The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) is a patriotic united front organization led by the Communist Party of China (CPC). It is made up of deputies from the CPC, eight democratic parties, non-party democrats and people's organizations, deputies from various minority nationalities and from all walks of life, and Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao compatriots and returned overseas Chinese, as well as specially invited people.
The CPPCC is an important instrument of socialist democracy in China's political life. In accordance with the policy of "long-term coexistence and mutual supervision" between the CPC and the democratic parties and non-party personages, and the principle of "treating each other with all sincerity and sharing wealth or woe", the CPPCC participates in political consultations with regard to major state policies and important issues concerning the people's life, and exercises democratic supervision over the CPC and the People's Government by making suggestions and criticism, so as to help the state organs in improving their work, raising work efficiency, and overcoming bureaucracy. Such supervision differs from that by the National People's Congress (NPC). It has no legal effect. Known as the government's "think tank", the CPPCC committees at all levels contain large numbers of activists and public figures from various walks of life, experts and scholars in various fields.
The 1st Plenary Session of the CPPCC was held in Beijing in September 1949. Exercising the functions and powers of the NPC, the country's highest legislative body at that time, the CPPCC proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China. The CPPCC was named an organization for the Party's united front work after the convening of the 1st National People's Congress in September 1954.
Up to 1996, there had more than 3,000 CPPCC organizations at all levels throughout the country.
The number of the CPPCC National Committee members increased from 180 in 1949 to 2,196 for the 9th CPPCC National Committee in March 1998. The CPPCC local committees had a total of 461,000 members in 1996. The CPPCC National Committee is elected once every five years, and meets in session once a year.
In order to participate in the consultations and discussions of government policies, the CPPCC session always convenes simultaneously with the NPC, and its members attend the NPC as nonvoting deputies.
After the victory of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression in 1945, the CPC and the Kuomintang decided during their negotiations in Chongqing to convene a political consultative conference and organize a new government.
The conference was convened on January 10, 1946 and attended by representatives of the Kuomintang, the CPC, the Democratic League, the Youth Party and noted public figures. In November of the same year, the Kuomintang unilaterally proclaimed the convention of a " National Assembly" in violation of the resolution of the political consultative conference and resulted in the dissolution of the conference. The first session of a new political consultative conference called CPPCC was held in Beijing in September 1949, functioning as the supreme state body.
The session adopted a "Common Program of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference" which bore the nature of a temporary constitution, proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), elected the committee of the Central People's Government of the PRC with Mao Zedong as its chairman, and elected the First National Committee of the CPPCC. It also designated the Chinese capital, national flag and national anthem, and decided the way of numbering the years.
In September 1954, the National People's Congress, the supreme institution of state power in China, was set up and the CPPCC then ceased to function to make way for NPC. But it has continued to exist as China's patriotic united front organization with a broad representation and played a vital role in the country's political, economic, cultural and social affairs and international exchanges.
(Source: People's Daily Online)