How are delegates of the CPC National Congress selected? Generally, they are elected according to the democratic centralism principles. The basic election procedure is as follows:
The electoral package includes the number, ratio, constitution of delegates, election method and etc. Before every CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee formulates the electoral package for the next Party congress, which would include the following main contents.
To confirm electoral method. Since the 13th CPC National Congress, a competitive election as a margin of victory of 10 percent to 15 percent has been adopted in the election of the delegates.
In October 2001, the CPC Central Committee issued a notice regarding the election of delegates for the 16th CPC National Congress, which detailed the division of electoral units, requirements for the delegates, constitutions, quota and election procedure.
II. Nominate Delegate Candidates
When electoral units get the information about quota, ratio and constitutions of delegates, they start to recommend (elect) delegate candidates from grass roots to higher-level organizations and the result will be sent back to the grass roots several times for further consideration. The election of delegate candidate reflects the Communist Party’s democratic principle. Even current Central Committee leaders are not necessarily delegates for next Party congress until they are nominated and elected by relevant electoral units.
In the electoral period of the 15th CPC National Congress, over 95 percent grass-root Party organizations and 85 percent Party members participated in recommendation and election of delegates nationwide. Averagely 98 percent grass-root Party organizations and 93 percent Party members have participated in the recommendation and election for the 16th Party Congress.
III. Elect Delegates Formally
About half a year before the CPC National Congress, electoral units begin recommending and selecting representatives to the Party congress or conference of their own. These representatives are actually voters trusted to select the unit’s delegates to the CPC National Congress by competitive election. A candidate is elected only when he or she gets more than half of the votes. If the number of those getting more than half of the votes exceeds the number to be selected, those with more votes will be elected.
IV. Delegate Qualification Examination
After each electoral unit elects the delegates, the basic situation of these delegates will be submitted to the CPC Central Committee for a preliminary examination by the preparatory group of the CPC National Congress. At the preparatory conference of the CPC National Congress, a delegate qualification examination committee will be set up, which will conduct formal qualification examination over every delegate elected by the electoral units.
The examination focuses on whether the delegates meet the requirements as confirmed by election program and if new problems arise among them. The person elected can become a formal delegate only after he or she is proved qualified. For example, before the 15th CPC National Congress was held in 1997, 2,049 delegates were elected. But later, one was found to have committed serious mistakes. The electoral unit he was with submitted the case to the CPC Central Committee and his qualification of a delegate was cancelled. Therefore, 2,048 delegates participated in the 15th National Congress.
The strict election procedures guarantee that all delegates are model Party members who represent the majority of common people, and that the delegate structure is rational. Among the 2,120 delegates to attend the upcoming 16th National Congress, there are not only Party officials at various levels, but also representatives in the front line of production.
A large proportion of them have made outstanding achievements in fields of economy, science and technology, national defense, politics and law, education, publicity, culture, sanitation and public health, and sports, 88.5 percent of whom have won honorary titles given by ministries and provincial governments or higher authorities. The proportions of female and ethnic minority delegates are higher than that of female and ethnic minority Party members in the whole country.
Compared with the 15th National Congress, the delegates’ average educational level rose greatly. There are 1,943 delegates who have received junior college or higher-level education, 8.2 percent higher than that of the 15th National Congress.
Among the elected delegates, 12 joined the Party during the First Revolutionary Civil War (1924-1927) and the Second Revolutionary Civil War (1927-1937), 17 joined the Party in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945) and 24 joined the Party during the War of Liberation (1946-1949).
The other 2,067 joined the Party after the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, accounting for 97.5 percent of the total. Among them, 677 joined the Party after 1978 when the Third Plenary Session of the 11th National Congress of the CPC was held to determine the reform and opening-up policy for the country. They account for 31.9 percent.
The age structure also becomes more rational. The average age of delegates is 52.5, 0.7 years younger than that of the 15th National Congress, with 1,338 being under the age of 55, accounting for 63.1 percent of the total.
(china.org.cn, translated by Alex Xu and Li Jinhui, September 24, 2002)