What type of government does China have?

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Simple Answer:
Communism. China is a single-party republic ruled by the Communist Party.

International Relations Theory Answer:
China is a right-wing Leninist State, not a Communist one. Leninism is the political theory that a single party rules the government and governs all affairs as opposed to individual politicians. The confusion stems from the fact that the single party in China is the Communist Party even though they do not practice Communist political theory, but rather state-directed, right-wing economic and political theory.

CIA Factbook Answer
The CIA classifies China's government as a "communist state". The CIA further defines communism as:

"a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single - often authoritarian - party holds power; state controls are imposed with the elimination of private ownership of property or capital while claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people (i.e., a classless society)."

However, the actual functioning of Chinese society and economy is a bit schizophrenic. In its attempt to become a more powerful economic force in the world and to improve its industrial infrastructure, China's laws about private property and private companies have become more and more capitalist in nature. Property rights are starting to be taken seriously, which encourages private development and private investment in the Chinese economy.

The communist tendency to control all industry is still at odds with this growing quasi-capitalist economy, and they have not yet worked out the difference between "restrictions for the sake of government control" and "protecting consumers from dangerous products and fraud".

Other opinions:
  • They are not communist. Communism does not have a centralized government. They are closer to socialism than communism. I would say a mixture of totalitarian and socialism.
  • China was never Communist, it was Socialist, but now it's basically a single party, part socialist, part capitalist, authoritarian/ totalitarian oligarchy with figurehead leaders.
  • Functionally, it is a highly bureaucratic, multi-level, single-party republic. Starting at the very lowest levels, the Chinese elect a representative to serve on a local council. These councils elect a representative to the city council, which elects a member to a regional council, etc. The current system requires everyone to be a member of the same political party. The system can be called communist, however, it is a relatively unique system in which an established bureaucracy is interwoven into a republican structure with Marxist overtones (philosophy). Frankly, it's a bit of puzzle to classify.
  • The People's Republic of China is a single-party republic. The only political party is the Communist Party so even though there are "elections" in China, they are all members of the same political party. And even then, the Chinese people have a lot less say in who their leaders are than in a western-style democracy or republic.
  • There is the concept of "One country, Two systems". Since the return of Hong Kong and Macau to China is 1997 and 1999 respectively, the Central government has granted the two special administrative regions some forms of political freedom, such as the democratic election of the Chief Executive in 2012 in Hong Kong.
  • The Current Government of China is one party Communist State, that has embraced right-wing economic and right-wing social institutions.
  • China is not communist, like many people believe. It's a single-party republic led by the Communist Party of China and can be characterized as capitalist. There's a difference.
  • China has an autocratic socialist system of government.
  • It is a Communist country effectively governing and operating as a Dictatorship.

China is a republic
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What type of government is China?

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