Similar to the government of the United States, China's government is divided into three branches--the executive, the legislative and the judicial branch. However, the manner in which officials are elected and appointed and the role each branch has in government differ markedly from the United States' system.
The executive branch is currently headed by President Hu Jintao, who serves as the chief of state. The President (and Vice President are elected by the legislative branch (known as the National People's Congress (NPC) for a five-year term. The President nominates, and the NPC confirms, the state's Premier and Vice Premier who serve to head the country's civil bureaucracy. China's current premier is Wen Jibao. The NPC also appoints the president's cabinet.
The legislative branch of the Chinese government is the NPC, a unicameral legislative body which is elected through a series of electoral systems in which the people serve as the base electorate. The NPC has 2,987 seats and members sit five-year terms.
The judicial branch is comprised of a Supreme People's Court, a Local People's Court and Special People's Court. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. Judges on the Supreme Court are appointed by the NPC. The Local People's court comprises intermediate appeals courts as well as basic trial-level courts. The Special People's Court is a series of specialized courts that exercise jurisdiction over matters including military, maritime, railway and forestry affairs.
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