Last time, I mentioned that the voting of the Chinese Congress, the People’s Congress, was only a show. Most of the candidates and the elected members belong to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But even such a rigged congress, in which the CCP commands an outright majority, is not the real legislature in China at all. I mean, the CCP members in the congress are not the top tier of the CCP, they are only the second- or third-tier roles, and must serve the real top-tier CCP members who are the true sovereign of China, such as Xi Jinping, Wang Qishan, and Jiang Zemin, etc.
One of my friends was once elected as a local congressman. One day, we were having dinner together with some friends and someone asked him what he did in the congress. He answered that every time he attended a congress meeting, all the important motions were decided in advance, especially those of the personnel appointment and removal. As an agent of the Party Committee, the Director or the Acting Director of the Congress would fix everything well before the motion reached the congress. The decision will eventually be passed with a unanimous vote, because all congressmen were ordered to vote to pass. I still remember that he suddenly said after telling the story, “Hey, it’s not a joke, you can’t do anything odd.”
Other than “acting to vote”, their responsibilities also include introducing proposals in innocuous detail to show that the congressmen are working on behalf of the people. But these proposals were in favor of the CCP, not really for the people. For example, as a teacher, he suggested not to include milk in students’ standard meals.
So, who made those important motions in advance?
He didn’t know the exact names of those people, but he was sure they were from the three organizations: “the Superior Government, the Superior Party Committee, or other same-level Party Committees.” He continued, “no other possibilities.”
Okay, we can see that only the candidates from the three organizations can participate in the Chinese Congressmen election. Parties who break this unspoken rule will risk their future or be jailed. “It’s not a joke,” he said.
So far, I’ve only been talking about the relationship between the Congress and the Party Committee. The fact is, in China, no matter your gender, location, or age, you are controlled by the CCP. A village has a Village Party Branch Secretary, a town has a Township Party Branch Committee, a workshop has a Party Branch, a factory has a Party Committee. The CCP is everywhere, taking control of everything.
Every military company and even regiment has a Party Branch. The leader of the branch is called the “political instructor or commissar.” Their duty is to ensure the military company’s obedience to the CCP. This means, the “political instructor” has no daily duties on commanding soldiers but has absolute power over the captain and the colonel. Similarly, the “political instructor” has more power over the manager or the CEO of a factory. Whenever there is a disagreement between those two, the “political instructor” always has the last word. This is called, “The Party commands the gun.”
This is a well-known idiom to the Chinese citizens. When I worked in a state-owned business, my manager refused to pay a high rate of taxes to the local government because the company could not afford it. This manager was not only criticized by the “political instructor” of the company but was also removed from the office.
To westerners, the CCP members are somewhat mysterious. They can hardly have an intuitive understanding because the political parties in their country are not the government. The parties are organized by free people and shall bear all expenses themselves. People could take part in the Party or leave freely. In contrast, once you join the CCP, you cannot leave or you will be persecuted, jailed, or even death; similar to the American mafia or any street gang.
The name, the Chinese Communist Party, makes westerners believe it is a political party. However, the CCP is not a political party like parties in the democratic countries. It’s a combination of congress and government. We can call it as the “Super Congress-Government” because its power is much bigger than the congress and the government. All the CCP officials have independent offices, their wages are paid by the government which apparently comes from the taxpayer’s money. National office and local CCP buildings all have the Chinese army to guard their gates. The CCP is the top part of the government segment, so it’s the “Super Government.” The Central committee of the CCP, which is made up of the top-tier CCP members, completely controls the congress. And the congress, which is composed of the second- or third-tier CCP members, therefore is the “Super Congress.” In general, the CCP is not a political party, but a “Super Congress-Government.”
Since the CCP calls itself as a party, it could bear responsibility when disasters happen. Their tactic is to blame the congress or the government, who have no power to make any decisions, so in cases like this, the CCP avoids all the blame and obligation.
One of the most important principles in negotiations between countries is equality; premier with premier, minister with minister, speaker with speaker. But when western countries send their officials to negotiate with the Chinese government, their Chinese opponents are all “vice.” For example, the Chairman of China is only a “vice” president because his power is lower than the General Secretary of the CCP, the mayor of Beijing is only a “vice” mayor because his power is lower than the secretary of the CCP party committee of Beijing. So, the westerners are negotiating with “vice” opponents, who have no or limited ability to make decisions or agreements. It is a CCP tactic to belittle by sending a lower level representative to negotiate with competitors.
It’s the CCP, a so-called political party that is above congress and the government, taking control of everything in China: politics, diplomacy, finance, economy, and military. This is clearly written in the Chinese constitution. I learned this in class when I was a junior middle school student; it’s called the “Four Fundamental Principles.” One of them is “to adhere to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.” China has many laws, and this is the only one that was 100% enforced.
In essence, China is not controlled by the congress nor the government. It is controlled by the CCP. This is written in the Chinese constitution, and is enforced absolutely everywhere.
So, what about the “leaders” of the CCP? Again, I’ll begin with my personal experience.
My parents are CCP members. Some of my classmates’ parents are CCP members too. Even some of my classmates are party members themselves. In the past decades, I have dealt with many CCP members. In my opinion, most of them, especially those in the basic level, are good people. What does “good people” mean? It means they are very hardworking, considerate, humane, and have high professional competence. But as to those of the middle and senior levels, I don’t regard them as good people, although they are much more clever. Let’s save that theme for the next time. (to be continued)
Contributor: Rica Machioni, Helen Reviewer: Helen
For more information, follow us on twitter!