The Constitution provides that the People's Republic of China is a socialist State under the people's democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants, and that the socialist system is the basic system of China.
People's congresses system. Under the Constitution, all power in the People's Republic of China belongs to the people; the National People's Congress and the local people's congresses at various levels are the organs through which the people exercise State power. The system of people's congresses is the basic political system of the State, and it means: first, the National People's Congress and the local people's congresses at various levels are constituted through democratic elections, and they are responsible to the people and subject to their supervision; second, people's congresses are the organs of State power, and all administrative, trial and procuratorial organs of the State are created by the people's congresses to which they are responsible and by which they are supervised; third, the division of functions and powers between the central and local State organs is guided by the principle of giving full scope to the initiative and enthusiasm of the local authorities under the unified leadership of the central authorities.
Electoral system. The election of deputies to people's congresses at various levels follows the following principles: (1) universal suffrage: all citizens of the People's Republic of China who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote and to stand for election, except persons deprived of political rights according to law; (2) equal suffrage: each voter shall have the right to vote only once in an election, and zoning of electoral districts shall ensure that the number of people represented by each deputy from an electoral district is generally the same so as to protect the equal right of each voter; (3) combining direct election with indirect election: deputies to the people's congresses at the county and township levels shall be elected directly by their constituencies, and deputies to the National People's Congress and to the people's congresses of provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, cities divided into districts, and autonomous prefectures shall be elected by the people's congresses at the next lower level; (4) secret ballot: the election of deputies to the people's congresses at various levels shall be by secret ballot; (5) competitive election: the number of candidates for deputies to the people's congresses at various levels shall be greater than the number of deputies to be elected.
Regional national autonomy system. China has unitary structure of State and practises the system of regional national autonomy. The Constitution provides that China is a unitary multi-national State created jointly by the people of all its nationalities. Besides the Han Chinese, there are other 55 ethnic groups that are minorities. They account for about eight percent of the population and the concentrated communities where they live cover about 60 percent of the total area of the country. For the purposes of protecting the lawful rights and interests of the minority nationalities and upholding and developing a relationship of equality, unity and mutual assistance among all of China's nationalities, China practises the system of regional national autonomy in areas where people of minority nationalities live in concentrated communities. National autonomous areas are classified into autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties. There are totally five autonomous regions (the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and the Tibet Autonomous Region), 30 autonomous prefectures, 116 autonomous counties and three autonomous banners in the whole country. All national autonomous areas are integral parts of the People's Republic of China. The organs of self-government of national autonomous areas are the people's congresses and people's governments of autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties. Among the chairman and vice-chairmen of the standing committee of the people's congress of an autonomous region, autonomous prefecture or autonomous county shall be one or more citizens of the nationality exercising regional autonomy in the area. The chairman of an autonomous region, the prefect of an autonomous prefecture or the head of an autonomous county shall be a citizen of the nationality exercising regional autonomy in the area concerned. In addition to the functions and powers of other ordinary local organs of the State, the organs of self-government of national autonomous areas exercise the power of autonomy in accordance with law and implement the laws and policies of the State in the light of existing local conditions. The people's congresses of national autonomous areas have the power to enact regulations on the exercise of autonomy and separate regulations in the light of the political, economic and cultural characteristics of the nationality or nationalities in the areas concerned. If a resolution, decision, order or instruction of a State organ at a higher level does not suit the conditions in a national autonomous area, the organ of self-government of the area may either implement it with certain alterations or cease implementing it after reporting to and receiving the approval of the State organ at the higher level. The organs of self-government of the national autonomous areas independently arrange for and administer local economic development under the guidance of State plans; the organs of self-government of the national autonomous areas have the power of autonomy in administering the finances of their areas. The organs of self-government of the national autonomous areas independently administer educational, scientific, cultural, public health and physical culture affairs in their respective areas. In exploiting natural resources and building enterprises in the national autonomous areas, the State gives due consideration to the interests of those areas; the State provides financial, material and technical assistance to the minority nationalities to accelerate their economic and cultural development; the State helps the national autonomous areas train large number of cadres at various levels and specialised personnel and skilled workers of various professions and trades from among the nationality or nationalities in those areas.
Special administrative region system. In order to solve the questions of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, the Constitution establishes the system of special administrative region. The Constitution provides that the State may establish special administrative regions when necessary; the systems to be instituted in special administrative regions shall be prescribed by law enacted by the National People's Congress in the light of specific conditions.
The Government of the People's Republic of China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong with effect from July 1, 1997, and resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Macao with effect from December 20, 1999. On April 4, 1990, the Third Session of the Seventh National People's Congress decided to establish the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on July 1, 1997 and adopted the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. On March 31, 1993, the First Session of the Eighth National People's Congress decided to establish the Macao Special Administrative Region on December 20, 1999 and adopted the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region.
Upholding national unity and territorial integrity and maintaining the prosperity, development and social stability of Hong Kong and Macao, the People's Republic of China has decided that under the principle of "one country, two systems", the socialist system and policies shall not be practised in Hong Kong and Macao, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region are all inalienable parts of the People's Republic of China, are local administrative regions of the People's Republic of China which come directly under the Central People's Government, and at the same time, are special administrative regions which practise a different system and policies from those of the mainland and enjoy a high degree of autonomy. The two special administrative regions exercising a high degree of autonomy are vested with the executive power, legislative power and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication. In addition, they may conduct relevant external affairs on their own as authorised by the Central People's Government. In order that the Central Authorities keep leadership over and exercise administration of special administrative regions, the Central People's Government is responsible for the foreign affairs and the defence of the special administrative regions, and appoints the chief executives and principal officials of the executive authorities respectively; certain national laws relating to the defence and foreign affairs as well as other matters outside the limits of the autonomy of the special administrative regions shall be applied locally by way of promulgation or legislation by the regions. Laws enacted by the legislatures of the special administrative regions must be reported to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for the record. If the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress considers that any law enacted by the legislatures of the special administrative regions is not in conformity with the provisions of the two respective Basic Laws regarding affairs within the responsibility of the Central Authorities or regarding the relationship between the Central Authorities and special administrative regions, the Standing Committee may return the law in question. The power to amend the two Basic Laws is vested in the National People's Congress. The power of interpretation of the two Basic Laws is vested in the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
The Preamble to the Constitution states "Taiwan is part of the sacred territory of the People's Republic of China. It is the inviolable duty of all Chinese people, including our compatriots in Taiwan, to accomplish the great task of reunifying the motherland." The Chinese government and people are striving to develop the cross-Straits relation and promote the process of peaceful reunification of the motherland under the principle of "one country, two systems".
Basic economic system. Socialist public ownership of the means of production, namely, ownership by the whole people and collective ownership by the working people is the basis of the socialist economic system of China. In the primary stage of socialism, the State upholds the basic economic system in which the public ownership is dominant and diverse forms of ownership develop side by side, and keeps to the distribution system in which distribution according to work is dominant and diverse modes of distribution coexist. The non-public sectors of the economy such as the individual and private sectors of the economy, operating within the limits prescribed by law, constitute an important component of the socialist market economy. China permits foreign enterprises, other foreign economic organizations and individual foreigners to invest in China and to enter into various forms of economic co-operation with Chinese enterprises and other Chinese economic organizations in accordance with the law of the People's Republic of China.