After almost one year of campaigning, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has elected its delegates to the 18th National Congress, demonstrating both its understanding of democratic procedure and an optimized lineup with more younger, grassroots-level Party members.
Earlier this week, the CPC published a list of names for the 2,270 delegates for its 18th National Congress, which will be held in the second half of this year.
Improved election measures have shown that the Party does not regard the election as mere routine, but as an important demonstration of intra-Party democracy that will serve as a critical factor in establishing a substantial democracy in a socialist country.
At a press conference on the delegate election, the first of its kind in the Party’s history, the Party’s organization department said earlier this week the measures include a multi-candidate survey on preliminary candidates, expanded loss margins for candidates and the publication of the list of delegates.
Democracy is an indispensable goal for developing political civilization, as there can be no substantial democracy if there is no procedural democracy. Improved intra-Party democracy will help Party members exercise their rights and ensure that they can express their true opinions with their votes.
The Party has devoted itself to institutional innovation so as to adapt to ever-developing situations in and outside the Party. In the past decade, its intra-Party election system has evolved, with top decision-makers creating policies for more democratic elections. The Party’s grassroots units have also implemented new election practices.
“The election of delegates to the Party’s 18th National Congress is a mirror that reflects the degree of democracy in the Party,” said Ye Zhuchu, a professor from the Party school of the CPC Central Committee.
The lineup of delegates has also been optimized through expanded representation. Leaders of rural cooperatives, rural teachers and doctors, ordinary farmers and other delegates from all walks of society can express their opinions through the congress.
About 30.5 percent of the delegates are from the grassroots level, up 2.1 percentage points from the previous congress in 2007. The average age of the delegates is 52, while 64.8 percent of the delegates are under 55. More than 93 percent of the delegates have college degrees.
The change came after the CPC Central Committee asked for more delegates from grassroots units, especially industrial workers, farmers and professionals.
Thanks to rapid social and economic development, the social strata of China’s population has witnessed great changes. Professionals have become one of the major contributors to the market economy. Urbanization has encouraged hundreds of millions farmers to enter cities and become migrant workers, while urban residents outnumber the rural population for the first time in China’s history.
The diversification of the delegates is the CPC’s response to societal changes and represents its commitment to representing the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people.
It also shows that the Party always advances with the times.