Communist Party of China

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The Communist Party of China (CPC), also known as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Although nominally it exists alongside the United Front,[1] in practice, the CPC is also the only party of the PRC,[2] maintaining a unitary government centralising the state, military, and media.[3] The legal power of the Communist Party is guaranteed by the PRC constitution.[3]

The party was founded in May 1921 in Shanghai.[4] After a lengthy civil war, the party defeated its primary rival, the Kuomintang (KMT), and expanded into all of mainland China by 1949.[5] The Kuomintang retreated to the island of Taiwan, which it still retains to this day.

The PRC is a single-party state,[2] and the CPC is the dominant entity of the Government of the People's Republic of China. The party has fluctuated between periods of reform and political conservatism throughout its history. In the modern party, the topic of reform and liberalisation remains a contentious issue heavily debated among top officials.[6] On one side, Wu Bangguo, the head of the National People's Congress, has said that: "We will never simply copy the system of Western countries or introduce a system of multiple parties holding office in rotation."[7] On the other, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has stressed the need of reform, stating that: "Without the safeguard of political reform, the fruits of economic reform would be lost and the goal of modernization would not materialize." [8]

The CPC is the world's largest political party,[9] claiming nearly 78 million members[10] at the end of 2009 which constitutes about 5.6% of the total population of mainland China.

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