Since 2003, the Rushan Municipality had been exploring Intra-Party Democracy at the Municipal, Township, and Village levels. Over the past four years, Rushan has put in place a series of institutional arrangements to promote development of Intra-party Democracy:
- Municipal Level: A standing system has been adopted by the CPC Congress of Representatives, top leaders of government departments are elected, and a voting system involving all committee members is used for significant decisions.
- Township Level: Direct elections of the Secretary of the CPC Committee and Party Representatives is carried out selectively, and additional representatives from enterprises and rural areas are absorbed into the CPC Committee.
- Village Level: The Secretary of the Party Branch is directly elected in selected villages. Where distance education is easily available in the villages, candidate publicity and democratic supervision is conducted.
- Revised Management System: In addition, the Party members' results orientation is strengthened by using a system of goal and commitment management with Party members throughout the city.
This innovation is significant because it has expanded Intra-party Democracy to the municipal, township, and village levels. This differs from other innovations which have merely developed Intra-party Democracy in a specific area or at a limited level. The program is also holistic in its approach to using available resources such as allowing more representatives to participate in democratic recommendations, implementing the commitment and goal management system, using the distance education network, and optimizing the structure of CPC Committee Members at the township level.
In addition, the system is novel in its approaches: direct election is not restricted to the CPC; it facilitates construction of village level democracy which is conducive to village autonomy; and it undertakes activities to strengthen Party leadership and promote Intra-party Democracy. For example, before the election of the Village Party Branch Secretary, a careful field investigation was carried out by the superior CPC Committees (at municipal or township levels). The committees then completed a three-year development plan for the village, this plan then became the theme of the election speech for candidates. As a result of this focus, the election is being gradually guided on a more realistic and pragmatic path.
Rushan's reform, which includes encouraging citizens to express their concerns so that the Party can meet their demands, has reinforced the role of CPC's leadership. It also allows the CPC to enjoy higher prestige among the people and consolidates the ruling foundation of the Party. Party-mass and cadre-mass relationships have also improved. Joint democracy construction at municipal, township and village levels make it possible for talented cadres to be transferred to CPC members and the masses. They now have a stronger voice in supervising, selecting, and appointing cadres. In addition, the sense of responsibility and the consciousness of Party members and cadres have been strengthened markedly. Finally, scientific and democratic decision-making has helped to streamline government departments and boost the efficiency of CPC.
Intra-party Democracy Construction in Rushan has attracted positive public attention and been extensively reported on by news media including the Xinhua News Agency, People's Daily, and China Youth Daily. While the project has obtained significant results, innovators look forward to spreading lessons learned to more regions. They also plan to continue exploring new approaches to further strengthen Intra-party Democracy.