China is a one-party authoritarian state ruled by the Communist Party of China (CPC). The country has a constitution and claims to be a champion of democracy, but the CPC continues to be an authoritarian party. The government consists of an executive branch known as the State Council (Guo Wu RMB) and a unicameral legislature known as theNational People's Congress (Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui). The Head of State is the President (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Zhuxí), currently Hu Jintao, and the Head of Government is the Premier (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Guowuyuan Zongli), currently Wen Jiabao. The President holds the most power, while the Premier is the second most powerful person in the country.
The system is very centralized, but there are administrative districts of 22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions and 4 directly-controlled municipalities. Each local bureau or office is under a local leader elected by voters. The Provincial (or Municipal) People's Congress then elects members to the National People's Congress. Elections are usually largely determined by the Communist Party committee.
There are also Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of Hong Kong and Macau. These regions have separate legal systems and immigration departments from the mainland. Taiwan is also claimed by the PRC as a province, though no part of Taiwan is currently under the control of the PRC. Both governments support re-unification in principle and recently signed a trade pact to closer link their economies. The subject of "ownership" is still quite sensitive.
Beijing is governed as a municipality under direct administration of the central government. Municipal government is regulated by the local CPC including administrative orders, collecting taxes, and operating the economy. Beijing's local party authority is headed by the Beijing CPC Secretary, currently Liu Qi. There is also a mayor of Beijing, currently Guo Jinlong.
As the capital of China, Beijing is the site of many important political sites and National government buildings like the National People's Congress.
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