Ren Zegang


An article released by the official Xinhua News Agency in 26 October has attracted wide attention for its revelation of how the candidates was nominated for the top jobs of the Chinese Communist Party and government.

Since beginning of 2017, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the party, had focused his attention high on modification of the system for the nomination of candidates for the top positions which were to be officially approved in the 19’s National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) which was held 18-24 October.

These positions include members of Political Bureau of Central Committee (CPC),  its Standing Committee, Secretariat of the Party Central Committee, Central Military Commission, State Council, National People’s Congress and People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Having thoroughly thought through and repeatedly consulted this issue with his colleagues at the top level, Xi reached to a conclusion that interview and inspection should be used to nominate and evaluate the candidates. In February 2017, the Standing Committee of Political Bureau of CPC had a special session and a decision was made to form a taskforce for this task. Being the head of this taskforce Xi firmly took this issues under his control.

Between later April and June, Xi Jinping had 57 interviews with current and retired leaders of the party and government and members of the Central Military Commission.

In accordance with the arrangement of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau, the other top leaders had 258 interviews with high rank officials of provincial level, commanders of military districts and members of 18’s Central Committee of CPC. The vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission had 32 interviews with senior military officers.

The extensive use of interview for the nomination of the candidates for top jobs in the 19’s party congress made it significantly in different from the nomination process in the 17’s and 18’s party congresses, which had a voting procedure involved by the congress delegates.

Though the Xinhua article did not explain explicitly how much weight the voting was carrying in the nomination process then, it clearly pointed out some of its flaws.

The Xinhua article said some delegates were not very serious about the voting and often personal connections and affections were inappropriately involved. It also emphasised that the disgraced party top leaders Zhong Yongkong, Sun Zhengcai, and Ling Jihua all attempted to canvass the vote for their factional activities and conspiracy for the top positions.

The Xinhua article cited that in order to prevent such situation from happening again and select the best candidates, the taskforce under the leadership of Xi Jinping had set the standard of qualification for the candidates very high.

Politically those can not firmly keep inline with the central leadership in political principles and do not willingly and vigorously safeguard the authority of the central leadership will be eliminated.

Those who are unwilling to make tough political decisions but do things in both ways will be eliminated.

Those that are questionable in maintaining a clean statue will be thoroughly investigated and anyone approved of corruptive activities will be eliminated.

In order to carry out a thorough and fair assessment, the inspection team will look into every expects of the candidates including their files, personal reports, opining of party discipline departments and public tip-offs. The Xinhua article said such thorough evaluation not only accesses the performance of candidates in their official capacity but also their daily life and characters.

In average the taskforce conducted 1500 interviews per provinces (combined mainland China has 30 provinces and administration districts of provincial level). Obviously the number of people participated in the interviews is much larger than the number of delegates to the party congress.

The Xinhua article concludes that the replacement of voting with extensive interviews for the nomination should not interpreted as a setback to the democracy within the CPC. On the contrary it is an effective way in pursuit of the real meaning of the democracy.

During the interviews and inspections, some corruptive officials had been revealed while some candidates that have the guts in dealing with tough issues had been praised and promoted. For instance, one provincial official was criticised for being too  simple and crude in his performance; however, after comprehensive investigation it was found that this official was able to close more than 1100 unacceptable factories and workshops that had emitted heavily of pollutants. In this process he was inevitably opposed by interest groups. The Xinhua article commented that such good candidate which is liked by ordinary people might not survive the voting process.