Chinese Politics Reading Notes.docx

Conflict necessarily involves the struggle for power

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conflict necessarily involves the struggle for power, that the struggle for power is ultimately a “game to win all,” and hence the belief that compromise should be tactical rather than an integral part of the political process. The relationship between Deng and Chen had a major impact on the distribution of power below the apex of the system and on the decision-making process. It is important to note that Deng’s subordinates, Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, who were charged with carrying out the reforms, existed on a distinctly different political level from that of Deng, Chen, and the other elders. Two important aspects of politics in the Dengist period: Chen Yun’s role as the proponent of a policy line, perhaps one should say latent policy line, that differed significantly from that espoused by Deng. Very carefully constructed balances that Deng established to maintain the stability of the party while still biasing the structure toward his own policy agenda To say that deng maintained a balance among different forces within the party neither suggests that those forces were fixed and unchanging nor that Deng acted simply as
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one of the many forces within the party On the contrast, the balances constructed or maintained by Deng were intended to reinforce Deng’s role as the core of the party and therefore to support his policy line This system of checks and balances was crafted out of an intermingling of informal politics and bureaucratic institutions The structure of power meant that policy decisions that are suboptimal because they are designed to parry opponents, rather than to reach compromise, are almost certain to lead to counterattacks when their flaws become evident in the implementation process. Second and more important is the basic assumption of Chinese politics that power is monistic and indivisible, and hence that compromise is tactical rather than fundamental The fall of socialism in Eastern Europe in the fall of 1989 exacerbated intraparty tensions in China, even as international tensions fed domestic doubts about China’s policy of opening up The failure of the so-called “double-guarantee” system, the escalation of inter enterprise debts, and the dramatic decline in the profits of state-owned enterprises punctured conservatives’ illusions about the viability of a restoration of the old planning system. Perhaps the most consistent and indeed ominous feature of Chinese politics in the reform era has been the continuation of the interrelated notions that power is monistic, that one person must emerge as the core of the political system and that policy is linked to power through political line Another factor that has affected the conduct of elite politics is simply the growing complexity of managing a nation with a large and rapidly growing economy, diverse and frequently conflicting interests, and a wide range of international interests and commitments.
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