Changes to a new generation of leadership are often discussed as a result of power transitions.
The standing committee of the Politburo is one of the places where major turnover occurs.
The general secretary/president will step down from their posts at the same time as the leaders of the standing committee, with the exception of one younger member of the standing committee.
The chart shows how this looks from generation to generation.
Between the 15th and 16th Party Congress, Hu Jintao, the new general secretary and president, brings his own inner circle up into the standing committee as a new generation of leaders.
After the 17th Party Congress, most of those leaders remain in place with Hu, but new leaders are brought up as well.
They are being groomed as the successors who become president and premier after the 2012 Party Congress, and a new generation of leaders joins them in the standing committee.
The 19th Party Congress chose loyalists to Xi for the highest posts as a result of his purge of potential opponents from the party leadership.
There is no obvious replacement for Xi as China's leader.
Since the 1980s, China has held elections at the most local level of government in order to improve the legitimacy of the 1982 Constitution and Deng's reforms.
No one would suggest that this shows any kind of commitment to democracy or democratic values.
The Chinese Communist Party reviews all candidates for municipal leadership or the village and township People's Congresses to remove objectionable candidates, and state media often draws attention to the fact that a corrupt local official was "elected" into office, perhaps to undermine the idea of elections in peoples' minds If you are over eighteen, you can vote for your local representatives in Local People's Congresses, who choose representatives for the County People's Congress, who choose the Provincial People's Congress, and the National People's Congress.
There are no elections for national office in China.
Local officials such as village mayors and delegates to the local people's congresses are elected directly by the voters.
China is a one-party state with no competition for leadership at the national level.
Eight other "democratic" parties can exist if they recognize the "leading role" of the CCP as a condition of their existence.
The China Democratic National Construction Association is made up of entrepreneurs from manufacturing and finance and is represented by each of these parties.
The eight parties have a combined membership of half a million people.
They serve mostly in an advisory role to the CCP on behalf of their interest, making them more like a corporatist interest group than a political party.
Interest groups are not allowed to influence the state unless they submit to the authority of the CCP and get recognition through official channels.
The All-China Federation of Trade Unions is the official group representing the interests of factory workers, which is why the Party formed associational groups.
Only the All-China Federation of Trade Unions is allowed to bargain for workers during negotiations.
The monopoly status gives Chinese workers a heavy incentive to join the organization, as opposed to any independent organization without this favored status, and also encourages the organization to support the continued rule of the CCP, or risk its position.
In instances where there are multiple associations representing the same interests, the CCP will usually require them to amalgamate or dismantle some of them in order to prevent competition and make it easier to monitor the group's activities.
China's interest group system can be described as state capitalism.
As civil society continues to grow in China, corporatism and interest group monopolies may conflict with the emergence of independent groups, requiring new reforms either toward pluralism or restricting independent civil society.
There is a mix of state-owned and privately owned media in China.
It is difficult for the Chinese state to control and censor criticism on websites.
From the founding of the People's Republic until 1980, all media, whether print, radio, or television, was state-owned.
State media outlets still hold large market share despite the emergence of independent media outlets since Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms.
Sports, business, entertainment, and celebrity are covered in the media market.
These topics are not subject to regulation or government scrutiny.
There is still intense political censorship over topics considered taboo by the Chinese government, such as questioning the legitimacy of the regime.
The Chinese government used to heavily subsidize state media outlets, but ended this policy in the 1990s, meaning that media in China must fund itself through attracting readers and viewers.
The change in coverage has been profound.
There has been a huge increase in investigative reporting against local Party officials.
It seems as though most media outlets are willing to take the chance in order to secure advertising revenue due to the fact that they are so unafraid of retribution from the Party that they are.
National leaders with connections and political cover are usually portrayed as the "saviors" who need to step in to fix local corruption problems.
The media's calls for civil liberties, rule of law, and other democratic reforms have been growing.
One area of particular concern to the state is the Internet, and the emergence of "micro-blogs" similar to Twitter or other social media messaging that are growing rapidly in use in China.
China is known for its internet censorship.
While an Internet search of "Tiananmen Square" in another country would show a picture of a man standing in front of a column of tanks, the same search in China shows a lot of pictures of smiling tourists.
China's filters and censorship are not very effective since a Chinese person with a bit of tech savvy can get around them.
The emergence of the Internet, text messaging, and microblogs means that anyone in China could be publishing criticism at any time, and the state only has so many resources to pursue problematic information sharing.
The government will often jail or fine journalists who report critically of the Party, or shut down newspapers and websites in hopes that other journalists will self-censor in response, given the difficulty of controlling information in the modern age.
China is a party-state because the Chinese Communist Party is the central institution governing the state, meaning that practices within the Party determine how government works.
China's constitution was drafted in 1982, defining the institutions of the state.
There was a party constitution drafted at the same time that detailed how the leadership of the party would be determined.
The processes explained in the party constitution effectively choose who wields power under the state constitution in a parallel structure, as the two documents are inextricably linked.
The current Party leadership's desires are reflected in the state constitution.
The state structure and the Party structure are shown in the chart.
Members of the Communist Party at each level serve in both military and state institutions at the same time.
The current general secretary of the Communist Party is also the president of the People's Republic of China and the chairman of the Central Military Commission.
The current premier is a member of the Politburo standing committee.
The National People's Congress has almost 3,000 members, who were chosen from the provincial people's congresses, county people's congresses, and local assembly, as well as those elected at the village/township level.
The 13th National People's Congress was the most recent time these delegates met.
They are the top of the power chain in China and have the power to choose the president of the People's Republic of China along with other senior leadership.
They are rubber-stamping decisions already made by senior Party leadership at the Party Congress.
The new president of the People's Republic at the Congress was a surprise to no one.
The decision to make him general secretary of the CCP was made public by senior Party leaders in the standing committee for years prior to the Party Congress.
The delegates voted to reelect the president.
The National People's Congress only gives one candidate for president, and if you stand up against the policies of the Party, you can end your career.
The NPC is too large to function as a real legislature.
The president of the People's Republic of China is chosen by the National People's Congress, but almost always by the senior leaders of the Politburo standing committee.
The five-year term of the president may be renewed by the National People's Congress.
The president used to be limited to two terms, but this limitation was abolished.
The powers of the president are limited and must be approved by the National People's Congress, but Chinese presidents hold three positions at the same time.
The president, general secretary, and chairman of the Central Military Commission make him commander in chief of the armed forces.
The transition and ascension into these three roles is smooth, organized, and predictable, with leaders groomed for years in advance to move into these positions in an orchestrated set of ceremonies.
The president was elected by the National People's Congress and reelected.
The premier is the head of government for the People's Republic.
The appointment requires the confirmation of the National People's Congress at their meeting, and he serves a five-year term, which the president and NPC can renew for one additional term.
The president can theoretically appoint anyone over the age of forty-five to the post, but every premier has concurrently served in the Politburo standing committee, so only powerful senior Party leaders are eligible for the post.
Thirty-five ministers and governors are gathered at the State Council to direct the bureaucracy of the Chinese state.
Li Keqiang is the current premier.
The geographical organization of the Communist Party is mirrored by the Chinese bureaucracy.
Most bureaucrats don't have to be Party members.
Since Deng's reforms, China has placed a greater emphasis on hiring qualified technocrats to manage bureaucratic agencies, such as people with degrees in engineering and water management to work in the Ministry of Water and Conservancy.
Chinese bureaucrats are hired based on merit, but local bureaucrats abuse their office for personal gain.
Bureaucrats are not always competent or well intentioned in the conduct of their jobs.
Bureaucrats in China are known to treat their position of authority as a personal fiefdom for bribe-taking and corrupt deals with local businesses, especially in areas far removed from the major cities and centers of government.
China was ranked 77 out of 180 countries on the corruption perception index.
The Chinese Communist Party cracked down on bureaucratic corruption as it tried to appease the people and maintain its place in power, but the few high-profile corruption convictions (and executions) may have been nothing more than window dressing on a problem too big.
The approach to official corruption has been changed by the administration of Xi, who has pledged to come after both the tigers and the flies.
More than 1.5 million Chinese Communist Party members have been disciplined, with punishments including loss of party membership or offices, prison sentences, and even execution.
Some of China's highest-ranking national leaders, including former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, have been caught up in the campaign.
Since the start of the campaign, China's ranking in the Corruption Perception Index has improved, but many inside and outside of China fear that the real intention of the campaign has been to purge the party of potential opposition to the president.
The People's Liberation Army is a central source of power.
"Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun to justify the necessity of armed struggle against the KMT as the means of achieving the communist vision," Mao told the Party Congress in 1927.
The Central Military Commission is chaired by the general secretary and president of China, but also includes top generals who serve concurrently in the Politburo of the CCP.
There is more evidence of a politically influential military in China than there ever was in the Soviet Union.
It is common in China for at least two top generals to serve in the Politburo, shaping national policy, even though no senior military officials served concurrently in senior Party leadership in the Soviet Union.
Military service is compulsory in China, but there are enough volunteers to meet the military's needs, which has never been required in the People's Republic.
The PLA is the largest military in the world with 2.3 million enlisted soldiers, but this is only 0.18 percent of the population of China.
China's military spending has gone up by about 10 percent a year for the last fifteen years, and it spent $175 billion last year, second only to the United States.
China is projected to have more power in Southeast Asia as its economy and military budget grow.
As China lays claim to territories that have been disputed with Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines, the PLA Navy has increased its presence in the South China Sea.
There is a dispute over the Senkaku Islands.
Tension in the region has been caused by the discovery of oil and other valuable natural resources on the islands.
Chinese ships have been ordering small fishing vessels out of the waters previously unpatrolled, and have even fired warning shots at boats that did not comply.
China's judiciary has four levels of jurisdiction.
The Supreme People's Court in Beijing is the last resort for all appeals in China.
Civil and criminal cases can be heard in local people's courts at the provincial, county, and village/township levels.
The military or water transportation cases are taken by courts of special jurisdiction.
Before returning to China, Hong Kong and Macau had their own separate courts and legal systems, dating back to when they were British and Portuguese colonies.
Since the 1980s, the Chinese legal system has undergone significant reform to accommodate the conversion to a market-based economic system.
Legal protections to criminal suspects are denied by the criminal system.
The Chinese judiciary has undergone a lot of reform in the last few decades.
Globalization has necessitated the creation of an entire legal framework and community of lawyers and judges familiar with Western legal practices in order to settle disputes over points of law that arise in business.
The number of lawyers in China went from under 10,000 in 1980 to over 100,000 in 2000.
The number of lawsuits and legal cases heard by Chinese courts exploded in the same time period.
The independence and sense of justice shown by Chinese judges in civil cases, especially given their history, and the fact that many labor disputes are settled in the workers' favor as opposed to those in the employer's favor, is remarkable.
China has made significant strides in legal reforms to protect intellectual property.
China has a reputation for failing to prosecute violators of intellectual property, such as those who made fakes of expensive brands of handbags, and for hacking Western firms to steal technology.
Globalization and pressures to bring foreign investment into China pushed the government to take steps to address abuses.
Western firms were hesitant to do business in China because their intellectual property was not protected.
The tremendous economic growth of China has meant that there are now many large Chinese firms with valuable brands, patents, and trademarks, and these firms want the Chinese government to protect them.
China does not protect intellectual property at the same level as most advanced Western countries, but it has made meaningful reform on this front.
Reform has never really begun in criminal law.
Justice is hard to come by for criminal suspects.
The courts place the burden of proof on the accused to prove their innocence, rather than the "innocent until proven guilty" axiom of liberal democracies.
Rule of law is frequently abused by authorities in the criminal system.
The law allows judges to issue sentences longer than the law dictates.
Political critics are sometimes charged with white-collar crimes that are difficult to dispute in court.
The architect of the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics is an international artistic icon.
Ai used his artwork to draw attention to the corruption of local authorities who took bribes to overlook shoddy construction techniques, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 5,000 students after schools collapsed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquakes.
The government refused to name any of the earthquake's victims.
Ai was frequently harassed by local authorities, with cameras placed outside of his home and offices, and frequent visits from uniformed officers, who once beat him up in a darkened elevator.
The names of victims were posted on his blog, but it was shut down in 2009.
He was held in jail for 81 days without being charged with a crime.
Civil liberties and rule of law are not protected by the Chinese legal system despite the fact that it is easier to discuss social issues openly in China.
Policymaking in China is trying to balance the ambitions of a large and increasingly powerful state to shape affairs in its favor on the world stage, and the needs of a massive population that is still largely poor and rural.
China's choices will have important consequences for the world going forward.
Since the reforms of Deng Xiaoping brought limited market economics to the country, China has gradually implemented reforms to move closer and closer to full capitalism, while retaining many of the large state-owned companies established during collectivization and industrialization.
The Maoist welfare state was often referred to as the iron rice bowl, an iron-clad guarantee to citizens that the state would provide work, housing, health care, and retirement to every person consistent with Mao's egalitarian vision.
The Great Leap forward failed miserably and this vision was never realized.
Deng reformed collectivized farms with the household responsibility system.
Families would pay the state taxes and contract fees in exchange for working the land, and then the family could use or sell the crops they grow, keeping all of the profits of their sales.
In the Chinese countryside, the system is still in place.
China has not experienced another famine like the Great Leap forward since the reforms, because it is a market economy without private land ownership.
Deng allowed small private enterprises to start up and compete with the large state-owned industries started under Mao.
The private companies in consumer-related industries, such as manufacturing and retail, have been more successful and profitable than their state-owned counterparts, and the Chinese economy is increasingly privately driven.
China created special economic zones in 1979 in order to grow its export market.
Special tax rates were given to manufacturers in these areas.
Foreign firms took advantage of the large, low- wage, disciplined work force in China to expand their presence.
China created many more SEZs after the success of the experiment.
The opening of trade with the outside world has led to a large presence of multinational corporations contracting with Chinese manufacturers to make their products, and demands from Western firms seeking to expand into China have led to many of the reforms detailed in the section on the judiciary.
The Chinese state's complex patron-client network can sometimes be seen as part of the strong state sector of the economy.
China is described as a state capitalist economic system.
The top executives of state-owned companies are paid high salaries and bonuses in order to retain revenue from state-owned companies.
The executives are connected to the leadership structure of the Communist Party.
If it weren't for the large subsidies they receive from the state, many of these companies wouldn't survive in the private market.
The one-child policy was formed due to social, environmental, and economic problems in China during the 1970s.
Only about 36 percent of Chinese were subject to a policy requiring one child only.
The policy placed fines and tax incentives in place to encourage families to limit their size.
The government provided contraceptives to help with compliance.
The policy is part of the urban-rural divide in China, as urban families were more content to comply with the policy since a small family better suited a middle-class lifestyle, while rural families depended on children as part of the necessary agricultural labor to support their family.
The policy has been adjusted to fit the needs of rural Chinese, and minorities are not included in the policy.
There have been demographic consequences in China as a result of this policy.
In 1980, the birth rate was 2.63 births per woman.
The " 4-2-1 problem" is a fear that arises from this trend because it imagines a scenario in which two couples give birth to two children, who marry and give birth to one child.
Depending on retirement savings and working descendants, the oldest generation and the middle generation will age and cease working as time goes on.
The problem could get worse with fewer and fewer adults trying to support a larger group of elderly dependents.
The one-child policy was relaxed in response to this problem in the National People's Congress, allowing families to have two children if one of the parents is an only child.
Most rural families were exempt from the one-child policy and this relaxation affected urban couples.
China raised the limit to two children in 2015.
The one-child family has become embedded in Chinese urban social culture, so some think the policy won't have much effect.
There are visible effects of the one-child limit on gender balance in China, even though the effects of this reform are yet to be seen.
The sex ratio of males to females was over 100 in the last 15 years.
Given that many couples could only have one child, it appears that parents were either deliberately aborting girls once they discovered the gender, committing infanticide after birth, or failing to register the births of girls, perhaps to put them up for an informal adoption outside of the country.
Confucian tradition favors males in many ways, but also may be caused by the weak welfare-state guarantees in China.
The child is the retirement plan for many Chinese couples, as working adults are expected to care for aging parents.
In 2020, it is estimated that there will be thirty million more men than women in China, and early signs of changes in dating and courtship dynamics are already appearing in the culture.
Chinese policy after 1980 focused on economic growth at the expense of everything else.
China is dealing with the consequences of unrestricted development.
It is estimated that 20 percent of Chinese farmland is polluted.
China and the United States combined to emit 50 percent of the global total of greenhouse gasses in 2007, making them the world's top two greenhouse gasses producers.
Air pollution is one of the worst environmental issues in modern China, but it is not something that affects Chinese citizens on a day-to-day basis.
The Asian Development Bank found that seven of the world's ten most air-polluted cities were in China.
Beijing has posted measures as high as 993 for air particulates, which is more than the World Health Organization recommends.
Respiratory problems for Chinese residents may include asthma, bronchitis, and lung cancer.
The Chinese government's initial responses were denialist and defensive.
The Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau continued to proclaim the air as "good" with readings between 51 and 79, compared to the U.S. Embassy's reading of over 500.
China has often responded to demands to reduce CO2 emissions with blunt declarations that the developed world industrialized first, then worried about fixing the environment later, but wants to pull the ladder out from behind themselves before developing countries like China have a chance to catch up.
Over 50,000 reported environmental protests by citizens in 2012 prompted the government to respond, following internal pressure from environmental groups and frustrated residents of air-polluted cities.
Air pollution will be reduced by 25 percent by the end of the year, thanks to the government's investment of 277 billion dollars.
A new law gave government bureaus the power to arrest, fine, and "name and shame" people who exceed their limits.
Environmental groups can report problems without fear of being retaliated against by local officials.
Since 1989, the main Chinese environmental protection law has been revised.
The terms that appear on the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam are tested.