According to Politics of China,

Elections in China occur under a single-party authoritarian political system. Elections occur only at the local level, not the national level. China is among few contemporary party-led dictatorships to not hold any direct elections at the national level.

Is there an useful reason for this, or the reason for this is purely political. If it's political in nature, what does China have to gain by doing this?

  • 2
    Tradition. U.S. political parties work the same way.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 26, 2022 at 1:48
  • 3
    There were also elections in the Soviet Union (youtube.com/watch?v=vFjh8lBB6T4). Some advantages were to provide a degree of legitimacy, and to weed out really unpopular candidates (it did happen in some occasions), while, as nominations were controlled by the CPSU, not a risk of introducing "disloyal" candidates.
    – SJuan76
    Jan 26, 2022 at 11:56
  • I find this a very strange question. Are you asking what the point of elections is?
    – Allure
    Jan 27, 2022 at 2:48

1 Answer 1


The election system of the People's Republic of China is a multi-level, pyramid-shaped system of congresses where each congress is elected by the one on the level below.

  • Citizens elect the members of their local congresses
  • the local congresses elect the members of the province congresses
  • The province congresses elect the members the national congress
  • The national congress elects the national government

Which means that in the end, all political power in China is legitimized by the local elections. Although the legitimization becomes more and more indirect on higher levels and the Chinese Communist Party has considerable influence on who stands for election on every one of these levels.

  • 3
    This seems to have been similar to the system of workers' Soviets in the early USSR, so it presumably has legitimacy from the Chinese state's Marxist-Leninist roots.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 26, 2022 at 9:19
  • 1
    This may have been the most logistically viable way to organize intraparty election before the CCP became the sole political party and a ruling party.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 26, 2022 at 9:20

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