Table of Contents
Chinese culture has a long history that was shaped under the impact of various factors. At the same time, the Chinese influence on neighboring countries is quite essential today. The social framework of modern Chinese culture includes its hierarchy structure and stratification that developed from a family clan and then shaped into classes. As for political framework, the main political source was the power of the Emperor and a system of collective conquest that have formed modern communist and democratic parties, as well as cooperatives as non-governmental organizations.
The historical precondition for Chinese social structure was a clan (Mente, 2003, p. 42). The large family clan includes a wide range of relatives in its membership, some of which could even belong to different classes. In the ideal case, and sometimes in real life, the clan was a strong community that took care of all its members, including even on the most distant relatives (“Chinese social,” 2013). It lead to the unity of the observance of obligatory ceremonies honoring ancestors and a sense of pride in their ancestry. The family was often held together by a common ownership of the land and the presence on this earth ancestral temple, which houses memorial plaques praising the dead.
The Chinese government classifies the population on the grounds of social origin. As the result, the four following classes are distinguished: the workers, peasants, landowners, and the bourgeoisie (“Chinese social,” 2013). Almost 80% of people on this classification belong to the peasant class, and most of others to the workers. During the Cultural Revolution, the children of workers and rural families were referred to as the members of the category of people with a “good” family past, while the children of landowners and people from bourgeois families were considered to have a “bad” origin. Although after the implementation of the Land Reform in the early 1950s there were not any landowners left, children continue to bear the stamp of the enemy. As for the intellectuals, they constitute a certain layer in various classes of society (“Chinese social,” 2013). Since 1970 the stigma of class origin gradually began to lose its value, and since the middle of 1980s the formation of a new class began – the entrepreneurs (“Chinese social,” 2013).
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Classification of the peasant population is made separately from the classification of the urban population. Farmers are not allowed to move to the city (although this relocation is carried out illegally on a large scale). In the early years of Chinas rapid expansion of government and the economy, many members of the younger generation were enabled to occupy prestigious positions (“Chinese social,” 2013). When the process of further expansion of government agencies began to slow down, more prominent position in the overall structure of power was located again in the hands of the older generation.
Similarly to other Eastern societies, in traditional China there was a political structure functioning for centuries, which was endowed with extraordinary authority. The only source of power was the Emperor, who exercised its rule by the will of heaven (Mente, 2003, p. 281). Gradually, however, the development of institutions prepared to guarantee the smooth functioning of the state apparatus and to prevent the development of forces that would oppose the imperial power.
The main national authorities are Chinese National People’s Congress headed by the chairman, the State Council, the Supreme People’s Court, and Supreme People’s Office (Lawrence & Martin, 2012). The high legislative body is the National People’s Congress (NPC). The NPC deputies are elected for a five-year term in provinces. The NPC at its sessions elect the President of China. According to the prime minister and the composition of the State Council the Constitution is amended and the implementation of the constitutional provisions are supervised; the laws are adopted; senior officials of the Supreme People’s Court are appointed and dismissed (Lawrence & Martin, 2012). However, the highest executive body is the State Council of China. The State Council enacts various administrative rules and regulations to initiate legislation in the National People’s Congress, supervises the activities of various ministries and agencies, develops and implements plans for national economic development, and supervises the implementation of the national budget.
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In addition to the ruling Communist Party, there are also eight political parties, which are referred to as democratic parties. All of them try to collaborate with the Communist Party, but in fact there is only formal cooperation, because democratic forces have a very little power in modern China. The Chinese Communist Party was established in July 1921 (Lawrence & Martin, 2012). The democratic parties are not the opposition parties, but rather subsidiary to the Communist Party. Assistants of people’s congresses, and government agencies at various levels, as well as economic, cultural, educational, scientific, and technical organizations, elect many of the members. The Communist Party followed to a large-scale planned construction of socialism, during which the economy and culture of the country reached an unprecedented level of development (Lawrence & Martin, 2012). Besides, there are many non-governmental organizations. For example, many of cooperatives contain a charge of daytime childcare centers, where the children of working mothers are minded. Other cooperatives are aimed at implementing the political functions, most of which are focused on the number of birth.
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Thus, the social basis of China consists of a family that has a long tradition, which was a prerequisite to the clan. Society consists of the workers, peasants, landowners, and the bourgeoisie. Nevertheless, the crucial principle of society is its social mobility. It is also reflected in political framework, where the main power was Emperor, and now it is the National People’s Congress. Accordingly, the main source of Chinese policy is the nation, which perfectly embodied in the Chinese Communist Party.
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