The Legislation and Implementation of Multiparty Cooperation as a Chinese Constitutional System in the Reformed Era: Towards Consultative Authoritarianism

在中國改革進程中制定和實施作爲憲法制度的多黨合作 : 邁向諮詢性威權主義

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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  • Wei LIN

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Awarding Institution
Award date5 Sep 2018


This dissertation explores why the CCP added a clause for multiparty cooperation into the Constitution but applied the Party documents and the United Front strategies, instead of the state law, i.e. the Law on the Political Parties, to bring the constitutional clause of multiparty cooperation into effect. It also investigates what influence such a practice has produced in the political system with regard to the cooperative relationship between the CCP and eight minor parties and groups (known in China as “democratic parties and groups”, hereafter “DPGs”).

It provides a comprehensive analysis of why multiparty cooperation could be addressed by an amendment to the Chinese constitutional preamble, what the normative connotation of the constitutional clauses for multiparty cooperation is, how the Communist Party of China (the CCP) has implemented the constitutional clauses for multiparty cooperation in reality, as well as how the DPGs have reacted to the CCP’s implementation of the heterogeneous norms for multiparty cooperation.

This dissertation suggests that the CCP responded to the longstanding DPG demand for the constitutionalizion of multiparty cooperation because it needed the assistance of the DPGs to develop the economy and consolidate the legitimacy of the regime, despite realizing the possible threat from the DPGs in maintaining its hegemony. Therefore, after the system for multiparty cooperation was written into the Constitution in 1993, the CCP fulfilled its promise to institutionalize multiparty cooperation for the DPGs by promulgating a series of Party documents and the United Front strategies as the invisible norms to control the DPG elites and the development of the DPGs’ organizations in order to maintain its ruling status.

In contrast to the CCP, which has dominated every aspect of multiparty cooperation, the DPGs have merely been passive participants. But this does not suggest that the DPGs only carter to the requirements of the CCP. Driven by a variety of the motivations among their members, the DPGs, especially the DPG chapters in developed areas, have devised tactics for different forms of multiparty cooperation to maximize the space for their political activities. As a result, except for their demand for the development of an independent mechanism for extra-party supervision, the CCP has not only endorsed the DPGs’ demands for an increase in political participation, but has also consulted closely with them.

The whole situation has thus led to a new mode of multiparty cooperation in China, namely consultative authoritarianism. It has promoted the simultaneous expansion of political consultation between the CCP and the DPGs as well as the maintenance of control over the DPGs. This model challenges the conventional wisdom that multiparty cooperation cannot exist inside authoritarian regimes and that the presence of multiparty cooperation is an indication of democratization.