Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Seventh Report


Political Developments within China

267. China's political complexion is of particular importance in the context of the country's economic and military rise, and the PRC's growing presence on the international stage. While the Chinese government describes the political system as "socialist democratic",[393] it is not a democracy that would be recognised by many in Europe or North America. The Chinese Communist Party retains its monopoly of political power, and other political parties are prohibited from contesting its leadership.

268. However, new economic pressures have begun to bear upon the political structure. The evidence we have received during our inquiry has been taken up in particular with the long-term prospects for one party rule, and the implications of political change for China's territorial integrity, internal stability and economic progress.


269. The Chinese Embassy described in evidence the elements of government seen as integral to Chinese 'democracy': "The system of the people's congress, the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC, and the system of regional autonomy for ethnic minorities".[394] The Foreign and Commonwealth Office told us that "Chinese political development has not kept pace with the impressive economic changes in the country", and described a lack of fundamental political rights, Communist Party monopoly on political power, absence of democratic elections and independent political parties and harassment of political activists.[395]

270. Witnesses to our inquiry have questioned the capacity of political institutions in China to adapt to the seismic economic changes in the country. Professor Jude Howell told us that: "Whilst China's economic system has undergone fundamental change over the past quarter of a century, its political institutions […] have varied considerably in their desire for and capacity to adapt and change".[396]

271. Professor Howell told us that the effect of this inflexibility in the face of change has been a crisis of legitimacy in an environment in which the Chinese Communist Party seems increasingly irrelevant to many in China today.[397] In the absence of an effective mobilising state ideology, the government relies increasingly upon nationalist sentiment, economic performance and its capacity to maintain social order as the justifications for its continuing rule.[398]


272. The CCP has gone through various transitions during its half-century in power. Professor Yongnian Zheng told us in evidence that from its days under Mao when workers and peasants made up 83% of Party membership in 1956, the CCP has undergone fundamental change. Under Deng Xiaoping's opening up policy, technocrats began to take up positions within the Party and the representation of workers and peasants dwindled to 64% in 1981 and 48% in 1994.[399] With the marketisation of the economy, entrepreneurs were then absorbed into party ranks, following Jiang Zemin's "Three Represents" speech in 2001, acknowledging the place of capitalists in society.[400] The FCO told us that in 2004, Communist Party membership was 69.6 million, and of the total, 36.7% had joined the Party after 1992.[401]

273. The CCP is not a political party in the Western model. Professor Zheng described its function as similar to that of an imperial power attempting to exercise control over the entirety of the state.[402] Although the Party is nominally separate from state institutions, it has moved in recent years to consolidate its identity with the state.[403] The Party controls political appointments from the centre and in local government, and Party groups within each state organ—the State Council and NPC, for example—drive policy debates and secure consensus.[404] However, Professor Zheng stated in evidence that: "Ideological reliability is slowly giving way to allow more professionalism in the ranks of government officials", and that: "To boost effective governance the CCP […] has begun to loosen its grip on state appointments to give professionals more autonomy in the day-to-day running of the country".[405]


274. The State Council is China's central government. It is presided over by an Executive Board of heads of Ministries, overseen by the Premier, Vice Premiers and State Councillors, and State Council Secretary-General.[406] Nominations to all positions above Vice-Ministerial level (State President, Vice-State President, Premier, Vice-Premiers, State Counsellors) are selected by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CCP then endorsed by the National People's Congress.[407]

275. Professor Zheng told us that the Party has moved to consolidate its close relationship with state offices, by upgrading the role of State President, which before 1993, "was insignificant and was usually filled by a retired revolutionary".[408] Today, Hu Jintao unites the office of the State President with the Chairmanship of the Central Military Commission and the position of the Party Secretary-General.[409] This has also legitimised the Party's command over the military.[410] Professor Zheng sees the Council as increasingly professionalized, and told us that: "The Council has, over the years, become a body of economic and social management by professionals. The posts of Premier, Vice Premier, State Councillor, ministers and vice ministers are now filled by professionals".[411]


276. The National People's Congress (NPC) is China's legislature, and, according to the Constitution, the preeminent organ of state power.[412] With nearly 3,000 indirectly elected delegates, and representation from China's regions, the NPC meets annually to pass legislation, confirm state appointments and vote on reports from government departments. A smaller Standing Committee of 176 members acts for the NPC during the large part of the year in which the plenary is not meeting.

277. In March 2006 the NPC met and endorsed the Government's 11th Five Year Plan, the Premier's Work Report, the plan for economic and social development in 2006, the central budget for 2006, as well as reports of the NPC Standing Committee, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.[413]

278. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office judged that the NPC "is becoming more capable and professional" in its role of scrutinising legislation, but "is subject to control by the Party, and takes no major decisions that do not have Party approval".[414] Professor Zheng told us that "professionalisation has altered the role of the NPC from that of a 'rubber stamp', to one that is capable of overseeing governmental operations", particularly through the use of specialist Committees.[415] Professor Howell has written that: "The National People's Congress has become much more a platform for discussion of issues than in the past", and that delegates have started to use their voting power to express dissatisfaction with the government.[416] Professor Howell has highlighted other procedural innovations including soliciting public opinion on legislative items, holding legislative hearings, and establishing investigative committees on specific questions.[417]

279. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress was the official host for our visit to China in the course of this inquiry. Our programme was organised meticulously and we were well looked after. However, the tactics by which our interlocutors on the NPC chose to seek to dissuade Members of the Committee from visiting Taiwan disappointed us.[418]


280. Local government in China is constructed on several levels from the province and autonomous region, down to the city, county and country levels. Local People's Congresses mirror the role of the National People's Congress and government appointments are made by the Party. Professor Zheng described how the CCP has entrenched its control of local politics through the consolidation of the position of provincial Party Secretary with the Chairmanship of the provincial People's Congress.[419] However, this consolidation of power has also had the effect of bringing the Party leadership face-to-face with local people's representatives such that they "now need to listen to and take the representatives' opinions into consideration before the provincial Party committees can make important decisions".[420]

281. During our visit to China we frequently heard repeated the saying: 'The mountains are high and the Emperor is far away'. This indication of the dislocation between the policies formulated by central government in Beijing and the implementation at a local level was demonstrated in the evidence we took. Professor Howell has written about signs of increasing independence of provincial People's Congresses:

    Provincial NPCs elect candidates nominated by the party for top civil service positions, usually unopposed. There have been occasions when the candidates supported by the party organisations have not been elected, as in the provincial people's congresses of Guizhou, Zhejiang, Hubei and Hainan. Also recently, provincial NPCs—such as in an experiment in Ya'an—are being given functions and a greater say throughout the year, not just at the one meeting each year.[421]

282. At village level, competitive elections were brought in, in the 1980s, as an attempt to improve the quality of leadership and strengthen support for the Party. While village administrations are not officially part of the government, they nonetheless have an important role to play in extending the influence and policies of the centre down to grassroots level. Professor Howell has written that this strategy was a survival technique by which the Party hoped to escape criticism: "By encouraging young, popular and competent candidates to stand for election, it was hoped that villagers would vote to oust corrupt, unpopular and incompetent leaders, who brought the party into disrepute".[422] Although this reform has brought in greater transparency and accountability, and in some cases led to elections for village party branch leaders, and to the experimental extension of the idea to township level, the Party has resisted any upward extension of elections as a principle of selection of officials.[423]


283. The CCP has shown strong resistance to sharing the political space with competing actors, and places great store by bringing different political voices under the umbrella of the state and Party. The evolution of the membership of the CCP, and the "remarkable policy turnaround" of accepting entrepreneurs into the Party in 2001, can be seen in this light.[424]

284. The central organ for participation in the state is the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which is an advisory body to the government. The CPPCC meets once a year at the same time as the NPC and membership comprises CCP, "other political parties, mass organizations, different ethnic groups and representative public personages from all walks of life, representatives of compatriots of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao as well as of returned overseas Chinese and other specially invited people".[425] The FCO told us that the CPPCC "has no real power".[426]

285. Social organisations also perform mediatory roles between the government and population. However, Professor Howell stated in evidence that Party organisations such as the All-China Women's Federation, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions and the Communist Youth League "have struggled hard to adapt to the changing needs of their constituencies and have varied in their degree to innovate, restructure and adapt".[427]

286. In the vacuum created by the lack of state organisations to serve social needs, there has been an expansion in the number of more 'independent' organisations. The Party has characteristically extended its influence over 'NGOs', which have a rather different flavour in China from in the West, and established 'Government-Organised Non-Governmental Organisations' (GONGOs). The number of registered national NGOs in China has grown from around 100 in 1978, to 1,736 in 2003. Numbers of local-level social organisations reached 142,121, and private non-enterprise units 124,491.[428]

287. Professor Zheng described these organisations as performing tasks for government in various spheres, including as trade associations and chambers of commerce, and providers of 'state' services such as social welfare.[429] Chinese NGOs are, not in this sense, independent voices or lobbyists in the way in which civil society functions in Western societies. Indeed, "these NGOs are far from autonomous [and] have to toe the line of the Chinese government in order to remain relevant and effective".[430] As Professor Howell told us, "the Party […] fears that yielding more space to non-governmental actors might rebound and undermine its power and authority".[431] Human Rights Watch stated that:

    China is deathly afraid of independent political activity. They are afraid of 'colour revolutions'. They are very conscious of it. It is a term that they are bandying about. They do not want that to happen […] any independent activity is now getting more scrutiny than it was before.[432]

288. Despite these provisos, however, in some areas, private organisations may influence and participate in the political space, particularly in the economic sphere and on less controversial policy areas such as poverty reduction and the environment. On issues such as human rights, religion, ethnicity, and rights of farmers and workers, on the other hand, "the influence of NGOs is virtually absent".[433] Moreover, Professor Howell stated that the "restrictive regulatory framework governing social organisations continues to be a key barrier to the flourishing of this realm of non-governmental organisation".[434]

289. The British Council is actively engaged in civil society projects, although they told us in evidence that "the overt development of an independent NGO sector remains anathema to many of China's leaders".[435] The Council therefore adopt a more subtle approach:

    In its own project work in these fields, the British Council works with reform-minded agencies and individuals, in sensitive areas where our help and partnership is trusted and welcomed […] we have identified common ground under the heading of 'social innovation': creative and scaleable innovations at grass roots level by citizens and groups of citizens acting on their own initiative within the law […] Our partnership with the China Centre for Politics and Economy (a Party think tank) and the UK's Young Foundation is focused on the processes of developing positive models of social innovations including the role of non government organisations.[436]

290. The Foreign Secretary told us that:

    it is in everybody's interests, including in China's interests, for that economic development and growth to be matched by a growth of participation and activity in civil society […] there are two things we can do. One is to make that basic case to our Chinese colleagues that this kind of development is something which is really bound to come with their economic development and which can be beneficial, and also of course to offer people opportunities and experience. We have got this huge number of students from China, as from elsewhere in East Asia, coming to the United Kingdom and here too they will experience some of that, and no doubt learn from our mistakes as well as what we hope are our successes.[437]

291. We recommend that the Government continue to make the case to their Chinese counterparts that a vibrant civil society can offer benefits to both government and people, and should be encouraged, in the interests of involving more of the population in systems of governance and advocacy. We further recommend that British Council resources for projects in this area be enhanced.


292. The media in the West perform an important role in the political sphere, contesting the authority devolved to government and mediating between different interests within society. In China, however, the media are restricted in their ability to perform those functions. In 2005, China was rated 159th out of 167 countries in Reporters sans Frontières' World Press Freedom Index.[438] It was recently reported that a Law on Response to Contingencies is planned, which will fine journalists for publishing reports about disasters and public disorder without government approval.[439]

293. The BBC World Service told us in evidence that China's media market is "highly developed", "has the largest number of media users in the world" with "a wide choice across all media platforms".[440] The World Service also said that:

    The opening-up of the industry has extended to distribution and advertising, but not to editorial content. The government exercises a tight control over all media and news content is subject to stringent censorship, although freedom is said to be growing in areas such as sport, entertainment and business news.[441]

294. Although the press report on corruption and inefficiency among officials, they "as a whole avoid criticism of the Communist Party's monopoly on power".[442] However, the Great Britain China Centre and China Media Centre stated that, whereas in the past, the media had been "the throat and tongue of the Party", now "there are public debates and discussions of issues" and: "Investigative journalists […] expose corruption, abuse of power, exploitation and expropriation".[443] This kind of journalism acts "as a kind of inspectorate and censorate, identifying abuses and highlighting problems".[444]

295. The FCO supports several projects designed to encourage the development of the media in China. Under the Global Opportunities Fund, a project to train journalists in reporting human rights issues has been granted £64,414 for financial year 2006-07.[445] The BBC World Service told us in evidence that, through the BBC World Service Trust, projects were being funded to build capacity within the Chinese broadcast media for covering disability issues and marginalised groups, and to "extend the boundaries of Chinese media coverage of human rights and democratisation issues whilst working to increase official tolerance towards greater freedom of expression in the Chinese media".[446] The Foreign Secretary told us:

    We are of course committed to a media being able to operate without artificial restrictions […] What we seek to do through [the human rights dialogue and projects] is indeed to convey the notion of the role […] that a responsible media can play which can indeed be beneficial in terms of exposing and exploring areas where things have gone wrong […] and there can be a benefit in having a media which is able to explore some of these issues—benefits to government as well as to society as a whole.[447]

296. When we were in China we heard from various sources about the restrictions placed by the Chinese government on foreign journalists. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishes a detailed set of regulations covering the activities of foreign journalists, requiring journalists to register their presence in the country and make applications to interview government figures and cover state events. Article 14 of the Regulations Concerning Foreign Journalists and Permanent Offices of Foreign News Agencies states:

    […] Foreign journalists and permanent offices of foreign news agencies shall observe journalistic ethics and shall not distort facts, fabricate rumors or carry out news coverage by foul means. Foreign journalists and permanent offices of foreign news agencies shall not engage in activities which are incompatible with their status or tasks, or which endanger China's national security, unity or community and public interests.[448]

297. We conclude that the development of China's independent media is crucial to the evolution of a more pluralistic society in the PRC. We recommend that the Government continue to sponsor projects improving the skills of journalists in China. We further conclude that the Regulations Concerning Foreign Journalists and Permanent Offices of Foreign News Agencies are not acceptable in a modern state, particularly in a state that will be hosting the Olympic Games in 2008. We recommend that the Government ask the Chinese Government to revoke the Regulations before the Games take place.


298. In October 2005 the Chinese Government published a White Paper entitled "Building of Political Democracy in China".[449] Despite the title, the paper gave little sign that the Party leadership has any intention of moving towards political pluralism. The paper states: "The leadership of CPC is a fundamental guarantee for the Chinese people to be masters in managing the affairs of their own country" and: "We are against the anarchic call for 'democracy for all', and against anybody placing his own will above that of the collective".[450] However, during our inquiry, we heard that beneath the level of the political elite, changes are taking place which raise the possibility of movement in the long term.

Economic disparities

299. Various arguments have been made to us about the possibility of political change or collapse in China, prompted by the rapid and profound economic upheaval. The movement towards a market economy, and the growth which has been released, has altered social structures, and has created inequalities and disparities between different sectors of society. Professor Howell stated in evidence that "[t]he fundamental restructuring of the economy, coupled with rapid growth, has brought about significant changes in the structure of Chinese society, in the distribution of wealth, in values, attitudes, and expectations".[451]

300. In summary, these changes have included a growth in the population of rural migrants in urban areas, particularly where farmers have been forced from their land by urban expansion; a new class of unemployed workers released by the closure of state-owned enterprises; the collapse of the social welfare system; an emerging middle class of entrepreneurs, managers and technicians; and strong income disparities between rural and urban areas and between different regions, particularly the eastern coast and undeveloped west of China. The World Bank, and the UN's China Human Development Report 2005 have indicated that China "has become one of the most unequal societies in the world with a wealth gap that is potentially destabilising".[452] More than half of China's population lives outside the booming eastern coastal areas and, although overall incomes have risen, so too have demands on that income, with the failure of state-provided services.[453]

301. The economic turmoil appears to have led to a rise in social unrest. Over the past few years officially reported incidents of unrest have risen dramatically, from 58,000 incidents in 2003, to 74,000 in 2004 and 87,000 in 2005.[454] The volume of letters, complaint and petitions received by courts has risen "almost 500 times" over the last twenty years.[455] The social profile of protesters includes:

    Pensioners who have not received their pensions, former state enterprise workers who have been laid-off, migrant workers who have not been paid their wages or been subject to abusive managerial practices, farmers who have not been adequately compensated for their land, urban-dwellers whose houses have been demolished to make way for new roads and office-blocks.[456]

302. The Chinese government is well aware of the economic disparities and the potential for social problems flowing from them. Elizabeth Croll, Professor of Chinese Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, drew our attention to "several frank and official admissions that so far reforms remain superficial, tentative and flawed and that perhaps the very process of reform itself has never been more complex or difficult than at the present time".[457] Professor Croll told us that "[t]here is no doubt that China's present leaders, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, are committed to improving the lot of the rural poor, the urban unemployed and the well-being of migrant workers", although there are apparent splits within the wider leadership on the best way to increase the benefits of economic growth.[458] The government has made commitments to reducing income inequalities between urban and rural populations, creating jobs for China's abundant labour force and increasing training opportunities for the unemployed, as well as seeking to address shortfalls in the welfare system and stabilise the rising costs of public services.[459] These initiatives have had uneven success.

Liberalisation and Prosperity

303. It has also been argued that those in the increasingly prosperous section of society, as well as those in the disadvantaged groups, may become a source of dissent. Steve Tsang told us:

    If the Chinese economy should turn out to be a real miracle […] it will result in a dramatic expansion of the middle class in the coming two to three decades […] once they have a taste of middle class life-style, most will find the Communist authoritarian system stifling, repressive and intolerable […] When sufficient momentum has been gathered for political reform, the Communist regime will either have to face down such a challenge by repression or reform itself drastically.[460]

304. However, Professor Croll has down-played the significance of this emergent middle class, stating that:

    A study of China's social classes published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences suggests that the middle class is still small—only 15% of the population—and that this thin wafer of a middle class, sandwiched between the few with higher incomes and the very large numbers of lower-income groups, did not warrant the journalistic hype that surrounds the size, income and expectations of China's middle classes.[461]

Moreover, Professor Zheng told us that the emergent middle class had an interest in maintaining the status quo, and that: "As in the case of Singapore, having a middle class does not necessarily mean Western-style democracy"—"this middle class also needs protection from the communist state and its power, because the majority of Chinese people are still farmers and workers. The new rich actually need the authoritarian state to protect their interests".[462]

Elite Politics

305. Arguments for change have, apparently, been made at elite political levels. In April, the minutes of a closed-door meeting of advisers to the State Council, the China Society of Economic Reform, were illicitly posted on an internet site. The minutes revealed divisions between these high-level advisers. Most controversy was caused by comments made at the meeting by Beijing University Law Professor He Weifang, who is quoted as saying that he hoped for the formation of factions within the CCP, the nationalisation of the army, and the rationalisation of Party relations with state organs and judiciary. He also stated that: "We all have our objective. This objective cannot in fact be mentioned right now but will be a path we will follow in future, such as multi-party system and freedom of the press".[463]

306. Professor Zheng told us that the government has established a "constitutional reform consultant committee" to talk about how the NPC and other organizations "can have more elements for political participation, interest representation, and so on".[464] However, Professor Foot stated in evidence that: "The Chinese Communist Party has ruled China since 1949 and it has no intention of giving that up".[465]

Party Legitimacy

307. Social and economic change have also, we heard in evidence, led to questioning of the Party's legitimacy as ruling power. Professor Foot told us that in the past, the CCP derived its legitimacy from having ejected from the country imperialist foreign powers, and from the discourse of Marxism-Leninism. Now that China has entered the capitalist world, the Party relies upon its capacity to deliver economic growth and ensure the stability of the country, to justify its continued rule, and the unifying force of nationalism.[466] Steve Tsang told us that, in the event that the Chinese economy slows down, the Party will face challenge, leading him to judge that: "the Communist regime and the Chinese economic juggernaut are in reality brittle in nature. When all is well they look hard and strong but they can disintegrate quickly with little warning should their key weak points be hit hard simultaneously".[467]

308. Party legitimacy is also threatened by corruption within government. Professor Croll stated in evidence that:

    It is widely recognised that officials, personally and frequently, have benefited from the closures of state factories, property development schemes and any number of loans and bribes both in major cases which grab media headlines as well as in small-scale and local practices which require extra payments for permits, access to services, funds and jobs.[468]

The degree of awareness within the Party of this problem is illustrated by actions it has taken to diminish the scale of abuses: in 2005, 115,000 Chinese Communist Party members were punished for bribery and other offences.[469] China's National Audit Office has been strengthened and produces annual audits across government widely publicised in the media.[470] Other actions, including the competitive election of village administrations, have been made to seek to eradicate this problem at the local level. However, in the absence of independent scrutiny of government, this may not be adequate to address the problem. Professor Howell told us that "[t]he opportunities for corruption created by government involvement in business contracts, coupled with tight controls over the media and the limited spaces for public monitoring, continue to thwart the Party's attempts to clean up their act".[471]

309. On the other hand, Professor Zheng told us that the Party's success in stifling the development of strong state institutions and administration means that the Party has made itself indispensable to China's continuing economic modernisation and development, as "without the party and its apparatus, the state administration is incapable of moving ahead with anything at all, much less its reformist agenda".[472]


310. None of our witnesses, or the interlocutors we met during our visit to China, predicted the imminent demise of the Chinese Communist Party, or the collapse of the state. Professor Croll judged that although social unrest was likely to continue to rise, "it seems unlikely, barring some major incident such as a run on any of China's banks jeopardising savings, that these local and small-scale incidents will lead to demonstrations of such magnitude that they could cripple or topple China's government".[473] Mitigating factors against political or social revolution are, in Professor Croll's judgement, the "genuine appreciation of the overall rise in incomes, living standards and greater freedom of expression resulting from economic reform and growth", the continuing resonance of the chaotic years of the Cultural Revolution and the fear of return to social instability, and "widespread support for China's political system" with criticism focussed on questions of good governance rather than a change of system of government.[474]

311. As Professor Croll pointed out, "[a] few years ago, as reports of numbers of labour-related demonstrations and unrest increased, Western press observers forecast that such incidents would multiply and eventually bring down the government".[475] This failed to happen, largely because localised protests have not coalesced into national movements; the government "has shown some sympathy with and tolerance of such incidents", and disadvantaged and dissenting groups are not organised.[476] Where long-running disputes of a political nature have emerged, in the unquiet ethnic regions of Xinjiang and Tibet or in the form of social movements such as Falun Gong and political movements such as the Democracy Party in the late 1990s, repression appears to have been successful.

312. Many of those we have talked to throughout our inquiry were cautiously optimistic about China's future political trajectory, seeing gradual movement towards a more politically liberal state as an inevitable corollary of economic change and openness to other countries. Professor Howell stated that China "is likely to liberalise politically, not least because with the internet, opportunities for travel, the return of internationally trained graduates, and the increasing exposure of China to the world, the demand for a more open regime will become harder to resist".[477] Lord Powell told us that economic imperatives were likely to lead to liberalisation: "can you ever have a properly functioning, really successful economy without much greater freedom than exists in China today? My answer is: no, you cannot".[478]

313. However, cautious development will not necessarily lead to liberal Western democracy. Professor Zheng told us that: "The problem for China's democratisation is not whether China will be democratic but whether you can have a so-called liberal democracy, a Western type of liberal democracy, under a one-party system".[479] "Some sort of democracy" could be introduced, without the CCP giving up power.[480] As Amnesty told us: "There are examples of authoritarian regimes, even one-party or military authoritarian regimes, able to make that gradual transition".[481] However, Amnesty was negative about the Chinese government's willingness to take that path:

    for that to be possible the Chinese Government will have to take much more serious steps towards political reform. Unfortunately, they have not taken those steps towards political reform. We think of China as having just started its reforms and we give it a lot of slack […] but in two years' time it will be 30 years since China started its reforms. It is far overdue.[482]

393   Ev 158 Back

394   Ev 158 Back

395   Ev 114 Back

396   Ev 21-2 Back

397   Ev 22 Back

398   Ev 22 Back

399   Ev 27 Back

400   Ev 28 Back

401   Ev 126 Back

402   Ev 25 Back

403   Ev 26 Back

404   Ev 28 Back

405   Ev 27 Back

406   Ev 126 [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] Back

407   Ev 26 [Yongnian Zheng] Back

408   Ev 27 Back

409   Ev 27 Back

410   Ev 27 Back

411   Ev 27 Back

412   Article 57 of the Constitution of the PRC states that "The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China is the highest organ of state power". Available at Back

413   "China's Parliament endorses major economic policy changes", Xinhua, 14 March 2006, Back

414   Ev 126 Back

415   Ev 27 Back

416   Jude Howell, "Governance: the challenges", in China and Britain: the potential impact of China's development, Smith Institute, 2005, p 104 Back

417   Ibid Back

418   See above, para 178 Back

419   Ev 28 Back

420   Ev 28 Back

421   Jude Howell, "Governance: the challenges", in China and Britain: the potential impact of China's development, Smith Institute, 2005, p 104 Back

422   Ibid, p 101 Back

423   Ibid, p. 102 Back

424   Ev 28 Back

425   "The Nature of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)", China Internet Information Center,  Back

426   Ev 126 Back

427   Ev 23 Back

428   Ev 28 [Yongnian Zheng] Back

429   Ev 28 Back

430   Ev 28 Back

431   Ev 24 Back

432   Q 95 Back

433   Ev 28 [Yongnian Zheng] Back

434   Ev 23 Back

435   Ev 310 Back

436   Ev 310 Back

437   Q 248 Back

438   Available at; See below, paras 340-343 for a discussion of freedom of expression. Back

439   "China to ban news reports of major disasters", The Independent, 5 July 2006 Back

440   Ev 215 Back

441   Ev 215 Back

442   Ev 216 Back

443   Ev 235 Back

444   Ev 235 Back

445   Ev 149 Back

446   Ev 220 Back

447   Q 257 Back

448   International Press Centre, Handbook for Foreign Journalists in China, July 2005, p 65 Back

449   State Council Information Office, Building of Political Democracy in China, October 2005 Back

450   Ibid, Chapter I Back

451   Ev 21 Back

452   Ev 250 [Elizabeth Croll] Back

453   Ev 251 [Elizabeth Croll] Back

454   Ev 257 [Elizabeth Croll] Back

455   Ev 22 [Jude Howell] Back

456   Ev 22 [Jude Howell] Back

457   Ev 254 Back

458   Ev 256 Back

459   Ev 257 Back

460   Ev 180 Back

461   Elizabeth Croll, "Consumption and social stability", in China and Britain: the potential impact of China's development, Smith Institute, 2005, p 75 Back

462   Q 77 Back

463   "Chinese scholar's multi-party proposal sparks condemnation by leftists", BBC Monitoring, 10 April 2006 (Original Source: "Beijing University professor's multi-party remarks trigger debate, minutes of closed-door economic meeting come to light", Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao website, 9 April 2006) Back

464   Q 77 Back

465   Ev 205 Back

466   Ev 205 Back

467   Ev 180 Back

468   Ev 254 Back

469   Ev 23 [Jude Howell] Back

470   Ev 256 [Elizabeth Croll] Back

471   Ev 23 Back

472   Ev 26 Back

473   Ev 257 Back

474   Ev 258 Back

475   Ev 251 Back

476   Ev 251 Back

477   Ev 25 Back

478   Q 117 Back

479   Q 77 Back

480   Q 77 Back

481   Q 95 Back

482   Q 95 Back

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Prepared 13 August 2006