This paper tries to find out if China’s political system is becoming more specialized and institutionalized in the reform era by examining the structure of the legislative committees. After examining changes made to the composition of the NPC committees, the paper concludes that the policy of rejuvenation has actually made it hard for the seniority system to take root. The average time served by members of the legislative committees is on the decline, adding additional challenge to the stability of the institution. Although size of the committees has been enlarged and daily operations have been regularized, the autonomy of the legislative committees is obviously still fragile. While the party’s presence might not be as predominant as before, 80% of the committee members are still CCP party members. In general the level of education among committee members is pretty high, but professionalism remains a distant goal. The same old rule of proportional representation under which different segments of the population is proportionally represented is still in place, sapping the efforts of professionalization. Overall, it is found that specialization and institutionalization are still restricted. In the foreseeable future, it is not unimaginable that more professionalization might accrue but it is long way off towards the goal of being a full-fledged legislature of which autonomy is an essential part.
106th American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, September 4-7, 2010, Washington, D.C.