Many in the Western World mistakenly believe that the National People's Congress (NPC) ultimately makes key decisions in China (similar to a "parliament" in a typical democracy). That's only true on paper. The reality is that China's Communist Party (CPC) is firmly in charge, and People's Congress basically implements and passes down the decisions made at the CPC level. NPC "votes" as they are told. In fact CPC's Politburo Standing Committee is comprised of 9 men who make the key policy decisions and China's President answers to them only (even though on paper the president is supposed to be accountable to the NPC as well). China's Premier is simply an executive that administers the President's policy on a day to day basis.
That is why the upcoming leadership transition is so important: 7 of the 9 members of the Politburo Standing committee may be changing.
The ISI Group: - The CPC is the dominant political institution in China – in fact, it’s the only game in town. The Politburo Standing Committee is the ‘head’ of the Party ‘body’ and is comprised of 9 members. 7 of the Standing Committee members will likely be replaced in 2012. New Standing Committee members will be chosen by a combination of the current Standing Committee members, Party elders, and CPC’s Central Committee.All other upcoming changes in the government are basically superficial.