From the Magazine
How non-communist parties contribute to the country's development
By Lu Yan  ·  2023-03-13  ·   Source: NO.11 MARCH 16, 2023
Heads of the central committees of the non-communist political parties and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce attend a press conference on the sidelines of the First Session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 5 (XINHUA)

It might be challenging for many people to name China's non-communist political parties and understand the differences between them. On March 5, the heads of the central committees of these parties attended a press conference on the sidelines of the First Session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body. The press conference was an opportunity to introduce how these organizations participate in China's system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

While speaking at the press conference inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Cai Dafeng, Chairperson of the Central Committee of the China Association for Promoting Democracy (CAPD), pledged to raise the party's capacity to deliberate and offer suggestions on state affairs.

Founded in Shanghai in 1945, the CAPD is mainly composed of middle and high-ranking intellectuals engaged in educational and cultural work. Cai spent many years after his graduation in 1985 working in prestigious universities like Tongji and Fudan, before being elected as the party's central committee chairperson in 2017 and reelected in 2022.

At the press conference, Cai called on CAPD members to make studying major policies and principles their primary task in performing duties, improve their methods of investigation and research, further standardize and institutionalize their activities in conducting their work, and apply more information technology in their undertakings.

Apart from the CAPD, other non-communist political parties are the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang, China Democratic League, China National Democratic Construction Association, Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party, China Zhi Gong Party, the Jiu San Society and Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League. Each with unique features and member compositions, they have been exerting efforts together with the CPC to make the country better.

Advisers, helpers and colleagues

For decades, the eight non-communist political parties have played an indispensable role in the country's overall development with their suggestions and supervision.

The China Zhi Gong Party, founded in 1925, is mainly composed of returned overseas Chinese and their relatives, and representatives of people with overseas connections. Jiang Pengju, a member of the party, also Vice Mayor of Changzhou, Jiangsu Province, made suggestions during this year's CPPCC National Committee session about improving China's ability to develop chips for new-energy vehicles (NEVs). "China's NEVs are becoming increasingly competitive on the global market, but our automotive chips are heavily dependent on imports," Jiang told Beijing Review, adding that the country should give more support to companies with advanced technologies. He also supports the establishment of national chip innovation centers in areas with rich scientific and educational resources, as well as a number of new chip-developing companies.

The Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party (CPWDP), founded in August 1930 and with many members working in the fields of medicine and health, has leveraged its advantages in the medical field and provided suggestions and reference documents to inform CPC and government decision-making on COVID-19 prevention and control. Additionally, its more than 60,000 members had made donations related to pandemic prevention and control worth more than 1.2 billion yuan ($172 million) by the end of last year, according to He Wei, Chairperson of the CPWDP Central Committee.

Founded in 1946, the Jiu San Society is composed mainly of over 200,000 intellectuals engaged in science, technology, culture, education, and medical and health work. Among them, 66 are academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Its chairperson Wu Weihua is a botanist and CAS member. He said the party has carried out in-depth research and studies and put forward proposals on China's innovation-driven development and the enhancement of scientific and technological strength.

The Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang (RCCK) conducted research and on-site investigations on the ecological and environmental protection of the Yangtze River, the longest river in both China and Asia and the third longest river in the world. After the Yangtze River Protection Law took effect in March 2021, members of the party have worked with environmental protection officials and company representatives in several cities along the river to monitor their implementation of the law, assist in resolving problems and offer advice. This is part of a five-year national campaign starting in 2021, as part of which each non-communist party pairs with one or two regions to supervise local government work in environmental protection and help them solve the problems they encounter. Hubei Province, located at the middle reaches of the Yangtze, is subject to the RCCK's supervision.

The system at work

Unlike some Western countries, China has no opposition parties. But the country's political party system is not a system of one-party rule, nor is it one in which multiple parties vie for power and govern in turn. It is a multiparty cooperation system in which the CPC is the governing party, and the other parties accept its leadership. The other parties cooperate with the CPC and function as its advisors and assistants. Through various forms of consultation, like holding forums and soliciting suggestions, the CPC consults with the other parties, as well as prominent individuals without any political party affiliation (non-affiliates), on major national and local policies and matters.

Members of the other parties and the non-affiliates can also be deputies to the National People's Congress, the top legislature, and the National Committee of the CPPCC; some of them hold leading posts in state organs. "The system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC will continue and develop long into the future," China's Constitution stipulates.

According to a white paper titled China: Democracy That Works, released by the State Council Information Office in 2021, the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC avoids the drawbacks of the old political party system that stood for only a small number of people and interest groups. "When making decisions and exercising governance, political parties act in their own interests or the interests of the classes, regions and groups they represent, provoking division in society," the white paper said.

Growing from China's soil

The multiparty cooperation system is the result of long-term practice.

Most of the eight non-communist political parties were established during the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the War of Liberation in the 1930s and 1940s. They formed a progressive force which was anti-imperialist and patriotic and demanded democracy.

Founded in 1921, the CPC established and developed close relations of cooperation with the eight parties and joined forces with them to fight for the nation. They jointly launched movements against the Japanese invaders and later fought against the policy of dictatorship adopted, and the civil war instigated, by the Kuomintang regime under Chiang Kai-shek.

While leading the new democratic revolution to victory, the CPC established its core leadership role among the various revolutionary forces. And these parties and non-affiliates chose to follow the leadership of the CPC.

The convention of the First Plenary Session of the CPPCC in September 1949 marked the formal establishment of the multiparty cooperation system under the leadership of the CPC. Since then, the system has been continuously developed, playing a significant role in the nation's political and social life.

"This is a good political system that conforms to both China's national conditions and the people's will," Zheng Jianbang, Chairperson of the Central Committee of the RCCK, said. "Now, more than 70 years later, it's proved that the political party system does have its own unique advantages." 

(Print Edition Title: Toward a Common Goal)

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson

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