by Xuewu Gu
Since the People's Republic of China (PRC) was established on 1 October 1949, political power has been monopolized by the Communist Party of China (CCP). Although there have been remarkable changes in the structure of the communist regime from PRC founder Mao Zedong to the current President Jiang Zemin, citizens have only been allowed to participate in elections at the local level. To date, the world's biggest population remains totally excluded from the political process at the national level.
The foundation of the PRC was the logical result of the Chinese Civil War (1946-1949), in which the CCP under Mao Zedong defeated the Nationalist Party Kuomintang (KMT) of Marshal Chiang Kai-Shek. The Nationalists were forced to give up their regime and fled to Taiwan in autumn 1949. This marked the beginning of the Chinese division. In the aftermath the CCP consolidated its regime quickly. By the early 1950s it already controlled all provinces in Mainland China.
In general terms, the political development of the PRC can be divided into three main phases: (i) the totalitarian phase under the leadership of Mao Zedong (1949-1976); (ii) the revolutionary-authoritarian phase under Deng Xiaoping (1977-1992); and (iii) the current technocratic-authoritarian phase under Jiang Zemin, beginning with his election to the presidency of the PRC in 1993.
Mao Zedong's totalitarian rule was marked by ideological penetration and mass mobilization. Although the military still played an important role in domestic politics (the Central Committee of the CCP was strongly dominated by the generals), the stability of the regime owed largely to the Maoist ideology, which created a high degree of spiritual identification of most Chinese people with the CCP and its political ambitions. This, in turn, led to a voluntary subjugation of the citizens to the party leadership. In 1954 the first representative body, called National People's Congress (NPC), was formed by the CCP on the basis of a consultation