Chinese Government is Like a Company

Chinese government works completely different from the US government – at least from the organizational perspective. It is more like a company than US government.

US Governments are like Companies

In US, there are so many governments that are like the many companies in the market place. There may be bigger one like Federal Government, or the State Governments, just like the Fortune 500 companies. There are also many smaller one, like city government, or some water supply governments…

These governments does not necessarily reports to each other. They are just like peers.

Chinese Government is like One Company

The Chinese government is one hierarchy. It is like this:

The district head report to city mayor.

The city mayor reports to province head.

Province head reports to central government.

It is maybe one of the largest organization in the world – besides the Chinese army.

All the government officials have an internal “level”. It is just like the level in US companies. People may have different roles, but the level system is consistent across all the Chinese government, including state-owned companies.

That is the reason a government official can often (always) be assigned from the province head of Hubei, and then to the mayor of Shanghai. A mayor’s next role may be the CEO of a state-owned enterprise.

This is something that many people in US does not understand.

21 Comments

  1. The biggest difference is that for the past eight years, the US federal government has been run by ideologues, while the Chinese government has been run by pragmatists who have no ideology.

  2. Dude, the chinese government got ideology what are you talking about?

  3. VAST oversimplification going on here

  4. I have to agree more with Paul, while it sounds like an incredulous statement at first glance, it is very obvious that the Chinese government makes decisions based on two main factors, 1. The general well being, growth, power, stability, etc. of China and 2. Maintaining the power and authority of the ruling government (I’ll let you argue for yourself on which takes precedence over the other). I think one would be hard pressed to find an example where any recent major decisions were made based on some Communist ideology, but maybe one of you who disagrees can provide an example. There are also things that are done with the sole purpose of showing the emerging power of the country (i.e. grand scale of Olympic opening ceremony), but I think that would fall under legitimacizing the rule of #2 above.

    In the US there is far more rhetoric on Democratic ideals etc (i.e. see anything Vice President nominee Palin has ever said) though I don’t believe these are often grounded in fact, but they are the “party line” as it may be, where “spreading democracy” and “giving a voice to the opressed” can be a precursor to many economic and military initiatives.

  5. I think the Government is one big “Family” with the Politburo, Central Committee, etc. as its “Fathers”. Anything critical & embarrassing that happens in the family … stays within the family.

  6. It makes sense. This time maybe we can see some of its advantage during this credit crisis.

  7. and my gut and skull tell me a bankruptcy is on its way…

  8. I am not sure if any of you realize, the “princeling” generation, the sons, daughters, and grandkids of the old revolutionaries are controlling the country. They are really smart, they control the basic infrastructure and natural resources of china, like water resources, power, oil/gas. They are far “smarter” than the high-tech or real estate tycoons. Forget about computers if you cannot even turn on the power. forget about agriculture if you cannot get water. It is like a congolmerate on the outside, but an elitist monopoly inside.

  9. It’s an interesting point here. It’s must be quite difficult for foreigners to try to understand Chinese government system. As I suspect there is such a system. It’s the further away from the line of central government, the vaguer you can see such a system. To the end, it’s just people who decided the governing rule, not the rule that governs the society.

  10. You forgot the most important, each department in chinese government fight to have more power (do not forget that power = money), and try to get less responsibilities (responsabilities = problems)

    It is a big mess, and they often do not inform each other of what is going one.

    Then there is also the army who do what they want (for example normal traffic police can not or do not dare stop the car with military plate)

    Plus they need to manage between the different faction within the party, some support Hu, some support the previous one, etc…

    Chinese government is much more messy that what your explanation of one big company tell us.

  11. You forgot the most important, each department in chinese government fight to have more power (do not forget that power = money), and try to get less responsibilities (responsabilities = problems)

    It is a big mess, and they often do not inform each other of what is going one.

    Then there is also the army who do what they want (for example normal traffic police can not or do not dare stop the car with military plate)

    Plus they need to manage between the different faction within the party, some support Hu, some support the previous one, etc…

    Chinese government is much more messy that what your explanation of one big company tell us.

  12. No comment on this topic, I have to come here for many years ahead, as my wife is chinese and as part of my work involves negotiating with chinese party members who are heads of state owned companies.

    So, I keep my hand out of the ant pile.

    Before I admit to try to affect someone to see the realities going on, but it is totally hopeless when most people in China believes in just everything they are told by the authorities. Point, dot, end, – forget to change anything from inside of China.

    The future changes should come from the people itself. If they do not want it, then stay away from the topic, or just take it easy and shut up, as long it does not affect yourself.

    Just got a 90 days 1-year business visa :-)

    Thank the higher powers that 2008 Beijing is over.

    May this event never happen again in CCP China !

    SO big problems for businessmen.

  13. @George, Everything in this article is oversimiplied of the world – every single article can only tell one thing…

  14. Well in a democratic country, the people has the right to vote for it’s governemnet for a particular term or tenure. It’s supposely that, the citizen also have the freedom of speech. In my country, Malaysia, we have the Central governement and also opposition governement in other province / states. Welcome to Malaysia. We have directflight from Shanghai to Kuala Lumpur by Malaysian Airline System (MAS) or via Hangzhou to Kuala Lumpur by Airasia ( a low cost flight), and explore our country. It’s a multiracial country.

  15. Nice country this place Malaysia.

    Burning churches is a national pastime I hear.

    Politicians get involved in killing of Mongolian.

    And they don’t treat the chinese too good either.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIv85zs9NI4

  16. hello

  17. Big Mac (joey's brother)

    March 17, 2010 at 1:04 am

    balll sucker

  18. fresca

  19. Keanan Thompson

    March 17, 2010 at 1:07 am

    abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

  20. Fuck M

  21. Chinese government works completely different from the US government and public works environment, at least from the organizational perspective. It is more like a company than US government.

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