China is currently ruled by a group of nine autocrats, who reached this position through personal connections. They were not elected in a competitive election. Their formal power comes from their positions in the Politburo, which is also an elite group of individuals. The politburo controls the Military Affairs Commission, the National Peoples Congress, and the State Council.
The MAC is ANOTHER group of elite individuals (pattern?) who â€œcontrolâ€ the PLA, along with its nukes. I say â€œcontrolâ€ because they are dependent on each other. The Politburo needs to PLA to assure their control (like during Tiananmen) and the MAC needs the Politburo for funding. Appointment to the MAC requires no military background, just a nice set of connections. The PLA itself is just the military arm of the CCP. All officers are in the party. These guys just have a different kind of leverage than the civilians.
The National Peoples Congress is pretty worthless. While it was meant to be one of the more powerful organs in the Chine...
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