From Jamie's Philippines Pics

We have also had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places in China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bali. We have archived all of our travels and living experiences abroad; and if you wish, you can read about our adventures by finding the archives on the right of this page and by checking our Photo Album.

We appreciate all of our family and friends who have stayed in touch and emailed us with encouraging words throughout the year. We hope you will continue to keep us in your thoughts as we continue our adventure of living abroad teaching at an international school. For those who have stumbled upon our site, check out the "About Eric and Jamie" section on the right for more information.

Thanks for checking us out!

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
- Mark Twain

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends."
- Maya Angelou






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Friday, July 4, 2008

Lesson #2 - Chinese Government

The Chinese government can be complicated for one to understand. Communist yet a Republic. For those who slept through government in high school (surely, not mine: "Don't call me Shirley"), a republic is a representative democracy in which the people elect representatives who will vote for them. Simply, most countries population's are too large for everyone to vote on all matters. If you haven't seen the U.S. Congress's list of bills and resolutions, look up the the Congressional Calendar sometime and you'd be amazed at how much our Congress is supposed to work. I digress.

The current Chinese constitution was written in 1959 but the final revision has been pretty much the same since 1982 which includes several amendments concerning human rights and private property. The Chinese government is a one party system, Communist. China can also be characterized by an oligarchy, which by definition is a government run by a few people. Nonetheless, there is still a structure to their government with several bureaucracies. The state consists of the National People's Congress, a President, State Council, Central Military Commission, Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Without boring you to death as I'm sure I've already accomplished, I feel as though my post won't be complete until I provide you with a brief explanation of all of these sections of their government:

1) The National People's Congress (NPC) - the highest structure of the state's power. The Standing Committee of the NPC serves for 5 years and has the powers and rights of legislation, decision, supervision, election, and removal.

2) President - like the POTUS, is the Head of State as a representative both in and out of the country. Unlike the POTUS however, the President of China is actually under the NPC and take orders and direction from them. Hu Jintao is the current President of China.

3) State Council - the State Council is the supreme executive and administrative sector of the Chinese government. The Council consists of a Premier,
vice-premiers, State councillors, ministers in charge of ministries and commissions, the auditor-general and the secretary-general. The Premier is appointed by the President and approved by the NPC. The other positions of the State Council are appointed by the Premier and approved by the NPC or the President. Each position on the State Council serves for 5 years. Quoting from the Chinese governments' website, "The State Council is responsible for carrying out the principles and policies of the Communist Party of China as well as the regulations and laws adopted by the NPC, and dealing with such affairs as China's internal politics, diplomacy, national defense, finance, economy, culture and education."

4) Central Military Commission - the highest military sector in charge of commanding the armed forces for China. The members in this commission is nominated by the NPC.

Supreme People's Court - highest trial court in the country. It also supervises over trial practices and the local courts at various levels. The members of the People's Court are appointed and supervised by the NPC.

Supreme People's Procuratorate - the legal supervision of the state in charge of the prosecutions of of crimes.

This is just a sketch of the government. Basically, they do have 3 branches of government and run extensively under a vast bureaucracy. The main difference between the Chinese government and the U.S. government is the political party system and the where the actual power of the government actual lies. The oligarchy of the NPC consisting of wholly of members of the Communist Party make all decisions.

Hopefully this wasn't too painful and will help you have some more understanding of the Chinese government. Lesson # 3 will focus on China's geography.

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