According to this Common Program article general elections are to be held on a short term to form a National People’s Congress (NPC). Prior to this general election, there will be elections on local level and a national census. The census started on June 30, 1953 and the results were published on November 1, 1954
On December 4, 1949, the central government promulgated the regulations for the RCAC and states that the ultimate approval of the founding of these RCACs lies in Beijing. "Qualifications for representatives of the Provincial People’s Congresses: All people who oppose imperialism, feudalism, bureaucratic capitalism, support the common program, and have reached the age of 18, except those suffering from mental illness and deprivation of public power, regardless of ethnicity, class, gender, faith can be elected as a representative." In this elections mayor, vice mayors, and other officials are elected.
"The primary responsibilities of the township government were: (1) carrying out decisions and orders issued by the higher governmental authorities; (2) implementing decisions made by the township people’s congress and approved by the provincial government; (3) managing and supervising work of various sections of the township government; and (4) conveying the township people’s will and opinions to higher authorities and making recommendations concerning township affairs to higher governmental authorities." In the interim period between the abolition of the military administration and the elections for the provincial and national NPC’s, the RCACs have to take over the administration. Mao Zedong remarks "We must endeavour to make a success of the conferences of people from all circles so that people from every walk of life can unite in a common effort. All matters of importance to the people's governments should be submitted to these conferences for discussion and decision. Representatives at these conferences must have the right to express their views fully; any attempt to hinder such expression is wrong.”
In reality, the participants and voters do not enjoy much freedom. The list of candidates is made up of exactly the number of candidates to be chosen. There is no competition. The CCP controls the founding of the RCACs. A year later, the situation has improved and the RCAC elects the military commander Chen Yi as mayor.
Liu Shaoqi states secret and direct elections are only possible if everyone can write and read. He posits “…in the big cities should have three sessions annually; in the medium-sized and small cities, four sessions; in a province, one session; in a district, two sessions. The Peoples' Congress in villages should meet as often as it is stipulated in the laws.” Chang (1956) remarks “It is stated that the elections up to 1953 of 13,63 7,000 people's representatives to the All-Circle Representative Conferences at all levels, with approximately 75 per cent of the representatives from the worker and peasant classes, marked the consolidation of the political leadership of the proletariat." Zhou Enlai wrote in the magazine “People’s China” of October 1950 the remark: At the end of 1950, in 20 provinces and 7 other administrative units and in the cities Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Nanjing, the first meeting or more of the RCAC are convened. In August 1949, the northeast region, which has been under CCP administration for a longer period, has even elected a people’s government: “…commanders begun to relinquish authority to civil party cadres, in part because many units under Lin Piao’s fourth field army and Nieh Jung-chen’s North China field army had been moved south to reinforce continuing military operations.” In the rural districts the CCP has decided “.. two thirds of the membership should be "elected" from "farm workers, poor peasants and new middle peasants," while one-third of the membership was to be "elected" from "old middle peasants and other working elements." Deng Xiaoping does not agree with these quotas “On March 6, 1950, regarding the case that among 196 representatives in a county conference, there were 133 peasant representatives, 19 worker representatives, and government representatives for the half of the remaining 44 quotas, he (Deng Xiaoping) criticized at the enlarged meeting of CPC East Sichuan committee that, this conference could not be called as representatives of the people from all walks of life, but peasants’ conference only, which certainly could not unite the masses and differentiate the enemy.”
The founding of RCACs in the rural areas runs into problems, mainly in south China. In the province of Guangxi only 28 Xians out of 70 in total have elected a RCAC. The party not always succeeds in controlling these RCACs completely "…profiteers representing various trades first combined and promoted one of their group to serve as a local Business Federation manager and as the standing-committee member of the local all-circles people’s representative conference. Later they bribed the chief of a tax affairs bureau and used his influence to acquire the position of business-section head in the xian people’s government." Zhou Enlai writes in the above mentioned article also about the function of the RCAC "uniting various strata, parties, groups and nationalities among the people, and enabling both the government to hear the opinions of the people and the people to understand and supervise the work of the government.” In other words, the RCACs are advisory meetings. The majority of the delegates in these RCAC are members of the mass organizations. (See
On January 13, 1953, Mao Zedong announces the time is ripe to hold general elections for the NPC and to formulate a constitution. Mao Zedong orders the other politburo members to read a list of compulsory readings and constantly intervenes in the formulation of the constitution. "...its drafting was personally directed by Mao Zedong and the CCP’s highest leaders, though some noncommunist figures also played pivotal roles in its formulation and subsequent exegeses. All of these figures were veterans of the constitutional controversies of the Republican era; and the intellectual and political currents of that time—complete with their contradictions, tensions, concerns, and priorities—inextricably shaped the enterprise." Only shortly before, Mao Zedong had a different opinion. In October 1952, Liu Shaoqi hands over a letter from Mao Zedong to Stalin, in which Mao Zedong proposes to postpone the elections and the formation of a National People’s Congress until after China has basically entered socialism. (On September 24, 1952, Mao Zedong has proposed to enter the transition period. See
According to article 6 of the Organic Law of the CPPCC, a plenary session of the CPPCC shall be summoned once every three years by the National Committee. The CCP is reluctant to hold such a plenary session or to hold an election for the NPC. The party takes the decision to postpone the elections. In October 1952, during Liu Shaoqi’s visit, he informs Stalin of this delay. Stalin is strongly against this decision. "Stalin restated his position and buttressed it with several points. First, the government of the PRC had not been elected. This allowed its enemies to question its legitimacy, and to accuse it of being nothing more than a selfproclaimed, military dictatorship. Second, the country had no official constitution. The Common Program offered little consolation here since its legitimacy and the legitimacy of all PRC law were clouded by their origin in the equally unelected CPPCC. Third, the multi-party coalition government established by the Common Program presented a grave security risk to the CCP. Many members of the minor parties had close ties to foreign countries, especially the United States and United Kingdom, and could spy on behalf of those hostile powers. Stalin argued that the CCP could solve these problems and deny its enemies propaganda points simply by holding an election in 1954, which it would surely dominate thanks to its deep reservoir of popular support and experience with mass mobilization.” In addition Hill (2017) remarks "The election and the propaganda campaign that preceded it were, despite pronouncements from the government, intimately linked to the climate of pervasive political violence that characterized the early years of the People’s Republic. Although the election was ostensibly not intended as a mass political campaign that targeted “enemies,” it is not surprising that many saw it as exactly that." The election of the NPC is an indirect election, the members of the provincial people’s congresses chose the members of the NPC. Deng Xiaoping explains this procedure by saying “… because most people were unfamiliar with national policies and the names of state leaders, subjecting top Party and government functionaries to a popular vote was impossible.” In reality, even this procedure is not followed. On July 5, 1954, the national committee of the CPPCC approved a list of candidates. The provincial people’s congresses chose almost unanimous these ‘authorized ‘candidates. "Due to the full democratic consultations before the voting, the votes garnered by the elected deputies were very concentrated: 9 received 100 per cent of the votes (539 votes); 19 received one vote less than the full vote; 3 received 2 less; 2 received 3 less; while even the lowest one received only 4 less than the full vote. Even greater uniformity was shown in the election of 46 deputies to the National People's Congress by the Kwangtung Provincial People's Congress: 'The result of the voting showed that there was no invalid vote. All the 46 elected deputies were returned on from 99 to 100 per cent of the votes cast.”
* Population in thousands.
This article 12 of the Common Program states that the All-China People’s Congress (NPC) is the supreme organ of state power. In reality the power is vested in the CCP. "According to a decision made in 1949 by the CCP Central Committee, the party committees, instead of government agencies, were the highest decision making bodies in all work units, and decisions made by these committees must be obeyed and carried out unconditionally by all government agencies, military units, and mass organizations. This arrangement was at first meant to be a temporary measure to facilitate the command of the revolutionary forces. However, after taking over power, the unified leadership was imposed on all aspects of the society, and was frequently strengthened under the influence of the party radicals. Party committees were established in every governmental organization. Party secretaries held ultimate power.36"
See also 13-08-1949 Mao Zedong appeals for unity in building a people's capital
"...negativity and resistance caused some elections to slip out of the Party’s control. In one early voting district (in Shanghai), for example, all three of the officially-nominated candidates failed to earn half of the vote and thus were not elected." Zhang (2014). Page 1077
See 14-06-1954 30th meeting CPGC and speech Mao Zedong
Stalin repeats his arguments, made in July 1949 during the visit of Liu Shaoqi. "Stalin therefore suggested that the Chinese comrades should ensure that they achieved a majority in general elections and formed a one-party government. He advised them to hold the elections in 1954 and to link them to the promulgation of a new constitution, which would have to replace the proposed “Common Program.” This constitution should not be socialist in nature, but should reflect existing social conditions. Both of these, the elections and a new constitution, were also necessary to counteract accusations “by the enemy” that the Communists had come to power by military means in China and lacked legitimacy." Heinzig (2004). Pages 224-225
11-02-1953 Election Law of the Chinese People's Republic for the All-China People's Congress and comments from Deng Xiaoping
General rules governing the organization of the conference of provincial people’s representatives of all circles. Passed Dec. 2, 1949; promulgated Dec. 4,1949.
General rules governing the organization of the conference of municipal people’s representatives of all circles. Passed Dec. 2, 1949; promulgated Dec. 4,1949.
General rules governing the organization of the conference of hsien people’s representatives of all circles. Passed Dec. 2, 1949; promulgated Dec. 4,1949.
General rules governing the organization of the conference of ch‘ü people’s representatives of all circles in large cities and municipalities. Passed Nov. 3, 1950; promulgated Nov. 13, 1950.
General rules governing the organization of the ch‘ü people’s governments in large cities and municipalities. Passed Nov. 3, 1950; promulgated Nov. 13,1950.
General rules governing the organization of the conference of ch‘ü people’s representatives of all circles. Passed Dec. 8, 1950; promulgated Dec. 30,1950.
General rules governing the organization of the conference of hsiang (or administrative ts'un) people’s representatives of all circles. Passed Dec. 8, 1950; promulgated Dec. 30, 1950.
General rules governing the organization of the ch‘ü people’s governments and ch‘ü administrative offices. Passed Dec. 8, 1950; promulgated Dec. 30,1950.
General rules governing the organization of the hsiang (or adminis¬trative ts‘un) people’s governments. Passed Dec. 8, 1950; promulgated Dec. 30, 1950.
Directive of the Government Administration Council regarding the convening of conferences of ch‘ü people’s representatives of all circles in cities with a population of more than one hundred thousand. Apr.24, 1951.
General rules governing the organization of the consultative committees of the conferences of provincial and municipal people’s repre¬sentatives of all circles. Passed Aug. 3, 1951; approved Aug. 16,1951; promulgated Aug. 18,1951.
Decision of the Government Administration Council regarding the relations among the local consultative committees at all levels. Passed Aug. 51 promulgated Aug. 18, 1951.
Opinions regarding the work of the consultative committees of the conferences of provincial and municipal people’s representatives of all circles. Passed July 19, 1951; issued Sept. 6, 1951
Notification by the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference regarding the exercising of the functions and powers of its local committees by the consultative committees of the conferences of provincial and municipal people’s representatives of all circles. Oct. 17,1951.