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Explainer | What's the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)?
The 政协 or 政治协商会议 Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) is China's top advisory body, which is composed of the 全国政协 CPPCC National Committee as its national branch and 地方政协 local committees as its local branches. These committees are categorized into four levels, i.e. 县级 county, 地市级 prefecture, 省级 provincial, and 全国 national levels, ranked from the lowest to highest.
The CPPCC is a vital institution in China's democratic system, which entails a system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation. The multiparty cooperation and political consultation system is a basic political system of China under the leadership of the Communist Party of China.
The organization was founded at the dawn of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, when actors of non-CPC parties, elites from all walks of life, and political heavyweights came to Beijing to discuss the political structure of the future people's republic. Before the first National People's Congress (NPC) in 1954, the National Committee of CPPCC acted as the interim legislature branch of China, and it adopted the Common Program of The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in 1949, the foundation based on which the constitution of China was drafted.
Who can become CPPCC members?
The members of the CPPCC are representatives from all walks of life, and the absolute majority of them are non-CPC members. According to the charter of the organization, non-CPC members should constitute no less than 60 percent of the members of each new national CPPCC committee, which stays the same at local and provincial levels.
Member nominees are decided by the standing committee of each level of CPPCC, and they are representative of their parties, organizations, ethnic groups and sectors.
Note: The multiparty cooperation system means that the CPC is the sole party in power in the People's Republic of China, while the other eight political parties can participate in the discussion and management of state affairs, in cooperation with and under the leadership of the CPC.
These eight parties are:
China Democratic League 中国民主同盟
China National Democratic Construction Association 中国国民党民主建设会
Jiusan Society 九三学社
Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang 中国国民党革命委员会
China Peasants’ and Workers’ Democratic Party 中国农工民主党
China Association for Promoting Democracy 中国民主促进会
China Zhi Gong Party 中国致公党
Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League 台湾民主自治同盟
Members of CPPCC have voting rights inside the organization, and they can submit proposals to air their opinion related to the national policies or local affairs. During the off-session time, members are encouraged to reach out to the people they represent to hear their opinions and suggestions, promote state policies and guidelines, and assist the Party and the government in explaining policies, dispelling misgivings, addressing concerns and problems, and enhancing unity, acting as a patriotic united front organization which unifies people from all walks of life.
It should be noted that CPPCC is one of the main channels for socialist consultative democracy. There are other channels for offering advice to the party organs and government, including symposiums with non-CPC parties before major meetings or policy drafting, for example, the "Two Sessions." According to Chinese President Xi Jinping, this is the mechanism to incentivize people's participation in state affairs, and he said that "If the people are only awakened at election time but go into hibernation afterward, then this kind of democracy is a mere formality." Consultative democracy is similar to providing people channels to vent their constructive opinions to the state and local affairs.
What's the function of CPPCC?
According to the charter of CPPCC, the main tasks of the organization are political consultation, democratic supervision, and participation in and deliberation of state affairs.
Based on the website of the CPPCC, the CPC, the NPC Standing Committee, the People's Government, other political parties, and people's organizations can make proposals, and the National Committee and local committees of the CPPCC can hold consultation meetings attended by the heads of the non-CPC parties, those in charge of the organizations and representatives from ethnic minorities and all sectors of society. They can also recommend that the units as mentioned above and groups submit relevant issues for consultation.
Democratic supervision refers to consultative supervision, and it's carried out by means of opinions, suggestions and criticism. They include areas such as law enforcement, principles and policy implementation, problem resolution, and state organs' work.
Members are required to participate in and deliberate on state affairs, which involves conducting investigations, reporting on popular sentiment, undertaking consultation and discussion about matters of key importance, and other issues related to the general public's concern. Opinions and suggestions to the CPC and state organs are delivered by CPPCC members through investigation reports, proposals, recommendations, and other forms.
In fact, CPPCC's biweekly discussion session, held in collaboration with representatives from the legislative branch, has become a noteworthy example of the committee's ability to make a difference. These joint sessions aim to give voice to all segments of society and to ensure that their concerns are heard by lawmakers. Additionally, the National People's Congress, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate have also invited the CPPCC to participate in discussions on law-making and rule-drafting.
The impact of CPPCC proposals can be seen in the acceptance of its suggestions by other state organs. For example, the Copyright Law amendment incorporated 10 suggestions from the CPPCC, and the revision of the Administrative Reconsideration Law included 39 suggestions from the body.
Governmental institutions take the proposals and suggestions made by CPPCC members seriously. According to the People's Bank of China, in 2021, the bank received and addressed 246 proposals from CPPCC members, as well as 554 motions and suggestions from the People's Congress.
童金南 Tong Jinnan, a member of the 14th National Committee of CPPCC and a professor at the Department of Geobiology at the School of Earth Sciences of the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, as reported by China Social Science Network, made a proposal in 2021 to add more information about the history of the Earth and the evolution of life to primary and secondary school curricula. The ministry followed up by submitting a new curriculum standard for secondary school biology and geography, and later sent him the new version of the textbooks for his review and comments, along with a letter of response.
孙太利 Sun Taili, a business owner and CPPCC veteran, focused on preventing and handling illegal fundraising for years. Many of his proposals were incorporated into regulations preventing illegal fundraising and caught the attention of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, which issued the 全国非法集资监测预警体系建设规划（2020-2022年) National Illegal Fund Raising Monitoring and Early Warning System Construction Plan (2020-2022), followed by the State Council's 防范和处置非法集资条例 Regulation on Prevention and Disposal of Illegal Fund Raising in 2021.
麻建国 Ma Jianguo and 谢商华 Xie Shanghua, both members of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of CPPCC, made proposals to promote local special economies, which were seen as CPPCC's important proposals for 2021 and pushed China National Intellectual Property Administration and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to investigate developing local special economies in Shaanxi Province.
[Note: The post's contents and links will be periodically updated to reflect the latest information and developments over time.]
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