Details on election of delegates to 20th CPC National Congress
About 96.9% of the delegates joined the Party after the reform and opening up started in 1978.
The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is expected to convene on October 16, and authorities have recently shed more light on the details of the upcoming meeting, including releasing a full name list of 2296 delegates, and an interview that the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee did with Xinhua News Agency, giving more details on the election of delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress, though the interviewee's name and specific position were not revealed. Ginger River Review (GRR) has kept paying close attention to the event, considering the 20th CPC National Congress is probably the most important event in China's politics this year, and it will set the tone for multiple aspects of China in years to come.
In a previous post, GRR offered a partial translation of how the 19th CPC Central Committee leaders were elected five years ago. Today, GRR brings you a full-text translation of the interview that the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee did with Xinhua. Beware that both the translation, highlights, and notes below are from GRR only, and they don't represent the views of any organizations, as this is just a personal newsletter.
Ginger River is aware that some may find this interview long and dry. However, it is the only accessible thorough description of how delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress, which garners worldwide attention, came to be, and the interview does provide some insight.
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Q: First, could you please give us an overview about the election of delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress?
A: According to the CPC Central Committee's unified deployment, the election of delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress began in November 2021 and concluded in July of this year. A total of 2,296 delegates were elected by local Party congresses or Party meetings in 38 electoral units across China.
The CPC Central Committee placed a high priority on the election of delegates to its 20th National Congress. General Secretary Xi Jinping personally prepared the work and presided over meetings of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and meetings of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, with these meetings completing special research on the topic, and reviewing and adopting the "Notice of the CPC Central Committee on the Party's Election of Delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress." The document clarified the general requirements and regulations for the election. During the election, General Secretary Xi Jinping listened to multiple reports, issued important directives, and outlined precise requirements, such as strengthening the Party's leadership, carrying out strict qualifications for candidates, implementing high standards of loyalty and integrity, further optimizing the structure of delegates, and keeping the solemn discipline. General Secretary Xi Jinping's important directives and CPC Central Committee's deployment pointed a clear direction and laid the groundwork for the election.
As approved by the CPC Central Committee, the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee held a special meeting to make specific preparations for the election. Each electoral unit adhered to the guideline of Xi Jinping's Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, used the Party Constitution as the fundamental guiding principle, upheld the Party's nature and mission, and bolstered the Party's leadership throughout the whole process. Each electoral unit implemented inter-party democracy thoroughly, applied stringent requirements, strict selection processes, and a solemn electoral discipline. They also established implementation plans based on actual circumstances, and carried out related work in a solid way. Grass-root Party organizations and grass-root Party members were enthusiastic. They participated in the election actively, appropriately used their democratic rights, and fully expressed their views. In general, the elected delegates are highly-qualified ideologically and politically, have good work styles and high moral standards, are competent in discussing state affairs, and have made remarkable achievements in their work, and they are excellent Communist Party members. The successful election of the delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress will lay a crucial foundation for the success of the 20th CPC National Congress.
Q: What are the primary features of the composition and distribution of delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress?
A: The CPC Central Committee has made clear requirements for the 20th CPC National Congress delegates. During the election, each electoral unit focused on realizing the proportion of delegate structure, especially ensuring in that a certain number of delegates are frontline Party members in production and work. Unified planning coupled with multiple measures were taken to ensure a reasonable delegate structure and a wide distribution of delegates. According to the elected delegates' circumstances, the structure and distribution are appropriate, and the proportions of each composition all fulfilled the standards of the CPC Central Committee, and the representation is broad. The primary features are as follows:
First, the percentage of delegates from Party members on the frontline is assured. A total of 771 delegates, or 33.6 percent of the total, are from the frontline. Among them, 192 are 工人 workers (26 are migrant workers), accounting for 8.4 percent of all delegates. And 85 are 农民 farmers, making up 3.7 percent of the total, and 266 are 专业技术人员 professionals and technicians, occupying 11.6 percent of the total.
Second, the number of female delegates has increased, and the proportion of ethnic minority delegates has remained consistent. 619 female delegates were elected, an increase of 68 female delegates compared with the 19th CPC National Congress. Female delegates account for 27 percent of the total, an increase of 2.8 percentage points. There are 264 ethnic minority delegates, who are from 40 minority groups. [GRR's note: China is officially composed of 56 ethnic groups (55 minorities plus the dominant Han).] In each of the 31 electoral units, the percentage of female delegates in all delegates exceeds the percentage of female Party members in all Party members in the area, and there are also a certain number of ethnic minority delegates.
Third, delegates are widely distributed. They come from various sectors of society, including fields of economy, science and technology, national defense, political science and law, education, propaganda, culture, health, sports, and social management, etc. They come from various administrative levels, including provinces, cities, counties, towns (streets), and villages (communities). They come from various institutions including Party and government departments, enterprises, public institutions and people's organizations.
Fourth, the age structure of delegates is appropriate. The average age reached 52.2 years old, and 1,371 of them are under 55, or 59.7 percent of the total, and 434 delegates are under 45, making up 18.9 percent of the total.
Fifth, delegates are well educated. 2,191 delegates have a diploma from junior college or above, comprising 95.4 percent of all delegates, which is an increase of 1.2 percentage points over the 19th CPC National Congress. Among them, 826 have a bachelor's degree, or 36.0 percent of the total, and 1210 have a postgraduate degree, or 52.7 percent of the total.
Sixth, delegates joined the Party in various historical periods. Some joined the Party during the New Democratic Revolution [Note: 1919-1949], some during the period of Socialist Revolution and Construction [Note:1949-1978], some during the new period of reform, opening up, and socialist modernization [note:1978-today], and some joined the Party after the 18th CPC National Congress. Among them, 2,224 joined the Party after the reform and opening up 【started in 1978】, accounting for 96.9% of the total. They are the majority of the 20th CPC National Congress.
The features above reveal conclusively that the Party has a firm foundation, a large mass base, and a vitality transmitted from generation to generation.
Hong Jiaguang, delegate to the 20th CPC National Congress, is a technician with AECC Shenyang Liming Aero-Engine Co., Ltd. (picture is from Xinhua)
Q: More than 96 million people are members of the CPC. How were the 20th CPC National Congress delegates elected from so many Party members?
A: The election of the 20th CPC National Congress strictly followed the CPC Central Committee's procedures. The CPC Central Committee published the "Notice" to explain the major steps of the election, and the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee published "The Flowchart of the Party's Election of Delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress." Each electoral unit upheld the Party's leadership and stayed committed to democracy, combing bottom-up and top-down methods. Through repeated discussion and level-by-level election, delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress are elected. It consists mainly of the following aspects:
First, carefully organize nominations and recommendations. The CPC Central Committee allocated the number of delegates to all electoral units. Each electoral unit then integrated the needs of the CPC Central Committee with their reality and nominated candidates through appropriate means. Some enlarged the number of nominations proportionally and allocated the nomination quota at various levels. Some nominated the same number of candidates as the quota, while others went with a combination of the two approaches. Party organizations at all levels adhered to the mass line, fully publicized and mobilized the nomination, and organized grassroots Party groups and Party members to actively participate in nomination and recommendation.
Second, inspect candidates strictly. Following the requirements for delegates, electoral units performed a comprehensive and in-depth inspection via numerous channels, levels, and aspects. They examined and evaluated the candidates thoroughly. Each electoral unit formed an inspection team to go to rural areas, communities, enterprises, institutions, and other departments and listened attentively to the opinions of Party members, the general public, and delegates to the Party congress, especially views of insiders such as the heads of the candidates' departments, people that candidates had served, and people around the candidates.
Third, choose the best candidates at each level. Step by step, the delegates were picked from the most qualified individuals, beginning with grassroots Party organizations, then Party organizations of the institutions that made recommendations, and finally electoral unit Party organizations. The grassroots Party committee discussed, picked and presented candidates collectively, then the Party committee of the recommendation departments at the upper level held a plenary meeting to discussed and decide who should be candidates. Next, the electoral unit called a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Party Committee (Working Committee Meeting, Party Group Meeting) and a plenary meeting of the Party Committee, where the preliminary delegates and candidates were collectively examined and chosen. Certain electoral units would ensure the number of recommendations, preliminary delegates, and candidates is larger than the quota to obtain the best possible selection.
Fourth, plan the meeting and elections meticulously. [Electoral units] prepared and held Party Congresses or Party meetings with great care and develop scientific and reasonable election procedures. Before the election, they carefully explained the list of candidates, clarified the spirit of the CPC Central Committee, the conditions for delegates, the structural requirements, and the process for selection, improved the method for candidate introduction, organized discussions, and directed delegates to exercise their democratic rights correctly. These procedures accomplished the unification of promoting democracy and fulfilling the organisation's goals, and assured that the elections were done orderly, and successfully.
Beware that all the elected delegates announced this time will undergo qualification review by the delegates qualification review committee of the 20th CPC National Congress before the 20th CPC National Congress takes place, and only those delegates whose qualifications are valid will attend the 20th CPC National Congress. Conventionally, the CPC Central Committee also invited some former Party officials who have resigned from their leadership roles as special delegates to the Congress.
Q: Delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress should be outstanding Communist Party members. How did the Party ensure a high quality of the delegates during the election?
A: To ensure the high quality of delegates and to select delegates who meet the requirements of the CPC Central Committee, each electoral unit gave full play to the leadership of Party organizations, 坚持把政治标准放在首位，把牢廉洁底线 insisted on putting political standards first, upheld firmly the bottom line of being incorruptible, and conducted a variety of audits and rigorous screenings. These procedures guaranteed that the 20th CPC National Congress delegates are genuinely excellent Party members with solid faiths, strong political performances, good work styles, and impeccable integrity.
The first is stringent requirements. [Electoral units] highlighted the advanced requirements, recommended and nominated candidates in strict accordance with six conditions stipulated by the CPC Central Committee ideology, including 思想 thought, 政治 politics, 能力 capability, 作风 work & life style, 业绩 work performance, and 履职 execution of duties, and instructed grassroots Party organizations and Party members to adhere to the standards and choose the best of the best. Based on poverty alleviation, COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control, technological innovation, and other specific conditions for electoral units, some electoral units modified the further details of the delegates' requirements and took those conditions into consideration during the nomination.
The second is to manage political ideology carefully. [Electoral units] generally did strict inspections of candidates, with an emphasis on candidates' political quality and political judgment, political comprehension, and political execution. Candidates must comprehend the significance of “两个确立” "Two establishments." Candidates must enhance their performances in “四个意识” "Four awarenesses", “四个自信” "Four matters of confidence" and “两个维护” "Two safeguards." [to 1) safeguard the core status of Xi Jinping within the CPC, and 2) to safeguard the centralized authority of the Party. ] Some electoral units worked out finer standards for candidates' political qualifications. Politically unqualified candidates would be rejected immediately. Those who do not adhere to the Party's political discipline and rules, as well as those who have issues of “七个有之” "seven misconducts", and “两面人” act duplicitously, will be resolutely blocked.
The third is to hold high standards for integrity. The Party carefully implements 四必” "four must-do" inspection requirements and the “双签字” "double-signature" requirement on integrity review. The results of inspections, petitions, audits, and special inspections should be used comprehensively. In addition, The Party makes full use of the achievements in regulating the business conduct of Party leaders' spouses, children, and children's spouses. [Former] punishments for violating the Party discipline and opinions made in democratic life meetings and organizational life meetings are reviewed, analyzed comprehensively and strictly inspected. The Party conducts "a well-round test" on candidates, and makes adjustments when the candidates turn out to be unsuitable. For candidates in the domains of finance and business, the administrative departments, the law enforcement departments and industrial supervision departments will be consulted. If there remain concerns or questions over the integrity of candidates, the candidates will not be selected as delegates. And the Party firmly opposes "problematic ones" getting nominated or elected.
The fourth is to rigorously conduct the identity check. The election procedure should further define the scope of Party leaders, frontline Party members in production and work, workers, farmers, and professionals and technicians. The identities of candidates are carefully investigated to avoid fake identities and impostors. For those having multiple identities, some electoral units made identity identification forms, conducted on-site investigations, checked labour contracts, employment documents, household registration certificates, etc. Identities of these candidates were confirmed according to the priority of their jobs, and how iconic their jobs were. Candidates' identities thus are under control.
In practice, electoral units focused on recommending outstanding Communist Party members who have performed well in urgent and complex tasks, such as implementing major national development strategies, fighting three tough battles, preventing and controlling COVID-19, the work of natural disaster prevention and relief, etc. [Note: “preventing and controlling COVID-19” was mentioned for a second time in the related recommendation criterion in this interview] It is estimated that among frontline delegates in production and work, 710 have been awarded honorary titles beyond the provincial military levels, accounting for 92.1 percent of all frontline delegates.
Q: How were grassroots Party organizations and the vast majority of Party members engaged during the election of delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress?
A: The CPC Central Committee demanded that all grassroots Party organizations and Party members should participate in the nomination of the 20th CPC National Congress delegates. Judging from the elections of different departments in various places, grassroots Party organizations and the vast majority of Party members have shown tremendous political fervor and active engagement in the election of the 20th CPC National Congress delegates. Each electoral unit adopted different measures to encourage the participation of grassroots Party organizations and Party members. All electoral divisions adhered to the mass line, combined the study of Party history and the spirit of the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, coordinated the election with COVID-19 prevention and control requirements, and adopted various methods such as organizing Party meetings, Party classes, and central group study. They employed remote education, Party-building networks, and other methods to conduct extensive and safe campaigns.
For Party members who cannot attend regular Party activities, retired Party members, old and physically weak Party members, and Party members in new business forms and job groups, electoral units used telephone calls, letters, and door-to-door visits to inform them of the situation and listened to their opinions. To encourage Party members to participate, some electoral units arranged the nomination event on Party theme days, and combined the activity of "getting to the grassroots and sending warmth," some adopted mobile ballot boxes and circuit campaign teams. The average participation rate of Party members reached 99.5 percent, with every grassroots Party organization in each electoral unit covered.
Many Party members said that participating in the nomination of candidates of the 20th CPC National Congress delegates improved their sense of honor and mission. They strengthened their knowledge of Party ideals and beliefs, Party spirit, Party discipline, and Party history, thereby enhancing their ideological awareness. Many pledged to do work in a solid way and to take concrete steps to celebrate the successful convening of the 20th CPC National Congress.
Qian Suyun, delegate to the 20th CPC National Congress, is a well-respected doctor at Beijing Children's Hospital (picture is from Xinhua)
Q: What measures were taken to enhance the quality and effectiveness of democracy within the Party during the election? How can the wills of the majority of Party members be adequately reflected?
A: The CPC Central Committee highlighted that the election of delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress should give full play to intraparty democracy, and concentrate on enhancing the quality and effectiveness of democracy. All electoral units have faithfully implemented the requirements of the CPC Central Committee, respected and guaranteed the democratic rights of Party members and delegates, and actively created conditions to guide Party members to participate in the election orderly, thereby making the election a successful practice that fully promotes intraparty democracy and adheres to the mass line, with positive effects. The work is reflected in the following aspects:
The first is adequate consultation. The election used the “三上三下” "three ups and three downs" approach [Note: a way of recommendation and nomination featuring step by step, level by level] to carry out the nomination, taking into consideration views of all grassroots Party organizations and Party members thoroughly. Candidates were recommended by the Party branch based on the opinions of the majority of Party members. Recommending units then researched and selected candidates, and electoral units decided on the list of preliminary candidates for inspection, all depending on the opinions of the majority of Party organizations and Party members. In this way, the Party guaranteed that delegates can represent the majority of Party members.
The second is a collective study to determine delegates. All electoral units practiced democratic centralism diligently, giving full play to intraparty democracy as well as the Party‘s leadership. Each electoral unit convened a standing committee meeting of the Party committee (Working Committee Meeting, Party Group Meeting) or a Party committee plenary meeting (Working Committee Meeting, Party Group Meeting) for joint research. The decision was reached in accordance with the Party committee (Party group) rules and procedures rather than one individual deciding the matter. Any major questions showing up during the election were also decided by collective research.
The third is to insist on inspecting multiple candidates for one delegate position and doing competitive elections. During the inspection, the Party also published inspection previews to select the best people at different levels. The list of preliminary candidates was released before the election to make sure the candidates are people that the Party, fellow Party members, and the general public can trust. During the election at the meeting, electoral units improved the way of presenting candidates, expanded the introduction, and increased the voters' understanding of the candidates. Competitive elections with a ratio higher than 15 percent were conducted.
Q: The public is particularly concerned about the credibility of the election to the 20th CPC National Congress. Please tell us some information about how the election managed to keep the election discipline and integrity.
A: The CPC Central Committee demanded unequivocally that political discipline, organizational discipline, and electoral discipline be strictly enforced during the election of delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress to assure integrity. Following the requirements of the CPC Central Committee, each electoral unit has always given priority to disciplines and rules, strictly stood by the discipline and monitored the process, and upheld the Party's integrity with a firm stance and decisive actions.
The first is to improve education and guidance. Electoral units insisted on warning and prevention first, organized Party members and cadres to study the CPC Central Committee's regulations on disciplines, particularly the “十严禁” "ten forbidden" rules, educated and guided Party cadres to strengthen discipline consciousness and firmly adhere to rules and regulations. Electoral units organized Party members to watch education films such as 《警钟长鸣》"The Alarm Bells Ringing" and made full use of typical cases of canvassing, bribery, and sabotage in elections that happened in Hengyang of Hunan Province, Nanchong of Sichuan Province, and Liaoning Province to help Party members learn from past experience.
The second is to make sure that responsibility is fully taken. In the election, each level clarified its responsibility, reinforced supervision, guidance, and accountability. The responsibility was passed from the top to the bottom, and all requirements were fulfilled. In every step, including recommendation and nomination, organizing inspections, and elections at meetings, the Party constantly stressed disciplines, insisting that Party leaders take the lead in execution and serve as a model. Some electoral units chose a leader for elected delegates, established a list of disciplinary supervision responsibilities for liaison officers, signed letters of commitment, and implemented a system of group supervision and reporting working ethics daily, thereby putting in place responsibilities, personnel, and operation.
The third is to enhance supervision in the whole process. For steps that violations are likely to happen and for major subjects, the Party built and refined a system of warning and supervision to urge Party cadres to abide by regulations carefully. Some provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities established a "four in one" reporting platform including a "12380" telephone hotline, letters and visits, the Internet, and text messages, to prevent violations of regulations and disciplines. Some electoral units established supervisory groups to strengthen supervision over the entire process through circuit inspections, individual interviews, as well as announced and unannounced inspections. Through a set of strong measures, the Party effectively averted disciplinary infractions and secured integrity.
In general, the election of delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress was successful. Each electoral unit combined the election of delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress, the study and implementation of the spirit of the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, and the promotion of the education of Party history in the long term. They organized Party members to study Xi Jinping's Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the Party Constitution, and Party rules thoroughly. They promoted honor and integrity.
They helped Party organizations at all levels, and the vast majority of Party members understand the significance of "Two establishments", enhance "Four awareness" voluntarily, uphold "Two safeguards," and closely follow the CPC Central Committee where comrade Xi Jinping is the core in terms of our thinking, political orientation, and actions. The election of delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress has become a process of in-depth study and implementation of Xi Jinping's Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, a process that upheld the general requirements of Party building and the Party's organizational line in the new era, a process of learning ideals and beliefs, the education of Party spirit, Party discipline, and Party history, and a process of vividly practicing political life in the Party and the education of democratic centralism.
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