R41007 – Understanding China’s Political System – 5/10/2012

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Understanding China’s Political System

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Author: Susan V. Lawrence and Michael F. Martin, Specialists in Asian Affairs

Pages: 33

This report is designed to provide Congress with a perspective on the contemporary political system of China, the world’s second largest economic power, one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and the only Communist Party-led authoritarian state in the G-20 grouping of major economies. By introducing some of the distinct features and governance challenges of China’s political culture, the report aims to help Congress understand the ways in which political actors in China interact, or in some cases, fail to interact, with implications for China’s relationship with its neighbors and the world. By introducing some of the leading political institutions and political actors in China, the report aims to help Congress understand where Chinese interlocutors sit within the Chinese political system, gauge their relative influence, and judge the authoritativeness of their statements with respect to official policy. Where appropriate, the report also seeks to highlight ways in which China’s political culture affects official Chinese interactions with the U.S. government.