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CCP National Party Congress

1st National Congress 1921
2nd National Congress 1922
3rd National Congress 1923
4th National Congress 1925
5th National Congress 1927
6th National Congress 1928
7th National Congress 1945
8th National Congress 1956
9th National Congress 1969
10th National Congress 1973
11th National Congress 1977
12th National Congress 1982
13th National Congress 1987
14th National Congress 1992
15th National Congress 1997
16th National Congress 2002
17th National Congress 2007
18th National Congress 2012
19th National Congress 2017
The National Party Congress is in theory the highest body of the CCP. It should be distinguished from the National People's Congress, China's highest legislative body. After its ascent to power in 1949, the party held no congress until 1956. This was the eighth congress since the party's founding in 1921. The Ninth National Party Congress convened in April 1969, the tenth in August 1973, the eleventh in August 1977, and the twelfth in September 1982.

The National Party Congress reviews reports on party activities since the last session, revises the party constitution, ratifies the party program for a specific period, and elects the Central Committee, which serves as the highest organ of the CCP when the National Party Congress is not in session. The congress has, however, neither the independence to generate legislative bills nor the effective power to check and balance the party and government bureaucracies. Although limited in its role in effect it is a pro forma approval body the National Party Congress performs a useful function as a forum for rising party cadres who represent all regions, ethnic groups, and functional groups. The delegates can observe firsthand the working of the party machine at the national level, gain a better perspective on the direction of political transformation planned by the leadership, and serve as communicators of party policies to the grass roots. Further, delegates can provide the top party leadership a sense of the response and progress made concerning key party programs in their home districts.

  • Central Committee is the highest leading body of the CPC when the National Congress of the Party is not in session. Members and alternate members of the Central Committee must have been the Party members for at least five years. The plenary session of the Central Committee shall be held at least once a year. When the National Congress is not in session, the Central Committee implements the decisions of the National Congress, exercises leadership over all work of the Party and represents the Communist Party of China when dealing in foreign affairs.
  • The Political Bureau of the Central Committee and its Standing Committee are elected by the Plenary Session of the Central Committee. They exercise the functions and powers of the Central Committee when the latter is not in session. The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee is the core of leadership over all the routine work of the Party.
  • The General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee is the highest leading position within the CPC Central Committee. It is elected from members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau by the Plenary Session of the CPC Central Committee. The Party General Secretary is responsible for convening the meetings of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and its Standing Committee, and directs the work of the Secretariat of the Central Committee.
  • Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee is an administrative body of the Political Bureau and its Standing Committee. Its members are nominated by the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau and approved by the Plenary Session of the CPC Central Committee.
  • The Central Military Commission is the highest military leading body of the Party under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee. The commission members are decided by the CPC Central Committee. The Party's organizational system and institutions in the armed forces are decided by the Central Military Commission.
  • The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, as the highest body of the Party for discipline inspection, carries out its work under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee. Its Standing Committee, Secretary and Deputy-Secretary elected at its plenary session must be reported to the CPC Central Committee for approval.

Political power is formally vested in the much smaller CCP Central Committee and the other central organs answerable directly to this committee. The Central Committee is elected by the National Party Congress and is identified by the number of the National Party Congress that elected it. Central Committee meetings are known as plenums (or plenary sessions), and each plenum of a new Central Committee is numbered sequentially. Plenums are to be held at least annually. In addition, there are partial, informal, and enlarged meetings of Central Committee members where often key policies are formulated and then confirmed by a plenum. For example, the "Communique of the Third Plenum of the Eleventh Central Committee" (December 1978), which established the party's commitment to economic modernization, resulted from a month-long working meeting that preceded the Third Plenum.

The Central Committee's large size and infrequent meetings make it necessary for the Central Committee to direct its work through its smaller elite bodies the Political Bureau and the even more select Political Bureau's Standing Committee both of which the Central Committee elects. The Twelfth Central Committee consisted of 210 full members and 138 alternate members. The Political Bureau had twenty-three members and three alternate members. The Standing Committee the innermost circle of power had six members who were placed in the most important party and government posts.

The Communist Party of China is an integral body organized under its program and constitution, on the principles of democratic centralism. Individual Party members are subordinate to the Party organizations, the minority is subordinate to the majority, the lower Party organizations are subordinate to the higher Party organizations, and all the constituent organizations and members of the Party are subordinate to the National Congress and the Central Committee of the Party.

The Party's leading organizations at all levels, except the representative offices sent out by them and the Party organizations in non-CPC organizations, will be produced through election.

The highest leading body of the CPC is the National Congress and the Central Committee it creates. The local Party leading bodies at various levels are the local Party congress at various levels and the committees they create. The Party's committees at various levels are responsible and report their work to the Party's congress at the same level.

The Party's organizations at higher level should often listen to the opinions of their subordinates as well as of Party members and the masses and solve their problems in time. The Party organizations at lower level should not only ask for instructions from and report their work to their superiors but also independently solve the problems within their own jurisdiction.

Primary Party organizations are formed in China's mainland enterprises, rural areas, government departments, schools, scientific research institutes, communities, mass organizations, intermediaries, companies of the People's Liberation Army and other basic units, where there are at least three full Party members.

In primary organizations, primary Party committees and committees of general Party branches or Party branches are set up as the work requires and according to the number of Party members, subject to approval by the higher Party organizations. A primary Party committee is elected by a general membership meeting or a delegate meeting. The committee of a general Party branch or a Party branch is elected by a general membership meeting.

A Primary Party committee is elected for a term of three to five years, while a general Party branch committee or a Party branch committee is elected for a term of two or three years.



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