1. How many delegates take part in the National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC)?
As the highest leading authority of the CPC, the National Congress of the CPC is usually held every five years. The 16th CPC National Congress is scheduled to convene in November. The number of delegates attending each National Congress fluctuates.
There were 12 delegates who attended the 1st CPC National Congress which was held between July 23 and 31, 1921. Together they represented more than 50 Party members.
Twelve delegates attended the 2nd CPC National Congress which was held from July 16-23, 1922. They represented 195 Party members.
The 3rd CPC National Congress was convened on June 12-20, 1923. It was comprised of more than 30 delegates representing 420 Party members.
The 4th CPC National Congress was convened on January 11-22, 1925. Twenty delegates attended the meeting representing 994 Party members.
The 5th CPC National Congress was convened from April 27 to May 9, 1927. Attending the meeting were more than 80 delegates who represented 57,967 Party members.
The 6th CPC National Congress was convened on June 18-July 11, 1928. Present at the meeting were 84 full delegates and 34 alternate delegates. Together they represented 40,000 Party members.
The 7th CPC National Congress was held from April 23 to June 11, 1945. Present at the meeting were 547 full delegates and 208 alternate delegates. They represented 1.21 million Party members.
The 8th CPC National Congress was held from September 15-27, 1956. Present at the meeting were 1,026 full delegates and 107 alternate delegates. They represented 10.73 million Party members.
The 9th CPC National Congress was held on April 1-24, 1969. A total of 1,512 delegates attended the meeting representing 22 million Party members.
The 10th CPC National Congress was held on August 24-28, 1973. The delegates attending the meeting totaled 1,249, representing 28 million Party members.
The 11th CPC National Congress was held from August 12-18, 1977. The delegates attending the meeting totaled 1,510, representing 35 million Party members.
The 12th CPC National Congress was held on September 1-11, 1982. Present at the meeting were 1,600 full delegates and 149 alternate delegates. They represented 39.65 million Party members.
The 13th CPC National Congress was held on October 25-November 1, 1987. A total of 1,936 delegates attended the meeting representing 46 million Party members.
The 14th CPC National Congress was held on October 12-18, 1992. A total of 2,000 delegates attended the meeting representing 51 million Party members.
The 15th CPC National Congress was held on September 12-18, 1997. A total of 2,048 delegates attended the meeting representing 59 million Party members.
The 16th CPC National Congress will be held on November 8, 2002. A total 2,120 delegates will participate in the meeting. They will represent over 66 million Party members.
2. Are delegates selected according to predetermined quotas of ethnicity and gender?
The delegates attending the impending 16th CPC National Congress represent a broad spectrum of Party members. They include leading officials at various levels, and rank and file Party members working at the front line of production. Of the 2,120 delegates to attend the approaching 16th National Congress of the CPC, we find not only Party members and officials from the various levels, but also rank and file member representatives from more regular walks of life. A large proportion of the delegates are model Party members who have made outstanding contributions to economics, science and technology, national defense, politics and law, education, public relations, public health, culture, and sports.
The number of leading officials from above the county level will make up no more than 75 percent of the total number of delegates elected from the various provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the central government, while rank and file Party member representatives will constitute no less than 25 percent. The proportions of female and ethnic minority delegates will also be higher than the proportions of female and ethnic minority Party members across the country.
Of the delegates elected from the offices directly under the CPC Central Committee, China's state organs, the financial sector, the People's Liberation Army, and the armed forces, the number of leaders at various levels shall be no more than 85 percent. In addition, there will be an assured number of woman Party members and Party members from different ethnic minorities representing these groups within the Party. Of the delegates elected from businesses directly under the central government, leading officials shall make up no more than 75 percent, while rank and file Party member representatives will constitute no less than 25 percent. These roles should also include a certain number of woman Party members. At least 50 percent of the Party delegates selected by the electoral units are under the age of 55.
The 2,120 delegates represent more than 66 million CPC members in the country. Of the total, officials at various levels account for 75.7 percent, while the remaining 24.3 percent are grassroots representatives from the fields of industry, agriculture, finance and trade, science and technology, national defense, politics and law, education, culture, public health and sports. Among them, 88.5 percent have been awarded honorary titles given by ministries and provincial governments or higher authorities. Women account for 18 percent, and those from ethnic minorities account for 10.8 percent. Meanwhile, 91.7 percent of the delegates have college degrees or above and 63.1 percent are 55 years of age or younger. In addition, those joining the Party since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 make up the lion's share of delegates, some 97.5 percent, of which 31.9 percent joined the Party after the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee. Those members who joined the Party during the First Revolutionary Civil War (1924-1927), the Second Revolutionary Civil War (1927-1937), the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945), and the War of Liberation (1946-1949) account for only 2.5 percent of the total.
3. What qualifies a delegate candidate for the CPC National Congress?
Each formal Party member has the right to vote and to stand for election, and can be nominated as a CPC Congress delegate candidate. After adequate deliberations, any candidate should be endorsed by the majority agreement of Party organization and electors. Neither the organization nor any individual shall assign a candidate for any reason.
A candidate to be selected to attend the Party Congress should be an exemplary Party member. He or she should have a sophisticated style of thinking, good work and study habits, strong leadership skills, and a demonstrated life long commitment to the virtues of fairness, honesty, and justness, displaying high moral and ethical character. He or she must maintain close contact with the masses and secure the support of the people. He or she must be capable of handling businesses, able to accurately convey the opinions and demands of other Party members and the masses, and correctly exercise the democratic rights of Party members.
4. How are the delegates elected? How many electoral units are there? How are these electoral units defined?
The delegates selected to attend the Party Congress are elected from within the Party. All the delegates to attend the 16th CPC National Congress have been elected by 38 electoral units. The Party committees of various provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the central government are all predetermined electoral units. Some additional electoral units may be designated according to changes within the Party administrative structure and in departments directly under the CPC Central Committee, offices of the central governments, affiliated institutes, and the military troops.
Delegates from various provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the central government are elected by the respective Party congresses at the provincial level.
Delegates from the departments directly under the CPC Central Committee, offices of the central governments, the financial sector, and the business sector are elected through respective Party meetings held by the Work Committee for Offices Directly under the CPC Central Committee, State Organs Work Committee of CPC, the Financial Work Committee of CPC, and the Business Work Committee of CPC, all entrusted by the CPC Central Committee.
Delegates from Taiwan are elected by the meeting of Party members from Taiwan organized by the Party Committee of All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots and entrusted by the CPC Central Committee.
Delegates from the PLA and Armed Forces are elected according to a detailed program prepared by the General Political Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army and approved by the Central Military Commission.
The units including the railway sector and civil aviation sector which exercise vertical administration over all their constituents from the central level to grassroots level, and the units where the Party membership credentials of their staff Party members are under the administration of local authorities, join local elections at the provincial level.
The delegate candidates nominated by the CPC Central Committee join the election of their respective units.
5. Is a multi-candidate election approach adopted? What's the ratio?
According to the Constitution of CPC adopted at the 15th CPC National Congress, "the election of delegates to committees and Party congresses at all levels must embody the will of the voters. The method of election is by secret ballot. The lists of candidates shall be carefully considered and discussed by Party organizations and voters. The method of multi-candidate election may also be adopted to produce a list of pre-selected candidates, from which actual candidates will be formally elected at a later time.
In strict accordance with the principles of the Party's Constitution, the election of the delegates to attend the 16th National Congress is made by way of multi-candidate elections. The number of candidates in attendance is usually 10 percent more of the number of delegates to be elected.
6. What is the procedure to elect delegates?
(1). The Party organizations of various electoral units propose and nominate delegate candidates for pre-selection. Once electoral units receive information concerning quotas, ratios and the constitution of delegates, they can begin to recommend potential delegate candidates, making selections from within their constituencies. The higher-level establishment will then provide feedback on the pre-selected candidates to the various electoral units for further deliberation. A list of tentative candidates will be determined by the standing committee of the Party committee according to the judgment of the majority of Party organizations or the majority of Party members.
(2). This list of tentative candidates will then be submitted for a qualification examination. A formal examination of selected delegate credentials will be conducted. During the process, opinions of the Party organization, the discipline Inspection department, and supervision department of the unit that a candidate belongs to should be taken into consideration.
(3). The standing committee of the Party committee, according to the quota, requirements, and constitution of delegates, as well as the results of qualification examination, will put forward a provisional list of delegate candidate names.
(4). A plenary session of the Party committee will be held to short-list the delegate nominees and submit the short list to the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee for review.
(5). A Party congress or a meeting of Party representatives will be convened to conduct the election. Generally, the number of delegate candidates in attendance should be 10 percent greater than the delegate quota. A process of competitive elections may be undertaken to produce a list of candidate names before a formal election is conducted to authenticate individual candidates. In other cases pre-selection may not be necessary. Instead the multi-candidate election may be held as the formal election process and the results will be submitted directly to the Central Committee for review.
7. Who are the specially invited delegates and how are they selected?
The CPC National Congress is attended by not only full delegates but also specially invited delegates who are designated by the CPC Central Committee. Such delegates invited to attend the 16th CPC National Congress include those specially invited delegates attending the 15th National Congress and retirees from important leading positions since the 15th National Congress.
8. Can delegates to a CPC National Congress run for a second term?
All full Party members (excluding those placed on probation within the Party due to inner-Party disciplinary measure) are eligible to compete for Party leadership at various levels and to become delegates to the Party congresses. Any qualified Party member who satisfies the requirements to become a delegate to the Party congresses can be elected and reelected.
9. When is the CPC National Congress held?
The National Congress of the CPC is the Party's legislature and supreme leading authority. The Party's Constitution stipulates that the CPC National Congress is held once every five years and convened by the Central Committee. The Congress may be held ahead of schedule if and when the Central Committee deems it necessary, or over one-third of the provincial-level organizations express a demand. However, providing there are no special circumstances, the National Congress shall never be postponed. The number of delegates to the National Congress of the CPC and the method of election are decided by the Central Committee.
10. What are the functions and powers of the CPC National Congress?
The Party's Constitution stipulates that the CPC National Congress has the following functions and powers:
(1) To hear and examine the reports of the Central Committee
(2) To hear and examine the reports of the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection
(3) To discuss and decide on major issues of the Party
(4) To revise the Party Constitution
(5) To elect the Central Committee
(6) To elect the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection
11. How many plenary sessions will be held during one CPC National Congress?
A plenary session of the Central Committee is a meeting composed of all the full members and alternate members of the Central Committee. During the CPC National Congress, the newly elected Central Committee will convene its first plenary session to elect the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and its Standing Committee, and to elect the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee. The General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee must be elected from members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau. Each National Congress usually holds one plenary session. After the initial plenary session, the Central Committee usually holds at least one plenary session annually which is convened by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee.
Six plenary sessions of the Central Committee have been held since the 15th CPC National Congress. The first plenary session was held to elect the members of the central leading body. The second plenary session deliberated and passed the list of names recommended by the Central Committee for the leadership of state authorities, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and the Proposals of the State Council on Institutional Reform. The third plenary session addressed issues related to agriculture and rural work. The fourth plenary session addressed issues concerning reform and development of state-owned enterprises. The fifth plenary session discussed the 10th five-year plan for national economic and social development. The sixth plenary session focused on the construction of Party's operational approach. It carries further the spirits of the 15th CPC National Congress and at the same time prepares for the coming 16th National Congress.
12. What are the tasks of the current Central Committee near the end of its term?
The Central Committee is the highest leading authority of the CPC when the National Congress of the Party is not in session. It implements the decisions of the National Congress, exercises leadership over all work of the Party, and represents the Communist Party of China when dealing in foreign affairs.
The Central Committee is elected by the Party's National Congress and is responsible for, and reports to the National Congress. A plenary session of the Central Committee should be held at least once a year and is convened by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee.
The current Central Committee near the end of its term is elected at the previous National Congress and shoulders the following responsibilities for the forthcoming National Congress: determining the quota of delegates and the method of election; conducting qualification examination of elected delegates; and deciding the timetable for the National Congress. For instance, the Sixth Plenary Session of the Fifteenth Central Committee deliberated and passed on September 26, 2001 a decision to hold the Sixteenth CPC National Congress in the latter half of the year. It was later established that the coming congress will be held on November 8, 2002. The Fifteenth Central Committee will be responsible for convening the coming congress and reporting its progress to the congress.
13. Which institution will carry the major responsibilities while the Congress is in session, and which institution will carry the major responsibilities while the Congress is not in session?
When the National Party Congress is in session, the Presidium of Congress is the leading authority in charge of the functional operations of the meeting. Once a list of candidate names has been defined, following repeated discussions and examination of those nominated by the previous Party committee or various delegations, members are elected by a show of hands.
The Presidium is made up of a secretary-general, vice secretaries-general and several standing committee members. The secretary-general is selected by a show of hands at the preparatory meeting of the Congress, while the standing committee members and vice secretaries-general are selected by a show of hands at the first meeting of the Presidium which is chaired by the secretary-general.
The post of Congress Executive Chairman is occupied by each Presidium member in turn. The tasks of the Presidium include: chairing the Congress according to the meeting?s agenda; organizing reports and discussions at the meeting; chairing electoral procedures at the meeting; and organizing delegates to discuss and pass the decisions through the Congress.
The new Central Committee elected by the Congress becomes the highest leading authority of the CPC when the National Congress of the Party is not in session. It implements the decisions of the National Congress, exercises leadership over all Party operations and represents the Communist Party of China when dealing in foreign affairs. The Presidium ceases to be the leading authority once the Congress is no longer in session.
14. What's the membership of the Central Committee? How are the members elected?
Since the founding of the Communist Party of China in 1921, there have been fifteen Central Committees. The members of the Central Committee are elected at the Party's National Congress. Their term of office is five years, but will change accordingly if the National Congress is held ahead of schedule or put off due to extreme and unforeseen circumstances. Members and alternate members of the Central Committee must have been Party members for at least five years.
The quotas of members and alternate members of the Central Committee are determined by the Party's National Congress. A member vacancy in the Central Committee is usually filled by an alternate member according to votes. The membership of the first fifteen Central Committees has varied:
First Central Committee: 3 members;
Second Central Committee: 6 members;
Third Central Committee: 9 members;
Fourth Central Committee: 9 members;
Fifth Central Committee: 32 members;
Sixth Central Committee: 23 members;
Seventh Central Committee: 44 members;
Eighth Central Committee: 97 members;
Ninth Central Committee: 170 members;
Tenth Central Committee: 195 members;
11th Central Committee: 201 members;
12th Central Committee: 210 members;
13th Central Committee: 175 members;
14th Central Committee: 193 members;
15th Central Committee: 193 members.
(Notes: The above figures exclude the number of supplementary and alternate members.)
15. What is the alternate membership of the CPC Central Committee? How are the alternate members elected?
The alternate membership of previous CPC Central Committees has varied:
11th Central Committee: 132
12th Central Committee: 138
13th Central Committee: 110
14th Central Committee: 130
15th Central Committee: 151.
Alternate members of the Central Committee are elected at the Party?s National Congress. A member vacancy in the Central Committee is usually filled by an alternate member according to votes.
16. How is the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee elected?
The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee is elected by the plenary session of the CPC Central Committee.
The Party?s Constitution has stipulated since the 12th National Congress that ?a plenary session of the Central Committee is held at least once a year by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee,? and that ?the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and its Standing Committee exercise the functions and powers of the Central Committee when the plenum of the Central Committee is not in session.
The Political Bureau regularly reports its work to the Central Committee and observes the principle of a collective leadership. The general secretary of the CPC Central Committee is responsible for calling the sessions of the Political Bureau. The Political Bureau must faithfully carry out the Party?s policies, principles and guidelines adopted at the National Congress. Its decisions concerning the transfer and reshuffling of personnel within the leading bodies of central organizations and issues of great importance within the Party must be endorsed by the plenary session of the Central Committee.
17. What is the membership of the Central Military Commission?
As the equivalent of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China, the CPC Central Military Commission, is the highest military leading body of the People?s Republic of China. The Constitution of the country, adopted by the National People?s Congress on December 4, 1982, stipulates that the People?s Republic of China sets up the Central Military Commission to direct the armed forces of the country, and that the Central Military Commission be composed of a Chairman, Vice-Chairmen and members of the commission.
The current membership of the Central Military Commission is 11.
18. What is the membership of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection?
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, as the highest body of the Party for discipline inspection, was first founded in 1949. Zhu De served as the secretary of the First Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. However, during the ?cultural revolution? (1966-76), the Party?s institutions and work regarding discipline inspection were suspended.
The Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee, held on December 18-22, 1978, elected Chen Yun secretary of the 100-member Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
The new Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, elected at the 15th CPC National Congress held on September 12-18, 1997, is composed of 115 members.