United Front (China)

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United Front
Simplified Chinese统一战线
Traditional Chinese統一戰線
Socialist United Front
Simplified Chinese社会主义统一战线
Traditional Chinese社會主義統一戰線
Patriotic United Front
Simplified Chinese爱国(主义)统一战线
Traditional Chinese愛國(主義)統一戰線
People's Democratic United Front (1945–1966)[1]
Simplified Chinese人民民主统一战线
Traditional Chinese人民民主統一戰線
Revolutionary United Front
Simplified Chinese革命统一战线
Traditional Chinese革命統一戰線
Part of a series on the
Politics of China

The United Front (Chinese: 统一战线; pinyin: Tǒngyī Zhànxiàn) in China is a popular front of the legally permitted parties in the country, led by the Communist Party of China (CPC). Besides the CPC, it includes eight minor parties and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce. It is managed by the CPC Central Committee United Front Work Department (Chinese: 中共中央统一战线工作部). Its current department head is You Quan.[3]. The member parties of the Front are completely subservient to the CPC, and must accept the "leading role" of the CPC as a condition of their continued existence.[4]


The CPC organized the "National Revolution United Front"(國民革命統一戰綫) with the Kuomintang during the Northern Expedition of 1926-1928 and then the "Workers' and Peasants' Democratic United Front"(工農民主統一戰綫) in the Chinese Soviet Republic era of 1931-1937. Mao Zedong originally promoted the "Anti-Japanese National United Front"(抗日民族統一戰綫) -- the name indicating that the proletarian Chinese Communists had united with the bourgeoisie against Imperial Japan[5] -- in the 1930s. It "assumed its current form" in 1946,[6] three years before the Chinese Communist Party defeated the Republican Kuomintang ("Nationalist") government of Chiang Kai-shek. Mao credited the United Front as one of his "Three Magic Weapons" against the Kuomintang -- alongside the Leninist Chinese Communist party and the Red Army[7] -- and credited the Front with playing a part in his victory.[6]

Constitutional status[edit]

The United Front holds no real power independent of the Communist Party of China; it exists mainly to give non-Communist forces a platform in the society of the People's Republic.[8] The CPC's relationship with other parties is based on the principle of "long-term coexistence and mutual supervision, treating each other with full sincerity and sharing weal or woe."[4] Its leaders are mostly selected by the Communist Party, or are themselves CPC members.[9] This process is institutionalized in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).[4] Although China is a de facto one-party state, the United Front parties have nominal representation in the National People's Congress.

"In building socialism it is essential to rely on workers, peasants and intellectuals and to unite all forces that can be united. In the long years of revolution and construction, there has been formed under the leadership of the Communist Party of China a broad patriotic united front which is composed of the democratic parties and people’s organizations and which embraces all socialist working people, all builders of socialism, all patriots who support socialism, and all patriots who stand for the reunification of the motherland. This united front will continue to be consolidated and developed. The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a broadly based representative organization of the united front which has played a significant historical role, will play a still more important role in the country’s political and social life, in promoting friendship with other countries and in the struggle for socialist modernization and for the reunification and unity of the country. The system of the multi-party cooperation and political consultation led by the Communist Party of China will exist and develop for a long time to come."

—Preamble of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China[10]

United Front Democratic Parties[edit]

In the official order of precedence:
  1. Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang (中国国民党革命委员会; Zhōngguó Guómíndǎng Gémìngwěiyuánhuì)
  2. China Democratic League (中国民主同盟; Zhōngguó Mínzhǔ Tóngméng)
  3. China Democratic National Construction Association (中国民主建国会; Zhōngguó Mínzhǔ Jiànguó Huì)
  4. China Association for Promoting Democracy (中国民主促进会; Zhōngguó Mínzhǔ Cùjìnhuì)
  5. Chinese Peasants' and Workers' Democratic Party (中国农工民主党; Zhōngguó Nónggōng Mínzhǔdǎng)
  6. China Party for Public Interest (中国致公党; Zhōngguó Zhìgōngdǎng)
  7. September 3 Society (九三学社; Jǐusān Xuéshè)
  8. Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League (台湾民主自治同盟; Táiwān Mínzhǔ Zìzhì Tóngméng)

All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce[edit]


The two organs affiliated with United Front are the United Front Work Department and the more high-profile Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). According to Yi-Zheng Lian, the organs "are often poorly understood outside China because there are no equivalents for them in the West".[6]

United Front Work Department[edit]

The United Front Work Department is headed by the chief of the secretariat of the CCP's Central Committee. It oversees a dozen organizations such as the European and American Alumni Association. It helps (for example) Chinese students and academics training or residing in the West, enjoining them to conduct "people diplomacy" on behalf of the People's Republic of China.[6]

Electoral history[edit]

National People's Congres elections[edit]

Election year Number of seats
2,978 / 2,978
2,979 / 2,979
2,979 / 2,979
2,979 / 2,979
2,984 / 2,984
2,987 / 2,987
2,987 / 2,987
2,970 / 2,970


  1. ^ 1954 Constitution, http://www.npc.gov.cn/wxzl/wxzl/2000-12/26/content_4264.htm
  2. ^ 1975 Constitution: http://www.npc.gov.cn/wxzl/wxzl/2000-12/06/content_4362.htm; 1978 Constitution: http://www.npc.gov.cn/wxzl/wxzl/2000-12/06/content_4365.htm
  3. ^ http://www.zytzb.gov.cn/tzb2010/youquan/ldzc_yq.shtml
  4. ^ a b c "IV. The System of Multi-Party Cooperation and Political Consultation". China.org.cn. Retrieved 2018-02-23.
  5. ^ Compare: "Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung. INTRODUCING THE COMMUNIST: October 4, 1939". Marxist.org. October 4, 1939. Retrieved 21 May 2018. Although the united front was formed and has been maintained for three years now, the bourgeoisie, and especially the big bourgeoisie, has constantly been trying to destroy our Party, the big bourgeois capitulators and die-hards have been instigating serious friction throughout the country, and the anti-Communist clamour is incessant. All this is being used by the big bourgeois capitulators and die-hards to prepare the way for capitulating to Japanese imperialism, breaking up the united front and dragging China backwards. Ideologically, the big bourgeoisie is trying to "corrode" communism, whilst politically and organizationally it is trying to liquidate the Communist Party, the Border Region and the Party's armed forces.
  6. ^ a b c d Lian, Yi-Zheng (21 May 2018). "China Has a Vast Influence Machine, and You Don't Even Know It". New York Times. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  7. ^ Compare: "Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung. INTRODUCING THE COMMUNIST: October 4, 1939". Marxist.org. October 4, 1939. Retrieved 21 May 2018. [...] our eighteen years of experience have taught us that the united front, armed struggle and Party building are the Chinese Communist Party's three "magic weapons", its three principal magic weapons for defeating the enemy in the Chinese revolution.
  8. ^ New Approaches to the Study of Political Order in China, by Donald Clarke, Modern China, 2009.
  9. ^ Judicial politics as state-building, Zhu, Suli, Pp. 23–36 in Stéphanie Balme and Michael W. Dowdle (eds.), Building Constitutionalism in China.New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  10. ^ Constitution of the People's Republic of China. The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China. Retrieved on 23 February 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]