AbstractBased on newly available memoirs and previously unexplored policy speeches by insiders, this article conducts a political analysis of the Chinese Communist Party’s decision to radically expand college enrollment in June 1999. I argue that the decision exemplifies a “guerrilla-style approach” to policy-making. From late March to early June of 1999 when the radical expansion policy was formulated and legitimated, the top leadership ignored opposition from the Ministry of Education (MOE), overturned established policies and assumed de facto control over MOE bureaucratic power. This abrupt, forceful, disruptive and non-professional policy intervention, which aimed to ensure regime survival in the wake of the Asian financial crisis, was antithetical to regularized educational policy-making in post-Mao China.
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