About Beijing

Government and Economy

All citizens of the People’s Republic of China who are 18 or older have the right to vote and stand for election to become a deputy in the national legislative body, the National People’s Congress (NPC). Elections are by secret ballot and the NPC is elected for 5 years at a time. The NPC enacts laws and amends the constitution. The parliament building for the NPC is the Great Hall of the People on the western side of Tiananmen Square. Most positions of power within government are held by members of the Communist Party of China, which is controlled by the Politburo Standing Committee, a small group of 4 to 9. The municipal government of Beijing administers city issues.

() Monument to the People's Heroes of the Revolution.
Great Hall of the People in Background.
Tiananmen Square.

Metropolitan Beijing is a major economic engine in China. In 2008 Beijing’s nominal GDP was $150 billion US and its economy, like that of China as a whole, has been growing rapidly. Finance is a major sector, with Beijing Financial Street being its economic center. Beijing’s Central Business District is the base of corporate regional headquarters, upscale retail and housing. Zhongguancun, on the city’s outskirts, is known as China’s Silicon Valley and is a hub of the electronics and computer industry. Beijing is also known as a retail and tourism center. Almost 100,000 people (Chinese Parliament Hall) Chinese Parliament Hall visit Wangfujing Street, one of Beijing’s major shopping districts, every day. Beijing is also known for pirated items including “brand name” clothing and accessories, music and movies. The rapid expansion of Beijing’s industrial, commercial and residential sectors has led to challenges with air pollution, water quality, congestion, and frequent “power saving” programs. To reduce smog, some heavy industries are being encouraged to relocate elsewhere. In order to counter the challenge of the global recession the national government is investing heavily in infrastructure projects which should benefit Beijing’s economy in both the short and long term.