I was quite surprised to come across this piece in Xinhua. contrary to common perception the Communist party is not the sole political party in existence in China. There are 8 other parties which are officialy recognised and “allowed” to participate in the political process in China. These 8 parties are called as China’s “Democratic” Parties.
According to an article in the official Chinese news agency Xinhua’s site
“Democratic Parties refer to the eight political parties other than the CPC. They participate in the discussion and management of state affairs.These parties are those established before the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, which were then dedicated to the realization of a bourgeois republic in China and supported the CPC in the latter’s effort of overthrowing the rule of the Kuomintang. They are independent in organization and enjoy political freedom, organizational independence and legal equality under the Constitution.”
So basically like the NPT the Chinese Government recognises only parties that were in existence before 1949. Too bad for the newly founded Chinese Democracy party which is outlawed and considered a rival to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
So what do these 8 recognised parties actually do? What is their role?
According to chinatoday.com
Based on official explanation, China’s democratic parties are neither parties out of office, nor opposition parties. Rather, with CPC they share a policy of “long-term coexistence, mutual supervision, reciprocal sincerity in all dealings and sharing weal and woe” .
In plain language it means they are strictly for decoration purposes only.
Since the founding of PRC, China’s democratic parties have conscientiously taken part in consultations and decision-making regarding important national political issues. Many representatives from the democratic parties have been elected to people’s congresses and CPPCC committees at all levels; many hold leading positions in the standing committees of the people’s economic, cultural, educational, scientific and technological departments
Means they toe the official line and hence are tolerated. All the 8 political parties have negligible membership less than 100,000 each and they are limited to the intellectual class. Compare this to the 60 million membership of the CCP and its pervasive influence in every walk of life in China.
A group of Chinese dissidents have come out with something called the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party to “reveal” its true nature to the people of China and the world at large.