Decentralized Authoritarianism in China: The Communist Party's Control of Local Elites in the Post-Mao Era

Decentralized Authoritarianism in China: The Communist Party's Control of Local Elites in the Post-Mao Era

Pierre F. Landry

Language: English

Pages: 316

ISBN: 0521882354

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

China, like many authoritarian regimes, struggles with the tension between the need to foster economic development by empowering local officials and the regime's imperative to control them politically. Landry explores how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) manages local officials in order to meet these goals and perpetuate an unusually decentralized authoritarian regime. Using unique data collected at the municipal, county, and village level, Landry examines in detail how the promotion mechanisms for local cadres have allowed the CCP to reward officials for the development of their localities without weakening political control. His research shows that the CCP's personnel management system is a key factor in explaining China's enduring authoritarianism and proves convincingly that decentralization and authoritarianism can work hand in hand.

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Daily, January 14, 1981. CCP Organization Department Research Office (1990: 58). In September 1981, the Organization Department summoned seven provinces to a special conference to review all aspects of personnel policy. The COD made the unusual decision to publish the minutes of the meeting, perhaps in an effort to demonstrate that the seven provinces in question (Guangdong, Qinghai, Yunnan, Jilin, Shanxi, Jiangxi, and Jiangsu) actively supported cadre policy (CCP Organization Department Research

cards of the country’s 30 These regulations and their consequences are discussed in the following chapters. 52 ∗ Also bureau head r Provincial deputy bureau head r Provincial governor r Vice governor r Provincial r Bureau heads r Vice mayor heads r Deputy bureau r Bureau heads r Vice mayors r Bureau heads r Deputy bureau heads r Mayor City under Provincial Line Item∗ heads r Deputy bureau r Bureau heads magistrate magistrate r Deputy county r County Ordinary County

Within Game theoretic models of politics have long established that both the nature and the quality of information available to players are critical to the understanding of political outcomes (Schelling, 1960; Fudenberg and Tirole, 1991; Rasmusen, 1989). They contrast games in which players share a substantial body of common knowledge about the structure constraining their choices, as well as the identity, capabilities, and preferences of all participants, with games of incomplete or imperfect

disparities, and concerns about the political consequences of these disparities have also mounted (Wang Shaoguang, 1995, Hu et al., 1995; Hu and Wang, 1996).With greater decentralization, distinct interest groups compete for power and influence both across and within localities. When the size of the planned economy diminishes and local governments are empowered to make effective economic policy decisions, upper levels of government relinquish operational decision making to lower levels,

Without proper institutional controls, China’s decentralized governance threatens to weaken the political authority of the center. maintaining political control during decentralization Thus, despite the political risks of economic decentralization, the Chinese Party-state presents us with the case of an enduring authoritarian regime that has thrived rather than decayed in the era of decentralization. As Susan Whiting puts it, “the relative stability of CCP rule, in contrast to the loss of power

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