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Comparison of China and India


This paper will look at the political systems in China and India. This will be done on a comparison basis and included in this will be the environment, structures and levels of policy that are involved in the political scene. In both countries the type of governments in place will be looked into and how they are elected or nominated into power.  In addition the paper will look at the level of articulation and aggregation in the political system and the level that the citizens are involved in the making of policies. What are the political systems in place in China and India?


India and China both have long histories that spun back many centuries, however despite this on the political aspect their histories and presents tend to differ quite sharply. To begin with China according to history has always had a solid unitary government in most of the periods of its existence. This is not the case with India that has always had a divided government until it became a modern state. In addition to this India has always had a lot of influence from modern powers especially due to the periods it was under colonial powers.

This is not the case with China that despite enclaves and occupation by Japanese the state has had relatively lower levels of influence from foreigners. In the modern day the India has quickly grown to be one of the largest democracies in the world with diversity in religion and culture. China on the other hand has taken the opposite turn as it is a communist state that is run by one party and in which various religions are discouraged. Besides the country is mainly composed of Confucian and Taoist believes with a little Buddhism (Desai, 2003).

Political Environment

In China the situation in recent times have changed, unlike the perception by the western media in which the government was thought to be authoritarian the peoples opinion in now being put into consideration. With the introduction of the information technology, citizens are now connected to the government. This has been boosted by the introduction of Peoples Daily Online where each province has a secretary that gives responses to inquiries by citizens.

This has helped the government be in ouch with the citizens hence enforcing the power of the government. This emerging trend is a sharp contrast to the age before the internet when the approach was on a top-down basis. This had resulted in many miscommunications that were also left unresolved. However not the information technology has led to making the government more transparent, democratic and efficient. In doing this it has eliminated the possibility of political or social crises from arising and help in substantial progress towards democracy (Global Times, 2009). 

According to Subrata (2010), the political environment in India is largely determined by cultural aspects like religion, language and caste system. The most used language is Hindi but English is also used among the multitudes. In addition the variance that exists in the socio-economic environment also plays a major role in the political culture and ideology that is adopted in the country. In every state the legislative environment will tend to differ but on the national scale coalitions that are led by the Indian National Party have been traditionally at the forefront of the federal politics. Despite the worry of a rising fragmentation in the political environment in India the election of the Congress that was led by the United Progressive Alliance (UAP), has led to quashing of such fears as it got support from all regions.

Some of the issues that have played an important part in the environment involve corruption woes that have tarnished the government leading to opposition from groups that allied to Bharatiya Janata Party. Corruption is mainly rampant in the judicial level especially in the lower levels along with in warding of various schemes like that of the auction of 2G wireless spectrum. In addition the other main issue is the high cost of living that is afflicting the millions of poor people in the country. This has led to many anti-government protests considering the UPA came to power due to the platform that focussed on assisting the poor.

However, there is one of the most compelling lessons that China and India offer to other deprived countries which is the weighty magnitude for economic growth and poverty reduction of allowing private firms to compete in markets from which they were previously barred and of providing the complementary governments services, such as infrastructure, that promote economic productivity. The governance environment of these two countries points to a second important lesson that has attracted less attention. Although the two countries have succeeded under highly disparate political environments, and neither offers a high degree of security to entrepreneurial activity, the lesson is a positive one. The evidence presented in this chapter demonstrates that, based on the experience of China and India, poor countries should give a high priority to good governance.

In most countries, governance is a slippery concept. One common definition focuses on outcome which is the extent to which governments enact and implement policies in the interest of all the citizens. The other is based on political institutions and dynamics that determine these outcomes which can be termed as the extent to which governments have incentives to adopt and enforce policies in the interests of all citizens. Weak governance outcome is always associated with corruption. The other one is the ineffective translation of public resources. Moreover, the susceptibility of property and contract rights to opportunistic behaviour by government officials is also another poor political environment. Generally, the safety of rights of assets and the incentives of politicians to warranty safe property rights are most closely related to economic growth. Their role in explaining economic growth in India and China must be therefore put into consideration (Li, 2008).

According to Li, (2008), the political definition of governance is the less usual, however, it is the major key to understanding the dynamics associated with good governance. We need to know the characteristics of political institutions and competition that enables governments, particularly in China and India in making credible promises to entrepreneurs that their investments are not likely to be expropriated. A process of governing that began in the 1970s, gave governments in the two countries an increasing ability to make credible promises to its entrepreneurs. Moreover, these two countries offer lessons for governance is really surprising.

In India it is fast growth, and in the Chinese case, extraordinary growth, which has been accompanied by strictly average governance indicators. Basically, beginning from the 1980s to the present, international risk rating firms indicate that investors have dealt with regularly arbitrary government decision making and apprehensive contractual and property rights. It is thus clear that poor countries might conjecture from these experiences that countries are capable of falling considerably short of achieving political stability and still experience rapid growth.

It is therefore important to highlight also on the three reasons that explain why this political supposition is incorrect. First, generally speaking, China and India were able to leverage policy reforms into sustained, fast growth, despite only average governance, because of their large markets and profusion of low cost labour. In smaller markets, it also became clear that a similar policy and political environment would yield slower growth. Secondly, governance in China and India appeared a bit better as compared to other poor countries. And finally, in both countries, growth did not crop up until considerable improvements in governance took place in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Political Structure


The political structure in India is basically a federal system. In this the country is made up of a union of states. It has a democratic system in which the government is entailed of a parliamentary system. The government follows a constitution that was adopted in 1949 and was soon came into force in 1950. In this union of states the president is the executive but the real power is in a Council of Ministers that is headed by a Prime Minister. This Council is in place to advise the President but is answerable to the House People that is known as Lok Sabha. Hence the Executive that governs the Union comprises of the President, Vice President and the Council of Ministers that is headed by the Prime Minister. The President is elected by an electoral college that is elected by member so the Parliament and Legislative Assemblies. The weight per vote is rationed according to each region and is elected on a term that lasts for a period of five years (Desai, 2003).      

Subrata (2010), states that the main powers of the president is the ability to declare an emergency in case of a foreign invasion and assume all duties if the government in place fails to perform. The Council of Ministers on the other comprise of Ministers of State and their deputies. The Prime Minister is obligated to communicate to them on all the administrative affairs of the federal union. The final arm of the Executive is Parliament that consists of President, Raja Sabha; consisting of 245 members who represent states with 12 being nominated by the president and Lok Sabha that has about 545 members who are composed of representatives of people and elected directly. Their term lasts for five years while those of Rajya Sabha retire after two years.

The political system in place allows the establishment of two types of political party’s namely State ad Political Parties. If a political party is recognised in four states or more then it qualifies to be a National Party. However those parties that do not meet this standards then it is referred to a State Party. In India there are several State and National Parties whose influence changes with each election that takes place. Some of the main national political parties in the country include Bharatiya Janata Party, Communist Party of India, Janata Dal and the Congress.  In the various states the regional parties are the ones that wield some influence and are significant to the ruling parties as they have assisted in the garnering of votes (Chhatre, 2008).

According to Chhatre (2008), India has a plural kind of system where there is one representative per electoral district. This allows independent non-party candidates to run for such positions. In addition it increases the degree of responsiveness by parties to the issues that affects locals in a specific area. In addition due to the federal system there is representation at many levels including local, state and national levels. This allows the representatives to be held responsible for any pledges not me as their functions are clearly defined. Articulation is also well developed especially in states like Himachal Pradesh in which the participation has increased since inception and the main parties have regularly alternated the power at the state level. The citizen participation in politics through media forums has left the representatives with no option but to be accountable. This has resulted in development on the health, nutritional and rural electrification sectors. Through this process the people’s opinion is forwarded to the policy makers and their needs and ideas are considered in the creation of policies to be used in administration.


China is a communist Nation that has the ruling party, Chinese Communist Party as the single party in the country. The government is made up of a National Legislature and Executive. The Executive entails the State Council that is normally approved by the legislature. It entails the State Council members and the Premier. This Council does not serve for more than two consecutive terms that last at a period of five years in each term. The Head of the State is the President who together with his Vice President has to be approved by the legislature to serve the maximum period which is tow consecutive terms of five years each. The national legislature is another arm of the political structure and it is made up of the Unicameral National People’s Congress (NPC) that entails about 2,989 members. These delegates are selected by provinces, municipalities, armed forces and autonomous regions. The NPC is the one that has the authority to approve the members of the state council and state council members (Martin, 2010).

In addition it also approves membership of the standing committee of NPC that is responsible in the case the NPC is not is session. Notably all arms of the legislature and executive all serve for a period of five year terms. Besides the central government, there are regional assemblies and administrations. In the whole republic there are 22 provinces in which there are four municipalities under the central government and five regions that are autonomous. In such assembles the local people elects the congress and all are administered by the Peoples Government. The current government was approved by the NPC in 2008. In the National Government there is a political Bureau that is known as Politburo that is party of the CCP and assists in the process of setting up policies and all the legal, administrative and executive appointments that take place in the politburo (Li, 2008).

Martin (2010), states that policy making in this country is a very important role in the political aspect. This is because it will be reflected on the economic and administrative performance of the country hence needs to be done keenly. In China the problem lies in the wilfulness; in these policies and personnel are changed on a frequent basis resulting in lack of continuity.  Hence the shortcomings in policy making are costing the country a lot of damage. Some of the policy decisions lack quality backing and have no institutional foundations like consultations, assessments or hearings. This leads to lack of responsibility hence the failures.


China and India are two nations that are heading the same place but on different lanes. Both are slowly rise to global powers die to the development process they have in pace. The political systems and structures in these countries differ greatly as one is communist single party state while the other is a federal multi-party democracy. With the expected prosperity China despite its communist approach will have to introduce some democracy by using the opinion by people in implementing policies as seen in the Peoples Daily online forum. As for India it will need to cut down on the level of corruption and come up with new approaches on the political view besides the existing one based on caste, religion and socio-economic level. In both countries if they are to achieve the targets that have been set the leaders will have to be held accountable and the opinion of the people to heard in making of policies.

Asian American Disenfranchisement Week One Discussion Board
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