Yesterday's FT had a fascinating piece about China's lesser-known (though absolutely no less important!) Central Organisation Department:
To glean a sense of the dimensions of the organisation department’s job, conjure up a parallel body in Washington. The imaginary department would oversee the appointments of US state governors and their deputies; the mayors of big cities; heads of federal regulatory agencies; the chief executives of General Electric,ExxonMobil, Walmart and 50-odd of the remaining largest companies; justices on the Supreme Court; the editors of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, the bosses of the television networks and cable stations, the presidents of Yale and Harvard and other big universities and the heads of think-tanks such as the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation.
Such continued adherence to a distinctly authoritarian political system is among the many reasons I don't see China evolving into a 'Western-style' democracy anytime in the near future. It furthermore presents a significant hurdle to the formation of genuine strategic partnerships between China and the West, which consists primarily of democracies.