China is legally a single party state. Under the constitution, the Communist Party is the ruling party and all the other opposition parties are outlawed. They are only offered limited participation in governance as minor parties. These include the Peoples’ Republic of China and Republican state. The ruling party came into power and subscribed to Marxism-Leninism, which made China a communist state. There exist laws and practices that prevent the opposition from getting to power through legal means. China is, therefore, a de facto single party state.
The People's Republic of China officially began its existence in 1949 when Mao Zedong declared its foundation. His new government seized power and took absolute control of the country weakened by prolonged social conflicts and war. During this period, the economy of China was characterized by very high inflation. The economic and political order of the new Chinese government was modeled upon the example of the USSR.
During the 1950s under the control of the communist party, China took massive social and economic reconstruction programs. Mao gained support of the population because of his efforts to curb inflation and restore the economy. Being a single party state the communist party of China became accepted by almost all the people. The relationship between the party and the state was inseparable. The large political loyalty, as well as the military forces ensured that the communist party controlled the state. It was not possible to make a distinction between the government and the party apparatus. The government was acting on directives of the communist party. The party members were usually placed in government leadership positions such as those related to labor, women and other organizations (Przeworskie, 2000).
However, in 1958, Mao Zedong and his communist party decided to break with the Soviet model. He introduced new economic programs that came to be known as the ‘Great Leap Forward’. Initially the program increased agricultural and industrial production. However, it turned out to be disastrous to the state eventually. Market mechanisms and agricultural production were disrupted. A great famine hit the country due to poor planning and bad weather.
It was in the 1960s, when the relationship between Mao and the president of the state Liu Shaoqi took a different twist. The communist party secretary general, Deng Xiaoping and the state president under the directives of the party adopted the pragmatic economic policy. This policy was against Mao Zedong’s revolutionary vision. As the party chairman, he became dissatisfied with this new direction.
In reaction, Mao launched political attacks on the president. This led to the emergence of the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” of 1966. This was the first opposition of the communist party in China’s history. It resulted in social and political anarchy that lasted until the death of Mao Zedong. Mao died in September 1976. His death created a vacuum in Chinese politics and gave room for scramble for his succession. The pragmatic leadership was installed. The leadership emphasized on economic development. Mass political movements were renounced. The economic reform policies expanded the income in rural areas and helped attract foreign investors to China.
The pragmatic positions were put in place in almost all fields. The artists, the journalists, the writers were encouraged to adopt more critical approaches. Similar to the Mao’s regime, this pragmatic leadership did not permit open attacks on political authority. In the 1980s, the Mao Cultural Revolution was finally disbanded (Vogel, 2011).
The pragmatic leadership greatly improved people's lives. The control over literature and arts was also relaxed. It enabled intellectuals to establish links with other scholars from outside the country. However, by 1986 the political atmosphere had loosened leading to a massive student demonstration. The Chinese communist party became authoritarian in structure and ideology.
The party committees are put in place in order to ensure that the state and party policy guidance is followed. They are under the responsibility to ensure that the opposition does not get a chance to create autonomous organizations that can challenge the party authority. The party control is seen in government offices, urban economic and industrial settings among others. However, its control is not very tight in the rural areas where about half of the people live.
It is unlikely that China will adopt a multiparty system in the near future. The government will continue to be subordinate to the communist party of China. The highest party body, which is the Party Congress, dominates the government and is determined to ensure that China remains a single party state.
The Comparison between China, Japan and Britain Political Systems
The comparison between China, Japan and Britain government’s policy-making process has some similarities and differences. The political systems in these three countries are different. A political system is a set of institutions and agencies concerned with the formulation and implementation of a society’s goal.
In China and Britain, their political structures consist of the prime minister and the cabinet. There is exclusion of the heads of agencies and departments who are selected among members of the parliament. In China, the State Council is headed by the premier. The Council consists of ministers and ministerial commissioners. The State Council operates under the supervision of the secretary General of the Communist party.
In Britain, the prime minister and the cabinet make up the political structure. They are responsible of influencing the policy making process with their substantial powers. In both countries, there exist legislative bodies. In China, it is known as the National People’s Congress while in Britain it is called The House of Commons. In both countries members of the legislature debate and vote on any prospective public policy. Therefore, the house of Commons forms a key institution for policy making process.
In China, the Congress is responsible for ratifying decisions that have been made by the communist party authorities. The comparison of these two political systems differs in that Britain has a competitive party system. That is, the majority of the members in the House of Commons and in the cabinet are confronted by members of the opposition party or parties. There is competition for the support of the public opinion.
The major parties in Britain include the Labour party and the Conservative party. In contrast, the Communist party of China is the only party responsible for controlling the whole political process. It is responsible for making major decisions. This leaves the government agencies with the implementation part only (Dreyer 2010).
In Japan, the head of government is the Prime Minister. The parliament is called Diet. The Prime Minister is usually the head of the leading political party. He/she has powers to appoint a cabinet from the party or allies to his party. Cabinet ministers head the various government sectors, which are called ministries. However, ministries or government agencies are under a professional bureaucrat who is the head.
The comparison between the Japanese model and that of Britain reveals some similarities and differences. The Japanese parliamentary system is structured in such a way that the legislature has limited restrictions and the Prime Minister and his cabinet on issues of decision making. However, the Prime Minister must ensure that he has the political support of the majority of members of the Diet. The Diet can cast a “vote of no confidence” on the Prime Minister and his government. This will lead to a change of government by forcing him to resign or call for new elections.
Under this political system, the Prime Minister is responsible for proposing almost all legislations. Therefore, for this specific legislation to be passed, it has to approach a minister or a politician who belongs to the Prime Ministers coalition. Individual members of the Diet cannot propose legislation. They form various committees of the Diet.
The final decision on important issues lies with the Prime Minister, since he is the leader of the ruling coalition. Another difference in Japanese political system is that big companies and businesses have a chance to participate in governance. They form organizations called Keidanren, which usually provide funds for the party campaign. The Prime Minister has to listen to their opinion.
In Japan, there are opposition parties with recognized leader under the constitution. However, the Prime Minister is in control of the majority of the Diet. The opposition provides criticism to the ruling party just like in Britain. The political structure in Japan is unique from that of Britain and China in that there exists a faction leader. He or she is the leader of a group of politicians within the ruling political party opposing the prime minister.
From this analysis, it is logical to conclude that the policy making process in Britain is better functioning than that of China and Japan. The check of balance between the Conservative and the Labor party ensures that good policies govern the country. The Japanese system is also better compared to China. The Chinese single party policy making process usually results into an authoritarian type of rule. The party is responsible for making critical decisions to govern the state and its foreign relations (Dreyer 2010).