One of the most important aspects of the Chinese authoritarian regime is the overwhelmingly leading role played by the 'party-state' in the whole policy process. Instead of being at the centre of public debate, policy issues are mostly considered and discussed among party and government organizations, especially amongst a few powerful elites. Furthermore, thanks to the absence of the popular representation characteristic of Western democracy, the Chinese party-state holds a relatively autonomous position in the policy process. The monopolistic role of this party-state and its elite in forming the policy agenda renders the policy process distinctly different from and less transparent than its counterpart in western democracies.