The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has opened today!
Calvin and I have the precious opportunity to conduct interviews. As this will be Calvin's first time reporting on a Party Congress, he has lots of questions.
For example, he noticed that there are 2,287 delegates in all (after examination, qualifications of 2,280 were confirmed valid), elected from the 89 million Party members in the country. How are these delegates elected?
Good question. Let's do some research together.
The 2,287 delegates (after examination, qualifications of 2,280 were confirmed valid) are elected from 40 election units nationwide, including the 31 provincial-level administrative regions, and key organizations such as central State-owned enterprises, central financial organizations, and central government departments.
Round 1: The Party members of an election unit discuss nominees and put forward the names of preliminary candidates for further review.
Round 2: Background checks are carried out on these candidates.
Round 3: The names of those candidates that pass a background check will be published to solicit public opinions. If no issues are found, they proceed a preliminary vote by the election units to form a candidate list.
Round 4: A majority vote then decides who will become a delegate.
Finally, those elected by their units need the approval of the credential committee of the 19th Party Congress in order to formally become a delegate.
All the procedures are rather strict. For example, in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, the local Party disciplinary watchdog investigates whether any candidate has ever violated disciplines, the tax office checks their tax records, while urban management officers will investigate if there is any illegal construction on their property.
The central leadership has emphasized that delegates to the 19th Party Congress must be outstanding Party members.
Adhere to Party discipline.
Have high moral standards.
Firmly follow the central Party leadership with Xi Jinping as the core.
Then Calvin asks: The election units rank quite high in the administrative system. So how are the election rights of ordinary Party members ensured?
The central leadership has taken this into consideration. To make sure the representatives are truly "representative", the central leadership has emphasized that ordinary workers and employees should account for at least one-third of all delegates in provincial-level administrative regions, the central financial system and central SOEs.
The election units have rendered many efforts towards protecting ordinary Party members' rights.
In Inner Mongolia autonomous region, for example, the regional Party committee had taken various measures to reach all the 85,937 Party organizations under its governance. A total of 1,572,797 Party members, or 99.63 percent of that of the whole region, have participated in recommending their favored preliminary candidates.
Of all the 2,280 delegates of the 19th Party Congress, 33.8 percent are ordinary Party members who work in primary-level organizations. Besides, 24.2 percent of all the delegates are females, while 11.5 percent are from minority ethnic groups.
The central leadership has also required that special attention be paid to manual workers, farmers and technicians, as well as those who have helped with the country's reform and development, technological innovation and poverty alleviation programs.
Deng Yingxiang from Guizhou province is one such delegate. Her home village of Mahuai in Luodian county is in a deep valley that used to be inaccessible by road.
For two years starting in 1999, Deng led a team of villagers who dug a 200-meter track across the mountains using nothing but hammers and pickaxes.
In 2011, she again spearheaded a project to widen the track enough for trucks to use. She was elected head of the village in 2013.