AN unprecedented number of non-communist politicians will be elevated to senior government and legislative positions at the National People's Congress, which opens in Beijing next Monday. Chinese sources yesterday said that up to 20 officials and civic leaders outside the Chinese Communist Party would be given vice-ministerial ranked positions or above in the central Government. In addition, a number of vice-chairmanships of the congress - which are on a par with vice-premiers in Chinese protocol - will be bestowed upon members of the eight ''democratic parties'' and politicians with no party affiliations. Non-communist cadres will also fill several key slots in judicial departments such as the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Earlier, the party had decided to give the ceremonial but exalted position of state vice-president to the retiring chairman of China International Trust and Investment Corporation, Mr Rong Yiren. Aside from Mr Rong, who is also chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, Professor Fei Xiaotong and Mr Li Peiyao, respectively the chairman of the China Democratic League and of the revolutionary committee of the Chinese Kuomintang,are headed for major promotions. Professor Fei, a noted sociologist and congress vice-chairman who had also been mentioned as a candidate for vice-president, will probably be given more responsibility in the congress. Mr Li, 60, a vice-minister of labour since 1989, is tipped to be the first non-communist politician to head a major ministry since the 1950s. A number of relatively young politicians from the eight democratic parties, which recently went through leadership reshuffles, will be inducted to vice-ministerial positions. In addition, four non-communist vice-chairmen of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Professor Lu Jiaxi, Mr Wang Guangying, Mr Cheng Siyuan, and Mr Pagbalha Geleg Namgyai, will be promoted to senior positions, probably vice-chairmanships, at the congress. Other rising stars from the eight parties include the vice-mayor of Beijing, Ms He Luli, Shanghai-based social scientist Mr Deng Weizhi, Tianjin-based writer Mr Feng Jicai and veteran legislator Mr Feng Zhijun. With close to 360,000 members, the eight parties represent ''patriotic'' elements among the intelligentsia, managers of state enterprises and members of the left-wing cliques of the early Kuomintang. But sources close to the congress said the exact number of full ministerial positions and congress vice-chairmanships that would be ''awarded'' to non-communists still depended on last-minute horse-trading. The sources said that after the Tiananmen Square crackdown, the Communist Party had frozen political reform. But it was ready to implement a Chinese-style political liberalisation, particularly ''multi-party consultation under Communist Party leadership''. In a dispatch yesterday, the semi-official China News Service said the eight democratic parties would play ''an increasingly important role in the country's politics, economics and social life''. It indicated that ''the perfection and strengthening of the system of multi-party co-operation and political consultation under Communist Party leadership'' would be a major initiative of political reform in the future. To underscore the new status of the democratic parties, the Communist Party's General Secretary, Mr Jiang Zemin, and the other members of the politburo Standing Committee, yesterday briefed representatives of non-communist civic leaders on the results ofthe just-ended Central Committee plenum. But political sources in Beijing said there was still opposition within the Communist Party to giving real power to members of non-communist parties and other social sectors. For example, despite advice from its own think-tanks, the Communist Party has stopped short of inducting members of the fast-booming class of private entrepreneurs to the higher echelons of government. Moreover, non-communist figures handpicked by the leadership tend to be ''patriotic'' politicians who can be trusted to toe the party line. The official New China News Agency reported that at the briefing session yesterday, representatives from the democratic parties gave their ''unanimous support'' to the slate of candidates for senior state positions that the Communist Party would present to the congress. Despite their elevated status, the eight democratic parties still depend on the financial support of the Communist Party.