The more than 80 million-member Communist Party of China (CPC) continues to dominate government. In periods of relative liberalization, the influence of people and organizations outside the formal party structure has tended to increase, particularly in the economic realm. Under the command economy system, every state owned enterprise was required to have a party committee. The introduction of the market economy means that economic institutions now exist in which the party has limited or no power. Nevertheless, in all governmental institutions in the PRC, the party committees at all levels maintain an important role. Central party control is tightest in central government offices and in urban economic, industrial, and cultural settings; it is considerably looser over government and party organizations in rural areas, where the majority of China's people live. The CPC's most important responsibility comes in the selection and promotion of personnel. They also see that party and state policy guidance is followed and that non-party members do not create autonomous organizations that could challenge party rule. Particularly important are the leading small groups which coordinate activities of different agencies. Although there is a convention that government committees contain at least one non-party member, a party membership is a definite aid in promotion and in being in crucial policy setting meetings. Constitutionally, the party's highest body is the Party Congress, which is supposed to meet at least once every 5 years. Meetings were irregular before the Cultural Revolution but have been periodic since then. The party elects the Central Committee and the primary organs of power are formally parts of the central committee. The primary organs of power in the Communist Party include:
* The General Secretary, which is the highest-ranking official within the Party and usually the Chinese Paramount leader. * The Politburo, consisting of 22 full members (including the members of the Politburo Standing Committee). * The Politburo Standing Committee, which currently consists of nine members. * The Secretariat, the principal administrative mechanism of the CPC, headed by the General Secretary. * The Central Military Commission.
* The Central Discipline Inspection Commission, which is charged with rooting out corruption and malfeasance among party cadres. Government
The primary organs of state power are the National People's Congress (NPC), the President, and the State Council. Members of the State Council include the Premier, a variable number of vice premiers (now four), five state councilors (protocol equal of vice premiers but with narrower portfolios), and 29 ministers and heads of State Council commissions. During the 1980s there...