Title: China’s State Structure and the Two Sessions
Author: Ratish Mehta, Research Associate, ORCA.
Date: 15 March 2023
- China’s state structure follows a mechanism that differentiates its legislature, executive and judiciary from one another. The country’s highest legislative body known as the National People’s Congress (NPC), acts as the power centre that keeps the state system intact and supervises both the legislature and the judiciary.
- Popularly considered as a ‘rubber stamp’ in the country’s party-driven approach to governance, the legislative bodies play an important role in facilitating the deliberation process for law-making as well as providing an adequate representative mechanism for those in the minority.
- The State Council of China which is also referred to as the Central People’s Government is the executive body of the state structure and is also the highest state administrative organ that supervises administrative activities and implements the policies of the government.
- Even after having concrete teeth to its decision-making process, the legislative and executive body of China’s state system performs its duties in line with the party-led approach to governance followed in the country’s political system.
Title: Digital Silk Road
Author: Rahul Karan Reddy, Senior Research Associate, ORCA.
Date: 8 February 2023
- The Digital Silk Road (DSR) is part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that finances and supports digital connectivity infrastructure to support China’s technology companies, goods and services.
- The initiative includes the provision of hard infrastructure like cellular networks and soft infrastructure like applications and mobile payment platforms to facilitate China’s trade with developing countries.
- The DSR is also a nexus between the state and tech companies to establish China as the primary supplier of technology goods. The initiative is backed by policy banks and receives political support from the government to penetrate and dominate emerging markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
- The objective is to deepen China’s commercial and geo-economic interests, create favourable norms and standards governing technology, cultivate political leverage with foreign governments and sustain the development of China’s domestic economy and military industrial complex.
- The DSR represents China’s commitment to technological competition with the US, posing several challenges to a rules-based international order, democratic norms and civil liberties.
Title: China’s Going Global Policy: A Prelude to the BRI
Author: Rahul Karan Reddy, Research Associate, ORCA.
Date: 16 January 2023
The “Going Global” (zou xiang shijie) (走向世界) policy was articulated first in 1992 and formalised over the next two decades to liberalise China’s outgoing foreign direct investment (FDI) regime.
The policy enabled Chinese enterprises to establish themselves in markets around the world to secure natural resources, gain access to technology and enhance the competitiveness of export enterprises.
The Going Global policies of the 2000s were driven by a combination of internal and external economic pressures, most notably China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2001. In response to China’s WTO accession commitments that heightened domestic competition, government policies encouraged SOEs and private enterprises to pursue investments in markets around the world.
The policies resulted in the internationalisation of Chinese State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and subsequently private companies that sought new import markets, strategic assets, technology and energy and mineral resources.
The policy has evolved since its inception to include more diverse forms of overseas investment within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Going Global policies generated the momentum necessary for China’s integration into the global economy.
Title: The Mandate of Heaven: Then and Now
Author: Ahana Roy, Junior Researcher & Executive Outreach Head, ORCA.
Date: 1 December 2022
- In China, performance legitimacy has been an integral aspect of Chinese history as well as its politics. This can be traced back to the 11th century BC when the Mandate of Heaven was invoked by the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC) in their justification of overthrowing the previous Shang dynasty (1600–1069 BC).
- According to the Mandate of Heaven, an ancient Chinese political philosophy, there could only be one valid ruler who was believed to have received the approval of an ancient divine force known as ‘Heaven’. This “Son of Heaven” was considered the only ruler of China.
- The Zhou also believed that the only way to retain the mandate was through just governance and efficient performance by the ruler. Since, according to the mandate, no particular ruler has a permanent right to rule, rebellions were justified against tyrannical or incompetent rulers. Natural disasters such as droughts, famines, and events like foreign invasions and internal uprisings also indicated the loss of the Mandate of Heaven by the ruler.
- Post the disastrous 3-year famine (1959-1961) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), China faced a severe legitimacy crisis. Gradually, the revolutionary communist regime paved way for the establishment of an authoritarian system which based its legitimacy on performance (specifically economic) in Chinese society.
- In essence, public perception of the Party needed to be favourable to maintain the social contract between the CPC and the Chinese people —economic prosperity in exchange for Party rule.
- The Party has linked its rule as essential for the survival of its authority and the rise of China. Based on this, it has sought to muffle any discontent with the regime and has exalted Xi Jinping’s position as the harbinger of ‘common prosperity’ in China. This notion of Xi being indispensable to maintaining peace and order within China and navigating through external threats emanates from the Mandate of Heaven.
Title: China’s Social Sector and the Emergence of GONGOs
Author: Ratish Mehta, Research Associate, ORCA.
Date: 1 November 2022
- In China’s communist regime, social organisations exist to serve at the discretion of one party that rules over the state apparatuses in the country. This approach of integrating civil societies within the state’s dynamics is widely known as the state-led approach of social organisations, more generally finding their inception in authoritative regimes and contrary to western perspective of Civil Societies.
- These Government-organised non-governmental organisations (GONGOs), receive a majority of their funding from state-owned enterprises as well as the Chinese state, thus further complicating the distinction between non-state and state actors in China’s political dynamics.
- Many of China’s self-grown GONGOs have also gone global by setting up bases in Africa and South Asia; working primarily in countries with large-scale ongoing infrastructural projects funded by the Chinese entities.
- Party Secretaries and other senior members of important GONGOs are granted membership in the CPC’s Central Committees, signifying the important role GONGOs play in China’s political dynamics.
- China’s GONGOs are a contemporary example of how Beijing views the global future dominated by a form of Chinese statecraft and how it has very little to do with western democratic values, thus, also signifying the Chinese state’s perspective of GONGOs as an essential medium of export to nations that are vital for China’s domestic and international interests.
Title: The National Party Congress and the Central Committee
Author: Siddhant Nair, Junior Research Associate, ORCA.
Date: 8 October 2022
- The National Party Congress (NPC) convenes once every five years to discuss the report of the Central Committee, and approve a new Central Committee.
- Despite the high stature of the Party Congress, it only serves as a platform to publicly announce pre-decided agenda based on informal meetings and sessions such as the Beidaihe meeting.
- The Central Committee is one of the most powerful political organs of the Party, selecting and approving members of the Politburo, the Politburo Standing Committee, and the Central Military Commission.
Title: 1978 Reforms and the Four Modernisations
Author: Ahana Roy, Junior Researcher and Executive Outreach Head , ORCA; Siddhant Nair, Junior Research Associate, ORCA.
Date: 22 September 2022
- 1978 reforms aimed at transitioning a state-run, Chinese economy towards an open market economy, away from state ownership.
- The reforms focused on four modernisations: targets for agriculture, industry, science and technology and defence.
- The reforms enabled China to attract foreign capital, modernise industry, import foreign technological inputs, and access global markets.
Title: China’s Dual Constitution System
Author: Siddhant Nair, Research Associate, ORCA; Ahana Roy, Junior Researcher and Executive Outreach Head , ORCA.
Date: 8 September 2022
- China follows a dual constitution system; the Party Constitution and the State Constitution.
- The State Constitution lays down the law, gives different organs of the government duties, and is the “written” constitution.
- Due to the CCP’s authority and position in Chinese politics, the Party Constitution is more important than the State Constitution.
- The Preamble of the State Constitutions highlights the importance of the Party and its necessity at the top of the political hierarchy.
Title: Made in China 2025
Author: Siddhant Nair, Research Associate, ORCA
Date: 30 August 2022
- Made in China 2025 aims to localize and indigenize high-tech industries, making China a manufacturing superpower by 2049.
- Reduce over-dependence on foreign firms, and increase the competitiveness of domestic firms through state-sponsored investments and funds.
- The West has been critical of China’s “Made in China 2025” as it leads to global market-distorting, stealing intellectual property, poaching talent, and more.
Title: Beidaihe Meeting
Author: Ahana Roy, Junior Researcher & Executive Outreach Head, ORCA
Date: 22 August 2022
- Top CCP leaders and other experts gather at the coastal resort town of Beidaihe under the guise of a summer break, whereas in reality, major political considerations take place in informal settings.
- While President Xi Jinping’s rule has decreased the significance of Beidaihe, it is still a crucial forum for debate and deliberation over key state policies.
- The Beidaihe meetings are shrouded in mystery and it receives little to no official media coverage.