kang Lim and Ben Blanchard (9 November 2013). "Bo Xilai supporters launch new political party in China". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  18. ^ Shao, Heng. "Bizarre China Report: The Grand Wedding, Power Play & Smog-Inspired Creativity". 
  19. ^ "北京民政局发出取缔"至宪党"决定" (in Chinese). Deutsche Welle. December 14, 2013. Retrieved 2016-12-28. 
  20. ^ Demick, Barbara (20 March 2012). "China puts a stop to Maoist revival" – via LA Times. 
  21. ^ http://www.kmt.org.tw/hc.aspx?id=27 History of KMT

External links