Communist Party Structure

To outsiders, the Communist Party can be seen as a massive, if confusing and sometimes frightening, body that rules over China. However, just like any other government, the Communist Party is home to many committees, subcommittees, and organizations, each with its own set of goals and internal structures. The following is a very brief layout of the Chinese government body.

The majority of the government is divided into departments, including policy making, security, and foreign affairs. The People’s Daily and Seeking Truth, two publications associated with the party, are also considered departments. These departments answer to the Standing Committee, or the Politburo. These politicians, who number less than a dozen, are the highest ranked in the entire government, and they meet regularly to discuss party policies in a frank and often criticizing way. Consensus is seen as key among the Politburo, and oftentimes votes will be delayed if no consensus is acquired. Discussion rather than voting is seen as the primary objective.

At the same level of the Standing Committee are the military and General Secretary. The General Secretary is involved in numerous government responsibilities, including managing the Secretariat of the Central Committee (a committee who stands when the party is not in session) and Disciplinary Inspections. Both the Central Committee and the the majority of government departments serve for terms of five years. Overseeing all these levels as well as being included in the Politburo meetings is the President, whose term is limited to ten years (or two five-year terms).

Beyond the Beijing structure are countless grassroots and provincial organizations who speak directly to the government departments. It is important to note that, while Chinese citizens can believe in the Communist ideals, they are not considered a member of the party until they have paid a fee and are of age. Many start out in rural regions and join social organizations that are monitored by the central departments of government before rising up the ranks. April 20, 2003. Accessed on 03/23/2017.