The Dinner – Part III – Government or Party?

This is the part III of my dinner last night with mayors, city councils, and executives from city league and NCUCR…

During our talk, we realized when people tried to understand the politics in China, the major problem or source of confusion is about the structure of government, party, and legalization system.

People use the “government” to refer to anything that seems from the “government” – such as the government setup the great firewall, or the government issued this rule. The reality is, there is a distinct difference between the “government” and the “party”. Typically, the people holding government positions also holds party positions, and the two organization share similar people but they are still different.

Manuela analysed the constitution of China – I even really didn’t read it thoroughly yet, and pointed out that 2/3 of the representative in the People’s Congress can change the government head and appoint new people. There are two facts: 1. Do not follow the written rule is the real rule in China. 2. It only mentioned about the government, not party.

To understand this difference is the key to understand the different of government behavior and the differences U.S. and Chinese politics systems, I personally believe so.

4 thoughts on “The Dinner – Part III – Government or Party?

  1. Yeah, I think “mayor” is the word he’s looking for. When I read “major” I think of the military rank. If he wants one word to summarize all those people, “VIP” is the best I can think of.

    My understanding of China governance so far is that the party is the source of power, and the party created the (national) government, which is subordinate to it, to implement its policies. Does that sound accurate so far?

    Now a couple of ignorant questions: What about local governments (provinces, cities, etc.)? Do they derive their power directly from the party, or from the national government? Do national laws trump local laws (as in the US federalist system)? Are there specifically enumerated domains of influence (e.g. taxation, education, commerce, media) that are reserved for one level of government or another? Or is it a free-for-all where any entity can make a law or regulation about anything? I also understand that the different parts of the government don’t always get along with each other, and there’s some amount of in-fighting and power struggles between national and local levels, and different agencies within one level. To what degree do you think that is true?

  2. to my understanding, the party and the government are two parelell systems, and at every level of the government ladder, there is a conresponding party level that has a higher degree of power than the government and controlls the government.

    Almost all the laws and regulations are only applied to the government but not to the party. This explain to a certain degree why the laws are not strickly followed in China, it is because the controlling power, the party, is not required to follow it.

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