Trade Union Forum


General overview                               

The head of the country is the President of the People's Republic of China.  As a rule, the President also performs functions of General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, who serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the People's Liberation Army of China. As of 2021, Xi Jinping holds this post. The President is elected to a five-year term. Before the constitutional amendments of 2018, a person could not be elected as the President for more than 2 terms. Now the number of terms is unlimited. The President of the People's Republic of China acts together with the National People's Congress (NPC). The President of the People's Republic of China is also elected by the NPC.

State power is divided into legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

Constitutional order

China is a socialist state. Power belongs to the people, and the Chinese Communist Party leads the country. The main legal act of China is the Constitution. The current Constitution of 1982 is the fourth Constitution of the country. It was amended in 1988, 1993, 1999, 2004, and 2018. The Constitution guarantees the equality of all citizens of the country and also declares the basic rights: the right to vote and be elected, the right to personal freedom and inviolability of life, the right to freedom of correspondence, and the preservation of the secrecy of correspondence, etc.

The highest executive body in China is the State Council of the People's Republic of China, which also performs the functions of the Central Government. The State Council enforces the laws and regulations that were developed by the National People's Congress (NPC). Besides, the State Council formulates administrative and legal acts, issues resolutions and many other orders. The State Council has a vast of different members, e.g. the Premier of the Council, Vice-premiers of the Council, heads of departments of the Council, the governor of People's Bank of China, the Chairman of the  Standing Committee, etc. Members of the State Council are appointed to the NCP.

The highest legislative body is the NPC. It consists of deputies representing provinces, autonomous regions, direct-administered municipalities of China, and the armed forces. The term of office for NPC deputies is five years. The NPC amends the Constitution and monitors its implementation, adopts the criminal and civil codes and laws on the state structure. It runs the election and removal of the President, Vice-president, Chairman of the Central Military Council, the Chairman of the Supreme People's Court, and the Prosecutor General of the People's Republic of China. Also, the NPC approves the formation of provinces, autonomous regions, and direct-administered municipalities. It also resolves issues of peace and war. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC SC), operating permanently, also performs legislative functions. The SC council consists of the Chairman, Vice-Chairpersons (about 20 people), and the Executive secretary. The Council is engaged in the current performance of the NPC SC, i.e. establishes the dates of meetings of the NPC SC and prepares draft agendas for meetings, amends draft laws, runs special commissions, etc. The Chairman of the SC and his deputies shall not serve for more than two consecutive terms.

The highest judicial body is the  Supreme People's Court. It oversees the administration of justice by Local people's courts of various levels and Courts of Special jurisdiction. The higher people's courts administer the execution of justice by the lower courts. The term of office of the Chairman of the Supreme People's Court corresponds with such of the NPC. The maximum number of terms for the Chairman is two (consecutive).

Labour relations

A number of regulations, i.e. the Constitution, the Labour Law of 1994, the Civil Servant Law of 2005, the Labor Contract Law of 2007, the Labour Dispute Mediation and Arbitration Law of 2008, the Social Insurance Law of 2010, etc. regulate labour relations in China. The country does not have a fixed minimum wage. The cities and provinces must determine their minimum wage themselves. They should assess the overall standard of living in a particular city or province. After that, they can make a reasonable decision about the amount of the minimum wage.

As of 2020, China has ratified 26 ILO conventions. The organization gives positive feedback on cooperation with the Chinese authorities.

Trade unions

The Trade Union Law of the People's Republic of China states that employees have the right to form their trade union, i.e. "basic-level" trade union committee. At the same time, there is one general national trade union center in the country – the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). The ACFTU consists of more than 1,700,000 basic-level trade union committees. Employees determine the goals and tasks of their trade union committee themselves, while the ACFTU was created to assist the revolutionary movement. After that, it was re-organized to support the formation of a socialist state. Chinese trade unions are the most numerous in the world. As of 2020, the ACFTU consists of more than 302,000,000 members.