Wang Gang, Minister for Technology and incumbent leader of the China Zhigong Party. Image credit: Wikipedia.
Sick of people going on about how China is a one party authoritarian state when, nuh uh, it’s totally a multiparty state that’s just completely dominated in every single way by one, authoritarian, party? Well fear not my pedantic friend, simply direct unbelievers to Beijing, where one of China’s non-CPC political parties is having its National Congress right now.
The China Zhigong Party, “a non-communist political party with about 20,000 members” is holding its 14th National Congress this week in Beijing.
Wan Gang, Chairman of China Zhigong Party’s Central Committee, said that the upcoming national congress of this “non-communist” party will “hold high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics and carefully study the spirit of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China”, which doesn’t sound like a massive waste of time at all.
At the first meeting this week, Zhang Dejiang, CPC Vice-Premier, told delegates that “the multi-party cooperation and political consultation system led by the CPC had witnessed prosperous development in the past five years, and the CPC will give full play to the system to add more vitality to socialist democracy.”
The Zhigong Party was founded in San Francisco in 1925 by two ex-Kuomintang warlords, Chen Jiongming and Tang Jiyao. The party’s first platform was one of federalism and multi-party democracy, which it continued to promote after its headquarters were moved to Hong Kong in 1926. In the build up to the Second World War, members of the Zhigong Party engaged in anti-Japanese propaganda and protests, which backfired when the Japanese occupied Hong Kong and nearly wiped out the Party.
The Party began turning to the left in its Third Party Congress in 1947, and was invited to attend the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in 1949. Today the Party is mainly composed of returned overseas Chinese, their relatives, and noted figures and scholars who have overseas ties.
In 2007, Wan Gang, the incumbent leader of the Zhigong Party, was appointed Technology Minister of the PRC, the first non-CPC ministerial appointment since the 1950s.