Last night, we read an article called “Six Key Issues for China’s Meetings of the National People’s Congress.” This article concerns the meeting of this National People’s Congress that occured in March of 2017. The author predicted the key topics of the NPC’s meetings: the GDP target, the defense budget, and how China will grapple with the new Donald Trump Era.1 However, this meeting is also a great way for the government to assert its legitimacy, brag about claimed democracy, and set the stage for who will be the future rulers of China.1
I read an article in the New York Times called “Xi Starts New Term in China, With Trusted Deputy to Deal With Trump.” In March of 2018, Xi Jinping was elected president and Wang Qishan as vice president by the NPC.2 Wang will act as a watchman on economic policy and anti corruption, as well as manage ties with the United States.2 Trump is planning to impose trade sanctions and investment restrictions on China. Wang’s success in the election is proof that Jinping hopes to surround himself with his most trusted allies in order to elongate his power.2
How does the election of Wang Qishan reflect representation in China?
In China, members of the NPC are elected by the NPC, which is how government officials are able to hold power for so long. They are direct elections based on the local People’s Congresses in districts, and the larger National People’s Congress that is made up of 2987 members. This means that citizens have little impact on who is elected. The fact that Xi Jinping had an say in who his vice president is makes this election biased. Although this system works very well for China and is well thought of by many citizens, it lacks the procedural qualities needed to define a democracy. This isn’t bad, but it just means that China should be defined as something else.
1 J. Tyler Dickovick, Jonathan Eastwood, “Six Key Issues for China’s Meetings of the National People’s Congress” Current Debates in Comparative Politics (2017).
2 Chris Buckley, “Xi Starts New Term in China, With Trusted Deputy to Deal With Trump” The New York Times (March 16th, 2018). https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/16/world/asia/china-wang-qishan-vice-president.html