There are so many aspects of Chinese life that I love, but one of my favorites is conversations with cab drivers. Not only is it the tried-and-true way to practice Mandarin, it’s also a view into the Chinese mindset. Particularly when it comes to politics, Chinese cabbies don’t pull punches – and they usually know their stuff. I’ve discussed former President Bush and President Obama, the state of the US economy, universal health care, US-China relations, all from the passenger’s seat of a cab.
Whether I agree with their politics or not, I always walk away impressed and wondering:
Do US cab drivers know the basics about the Chinese political system? Do Americans of all walks of life and profession?
What about the role of the Chinese Communist Party?
Or the current Premier’s name?
I'm starting a new series on Chinaful to address these questions and more, "Chinese Government 101." Whether business interests, Asian studies or just general cultural curiousity bring you to Chinaful, a basic understanding of the structure of the Chinese Government is key. You may know that China is a Communist country, but that’s an abstract theory – you need to know how a case is tried or laws enacted to understand even the media reports on China, much less have a deeper understanding of China and its people. And I won’t just be giving you fast facts, but also the insight into how the system functions in reality and their influence policy and impact daily life in China.
Here’s the index for posts to come, once I post on a topic in the series I’ll link back here. I’ll also be adding to the index as I go.
- The Communist Party of China
- China’s Executive Branch
- China’s Judiciary (Post One and Two)
- China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM)
- China’s National People’s Congress and Standing Committee
- China’s Police
- China’s Procuracy
- China’s Provincial and Local Government
- China’s State Council
- China’s Special Administrative Regions
- China’s Special Economic Zones
- The Who’s Who of Chinese Government
Don’t see a topic you think should be covered? Leave a note in the comments, and I’ll try to incorporate it. (And don't worry - this series will be mixed with Chinaful's regular posts on business news, food, travel and culture as well, it won't be just government and policy!)