After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Introduction to the President 2. Qualifications of the President 3. Method of Election and Tenure 4. Powers and Functions 5. Position.
Introduction to the President:
The offices of the President and the Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China were abolished by the Constitution of 1975. Their responsibilities and powers were transferred to the Chairman of the Standing Committee.
He was made responsible for the discharge of the functions of the Head of the State of the Chinese Republic. The 1982 Constitution however restores the two offices and gives to the President of PRC the status of the Head of the State. Now Hu Jintao has taken over as the President of the PRC.
Qualifications of the President:
The following qualifications have been prescribed for the office of the President of PRC:
(a) He should be a citizen of China
(b) He must not be of less than 45 years of age
(c) He should be a duly eligible and registered voter
Method of Election and Tenure of the President:
The President of the PRC is elected by the National People’s Congress for a term of five years. Any citizen of China who is above 45 years of age, is a registered voter and is eligible to seek election, can be elected as the President of the PRC. The 1982 Constitution lays down that no person can serve or remain President for more than two consecutive terms.
Along with the President, a Vice-President is also similarly elected by the NPC. If the office of the President falls vacant, the Vice-President becomes the President. In case the office of the Vice-President falls vacant, the National People’s Congress elects a new Vice- President.
In the event of simultaneous vacation of the two offices, the Chairman of the Standing Committee becomes the acting-President and carries out the duties of the Head of the State until the election of a new President and Vice-President by the National People’s Congress.
Powers and Functions of the President:
The President of the People’s Republic of China performs all the ceremonial functions as the head of the state. He also performs several other functions which the Constitution has allocated to him.
In pursuance of the decisions and recommendations of the National People’s Congress, the President of the PRC, promulgates statutes, appoints and removes the Premier, Vice- Premiers, State Councilors, Ministers in charge of Ministries and Commissions, the Auditor General and the Secretary General of the State Council.
Upon the recommendations of the Standing Committee of the NPC, the President confers state medals and titles of honour on the people as well as grants special pardons to the criminals. Acting on the basis of the decisions of the National People’s Congress or its Standing Committee, the President proclaims martial law, a state of war and issues mobilization orders.
All such orders are issued by the President in accordance with the decisions of the National People’s Congress or its Standing Committee.
As Head of the State, the President appoints and recalls Chinese ambassadors and other diplomatic agents in foreign countries. He receives the ambassadors of foreign countries in China. All these functions are performed by him upon the recommendations of the Standing Committee of the NPC.
All the treaties concluded by the government with the foreign countries are ratified by the President. He has the power to abrogate any treaty if the circumstances so demand. These functions are again performed by the President under the advice of the Standing Committee.
In discharging his functions, the President can seek the assistance of the Vice-President. Article 82 of the Constitution states that the Vice-President “may exercise such parts of the functions and powers of the President as may be deputed by the President.” As such, he can be assigned any work by the President.
A primary responsibility of the President is to recommend the name of the person who is to be appointed as the Premier of China. The National People’s Congress can appoint the Premier only upon the recommendation made by the President of the PRC.
Position of the President:
The office of the President of the Republic is a ceremonial office. His powers and functions are formal and ceremonial. He performs all his functions, with a few exceptions, upon the recommendations of the National People’s Congress or its Standing Committee. Even the decisions of the State Council are neither announced nor implemented in the name of the President.
The 1982-Constitution, while restoring the office of the President, has not restored to him all the functions which he used to perform under the 1954-constitution. For example, he has not been assigned the power to command the armed forces, he has not been made Chairman of the National Defence Council, and his power to convene a meeting of the Supreme State Conference has been also not restored.
To sum up, we can say that the office of the President of the People’s Republic of China is a ceremonial office. He acts as the constitutional and nominal head of the State. However, when this office is held by a strong party leader, it works as a powerful office.
On 15 March 2003 Mr. Hu Jintao, the General Secretary of CPC became the Sixth President of the Peoples Republic of China and for took place previously held by Ziang Zemin. This change of guards made the office of the President more powerful and presently, Chinese political system revolves around the policies and decisions of president Hu Jintao.