China's Political Development

China's Political Development: Chinese and American Perspectives

Kenneth Lieberthal
Cheng Li
Yu Keping
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 417
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  • Book Info
    China's Political Development
    Book Description:

    China's path to political reform over the last three decades has been slow, but discourse among Chinese political scientists continues to be vigorous and forward thinking.China's Political Developmentoffers a unique look into the country's evolving political process by combining chapters authored by twelve prominent Chinese political scientists with an extensive commentary on each chapter by an American scholar of the Chinese political system. Each chapter focuses on a major aspect of the development of the Chinese Party-state, encompassing the changing relations among its constituent parts as well as its evolving approaches toward economic gorwth, civil society, grassroots elections, and the intertwined problems of supervision and corruption.

    Together, these analyses highlight the history, strategy, policies, and implementation of governance reforms since 1978 and the authors' recommendations for future changes. This extensive work provides the deep background necessary to understand the sociopolitical context and intellectual currents. behind the reform agenda announced at the landmark Third Plenum in 2013. Shedding light through contrasting perspectives, the book provides an overview of the efforts China has directed toward developing good governance, the challenges it faces, and its future direction.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-2536-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  5. Introduction Toward Good Governance in China: Perspectives of Chinese and American Scholars
    (pp. 1-38)

    China’s continued development over the past three decades since its reform and opening up and its rapid rise on the international stage have generated heated discussion and debate in Chinese and international academic circles, especially regarding political change.¹ Many questions have been raised: How should China’s political evolution be viewed? Has China’s great economic progress been accompanied by major political progress? What is the political rationale for China’s economic success? What changes has China’s economic development brought to its governance, and what further changes can be expected? Is there such a thing as Chinese-style democracy? What are the similarities and...

  6. 1 The People’s Republic of China’s Sixty Years of Political Development
    (pp. 39-72)

    The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) overthrew the rule of the Kuomintang and founded the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, marking the transition of the CCP from a revolutionary party to a ruling party, a substantial change of far-reaching significance for both the CCP and China. Thereafter, the primary task of the party and its government changed from seizing political power to consolidating it, from destroying the old state to building a new one. The foundation of the CCP’s legitimacy also gradually changed from revolution to reform and from political movement to law making. This political development advanced down...

  7. 2 Transition from a Revolutionary Party to a Governing Party
    (pp. 73-102)

    The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the core actor in China’s political system. This premier position is stipulated in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and is the reality on the ground in today’s China. Any change in the CCP will, therefore, inevitably exert deep influence on the country’s development. The CCP is now undergoing a transition. On one hand, this transition is a decisive force that is furthering China’s reform. On the other, taking place against the background of China’s reform and opening-up policy, it is a result of reform. Such complicated interactions between the CCP and...

  8. 3 The People’s Congress System and China’s Constitutional Development
    (pp. 103-135)

    In contemporary China, the National People’s Congress (NPC) is the highest organ of state power, the source of power of all other organs of state power, and the core of the country’s political system. The NPC and the local people’s congresses together constitute the people’s congress system (PCS). The people’s congress system was confirmed in the Common Program of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in 1949 and legally established in the first Constitution of the People’s Republic of China in 1954. The system was further specified in various articles of the Constitution as amended in 1982. The standard expression...

  9. 4 Political Consultation and Consultative Politics in China
    (pp. 136-164)

    Modern politics is structured around two spheres: the individuals and the state. On one hand, it stresses the rights and free development of individuals, and on the other, it emphasizes the holistic integration of the state, which provides the space for the development of individuals and ensures their safety. There is an inherent tension between the two spheres: the free development of individuals requires the protection of the state but also attempts to break through the constraints imposed by the state; the holistic integration of the state recognizes the diverse development of individuals but also requires individuals to have a...

  10. 5 The Rise of Civil Society in China
    (pp. 165-191)

    In 2008 a large signboard bearing the words “Civil Society, Grow Together” appeared in Shenzhen. According to the Publicity Department of the Shenzhen Municipal Party Committee, building “civil society” (公民社会,gongmin shehui) is one of the goals of Shenzhen’s social and urban development now and for the next several decades, while the term “grow together” expresses the vision of having different social strata, social forces, and the government work together to build a vibrant civil society.¹ This Shenzhen slogan, which epitomizes China’s reform and opening up, anticipates a new trend in China’s ongoing reform and opening up: the rise of...

  11. 6 China’s Experiments in Social Autonomy and Grassroots Democracy
    (pp. 192-220)

    Changes in wealth accumulation, governance, and social life are indispensable indicators of a country’s development. Changes of these sorts have taken place in China since the reform and opening-up period began in 1978. These changes can be examined and explained from different perspectives. Indicators can be economic, such as economic growth, the standard of living, the market system, industry structure, and income distribution; they can be political, such as ideology, the political system, and government policy; or they can be societal, such as self-government and social autonomy.

    Self-government refers to “a state where an individual or collective entity manages his/its...

  12. 7 China’s Public Service System
    (pp. 221-253)

    With China’s great increase in government fiscal revenue over the past three decades of economic reform, there has been far more government spending on public services and a significant improvement of the country’s public service system compared with the era of planned economy.¹ In the 1980s and 1990s, however, as economic growth became the core task of government at all levels owing to the influence of developmentalism, the government’s public service function and government spending on public services were comparatively neglected, which, coupled with the relative stagnation of public service system reform and construction, led to a serious shortage and...

  13. 8 Decentralization and Central-Local Relations in Reform-Era China
    (pp. 254-281)

    China’s reforms began with decentralization and eventually fundamentally changed the country’s political ecology and political process. From the reform of the rural land system in 1978 to the reform of the urban economic system in 1984, China’s moves to separate the economy from politics have begun in the rural areas and worked their way to urban areas. An unintended outcome of this change in the political-economic relationship was that the unitary state-society relationship crumbled under the emergence of social autonomy and self-organized society. These changes in both political economy and the relationship between state and society necessitated reforms of the...

  14. 9 China’s Grassroots Democracy
    (pp. 282-307)

    The institutional development of China’s grassroots democracy is an important embodiment of Chinese-style democratic politics. Since the reform and opening-up period began, China’s grassroots democracy has undergone a multifaceted transition from the countryside to the cities, from extraparty democracy to intraparty democracy, and from democratic elections to democratic governance. This trend has been spurred on in part by the central government’s macro-level policymaking and the democratic space inherent in China’s political system. It has also been closely related to citizens’ initiatives for greater political participation.

    The development of China’s system of grassroots democracy is not only a political phenomenon that...

  15. 10 China’s Interest Coordination Mechanism
    (pp. 308-339)

    Since the reform and opening-up period began, both China’s social structure and interest structure have undergone major and profound changes, and contradictions and conflicts of interest have since become a constant of social life. How to view this phenomenon, and how to coordinate these conflicts of interest, is an important subject in the study of contemporary Chinese politics.

    Scholars and policy advisers in China frequently refer to reconstructing “the interest coordination mechanism.”¹ The interest coordination mechanism established in the era of the planned economy has proved unable to cope with the complicated interest structure in the new open environment, and...

  16. 11 Contemporary China’s Decisionmaking System
    (pp. 340-365)

    Although the reform and opening up has brought extensive and profound changes to Chinese society, the basic pattern of state-led social development has not changed. The state’s leadership is basically realized through public policy formulation and implementation. To better understand China’s development, therefore, we must look at the decisionmaking system that determines and influences contemporary Chinese policy. As noted by Carol Lee Hamrin, “Reform of the Chinese system in the 1980s proceeded in cycles or waves, rather than a straight linear fashion.”¹ Each cycle began with a new policy initiated by reform leaders. The main purpose of this chapter is...

  17. 12 Building a Modern National Integrity System: Anticorruption and Checks and Balance of Power in China
    (pp. 366-396)

    Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. The possibility of the abuse of power for private gain exists as long as the principal and the entrusted agent are kept separate. The prevention of abuse of public power cannot go without supervision of power and restrictions on that power. The supervision of power is the process by which the principal uses various means to supervise the agent to ensure that power is used as intended. The restriction of power is the process by which agents are entrusted with powers in such a way that they remain subordinate and...

  18. Contributors
    (pp. 397-400)
  19. Index
    (pp. 401-417)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 418-418)