V. Multi-Party Cooperation System and Building of State Power
As the party in power, the CPC has persisted in ruling the country scientifically, democratically and in accordance with law. As participating parties, the democratic parties also take part in running government and state affairs. In exercising state power, the CPC unites and cooperates with all the democratic parties and encourages them to play their functions by participating in and discussing government and political affairs and in democratic supervision, so as to improve the building of state power.
The National People's Congress (NPC) is the organ through which the Chinese people exercise state power; it is also an important place where the roles of the democratic party members are brought into play. A certain proportion of the membership of the people's congresses, their standing committees and special committees at various levels is taken up by members of democratic parties. Since the First Session of the 10th NPC in 2003, a total of 177,000 members of democratic parties and personages without party affiliation have been elected as deputies to the people's congresses at various levels, among whom seven have served as vice-chairpersons of the Standing Committee of the NPC and 50 served as Standing Committee members; 41 as vice-chairpersons of the standing committees of the people's congresses at the provincial level and 462 as their members, and 357 as vice-chairpersons of the standing committees of the people's congresses at the municipal level and 2,084 as their members. Performing their duties as representatives of the people, they have played an important role in participating in the enactment and amendment of the Constitution, state laws and local regulations, in electing, deciding on and dismissing state and government leaders, in examining and approving national economic and social development plans and reports on their implementation, as well as state budgets and reports on their implementation. They also play an essential role in reflecting the people's wishes by submitting motions, addressing inquiries and taking part in inspection tours and law-enforcement examinations.
It is a key part of the multi-party cooperation system under the leadership of the CPC that democratic party members take leadership positions in government and judicial organs. By the end of 2006, 31,000 democratic party members and personages without party affiliation took government official posts at and above the county (division) level. In the areas of work they are put in charge, they have commanding power, the power to make decisions as well as the power to nominate and remove personnel. Among these officials, 18 served as deputy leaders in the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and the various ministries, commissions, offices and bureaus directly under the State Council; 24 served as deputy provincial governors, vice-chairpersons and deputy mayors in the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government; 356 served as deputy mayors or deputy governors of the people's governments of 397 cities (prefectures, leagues, districts); 35 served as vice-presidents of provincial courts or deputy attorneys-general of provincial procuratorates; and 141 serve as vice-presidents of courts and deputy attorneys-general of procuratorates at the prefecture/city level. In addition, many members of the democratic parties and personages without party affiliation hold leading positions at institutions of higher learning, people's organizations, scientific research institutes, and state-owned enterprises. For instance, 69 of them assume such posts at the 93 research institutes under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and 38 at the 72 universities or colleges directly under the Ministry of Education. In 2007, two of them take up the positions of Minister of Science and Technology and Minister of Health, respectively.
The State Council and governments at all levels put great emphasis on strengthening contacts with democratic parties, opening up new channels for them to participate in and discuss state affairs. The major ways to keep in contact with them include: The State Council convenes forums attended by leaders of democratic parties to solicit ideas and suggestions from them on government's work reports to be submitted to the NPC for examination and approval, and on major state policies and administrative measures to be adopted, as well as informing them of the latest situation of national economic and social development; the State Council invites leaders of democratic parties to attend, as nonvoting delegates, plenary meetings and related meetings of the government when necessary; the government invites representatives of democratic parties to join inspections on anti-corruption work, overall improvement of public security and regularization of the market order; relevant government departments establish and strengthen contacts with the democratic parties in line with their given fields of work and invite leaders of the parties to attend important specialized meetings and take part in the formulation of key policies and plans when necessary. At present, all the democratic parties, in accordance with their specialties, have established contacts with relevant departments under the State Council, and cooperated with the government departments in joint research on promoting aptitude education, building a "Spark" science and technology belt ("Spark" is the name of a state program for scientific and technological development, and it is derived from the saying that "a single spark can start a prairie fire." ---tr.), developing modern agriculture, popularizing the eco-homestead plan, strengthening the protection and development of marine resources, improving financial and taxation policies to encourage scientific and technological innovation, reforming the system of reward for scientific and technological work, implementing the state intellectual property rights strategy, and dealing with the shortage of water resources. The State Council and governments at all levels have also invited 767 members of democratic parties and personages without party affiliation to work as counselors in the counselors' offices of the governments, and invited 1,393 as staff members of the central and local research institutes of culture and history.
Members of democratic parties have been invited to serve as special consultants in more and more fields. It is an important measure and institutional arrangement for them to play their role in democratic supervision to the full when the government departments and judicial organs concerned invite them to serve as special consultants. So far, 87 democratic party members and personages without party affiliation are working as special prosecutors, educational supervisors, special supervisors, special land resources inspectors, special auditors and special taxation supervisors at the invitation of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Supervision, Ministry of Land and Resources, National Audit Office and State Administration of Taxation. Local governments at different levels have also engaged 17,000 democratic party members and personages without party affiliation for similar purposes. These special experts serve as consultants and a bridge between the government and the people, and perform their democratic supervising duties by participating in law-enforcement inspection and supervision, in researches for the enactment of relevant laws and regulations, and in the investigation of major cases. For example, the National Audit Office organized special auditors to join in the major projects of auditing and investigating the implementation of the central budget, the fund for resettling residents in the Three Gorges Dam area, the fund for comprehensive agricultural development, funds for projects of investment, funds from World Bank loans and funds for grain bought on credit. In the last five years, the special supervisors of supervision departments at different levels received and brought to the attention of the authorities concerned 13,600 letters of complaint from people of all walks of life, and received 23,800 visitors, playing a special role in increasing the contacts between the supervisory bodies and the ordinary people.
As institutional arrangements for democratic parties to participate in key state and foreign affairs become more standardized, they are playing a greater role in these aspects. In recent years, central committee leaders of the democratic parties have attended important activities in foreign affairs on more than 150 occasions, and led more than 60 delegations on overseas visits. Central committee leaders of democratic parties are invited to attend meetings between state or CPC Central Committee leaders and visiting foreign leaders. They are invited to attend major celebrations, visits conveying regards and appreciation, and commemorative activities.