I got some good constructive feedback from peer review. I am now reading about the ‘Panchayet system’ of Nepal which Riaz and Basu (2007) defines as ‘Quasi-Democracy’. There are multiple players and stakes throughout the political history of Nepal, which I am struggling to figure out how to incorporate in my research paper – the king with constitutional power, the Maoist rebels, the elected political party at the parliament, multiple ethnic groups with their agenda. There is India as well, a powerful neighbor which has the power to influence national politics and economics as well. To add more complexity, none of the parties of the game played as a unified force. They had dissents and conflicts within the group which led to further political insurgency and instability.
In Monday’s reading, we push further into Dickson’s argument by examining the various strategies the CCP uses for maintaining political legitimacy among the general Chinese population. Two themes in particular–the role of Chinese civil society in providing a measure of “voice” for Chinese citizens and the role of public goods provision in “buying” mass support for the CCP–play a large part in Dickson’s analysis. Focusing on one or the other, please evaluate the degree to which you see the CCP’s efforts at offering the Chinese public what it seems to want while maintaining strict political control is successful.
China’s Communist Party, otherwise known as the CPC, walks a thin line on keeping their authoritative rule and maintaining stability within the state. The actions undertaken by the CCP involve both negative and positive rule. They engage in various methods of suppression of both the people and potential political opponents, they actively censor state media and internet access, and they have shown their willingness to use force to silence dissonance. At the same time, they promote economic development, modernization, actively fight corruption, and promote strong levels of Chinese nationalism. Through this balance of legitimacy and suppression the CPC has been able to adapt and maintain their hold since 1950.
The CPC has been especially good in finding the right balance of resource allocation and authoritative rule. Internet monitoring and dissent suppression have been successful in silencing any reformist ideas. The CPC is also quick to responding to and mediating any unpopular policy such as current reforms of the hukou systems. The CPC is by no means an egalitarian party as demonstrated by the massacre at Tiananmen square and frequent arrest of political opponents. Their biggest strength is general support of their people however, with increasing levels of globalization and flow of information it is going to become increasingly difficult to monitor and control Chinese citizens access to information.
Here goes the bibliography of my research paper.
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Banarjee, Sikata. 1998. “Political Secularization and the Future of Secular Democracy in India: The Case of Maharastra.” Asian Survey 907-927.
Barro, Robert J. 1999. “Determinants of Democracy.” Journal of Political Economy S158-S183.
Betancourt, Roger and Gleason, Suzanne. 2000. “The Allocation of Publicly-Provided Goods to Rural Households in India: On Some Consequences of Caste, Religion and Democracy.” World Development 2169-2182.
Bhalotra, Sonia, Irma Clots-Figueras, and Iyer, Lakshmi Cassanm Guilhem. 2012. “Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 4-17.
Bhargava, Rajib. 2003. “The Cultural Nationalism of the New HIndu.” Politics Abroad 11-17.
Bhattacharjee, Malini. 2016. “Seva, Hindutva, and the Politics of Post-Earthuake Relief and Reconstruction in Rural Kutch.” Asian Ethnology 75-104.
Cesari, Jocelyne. 2016. “Religion and Democratisation: When and How it matters.” Journal of Religious and Political Practices 131-134.
Coleman, Jennifer. 2008. “Authoring (In)Authenticity, Regulating Religious Tolerance.” Cultural Dynamics 245-277.
Cossman, Brenda and Kapur, Ratna. 1997. “Secularism’s Last Sigh?: The Hindu Right, the Courts, and India’s Struggle for Democracy.” Harverd International Law Journal 113-170.
Elshtain, Jean Bethke. 2009. “Religion and Democracy.” Journal of Democracy 5-17.
Ganguly, Sumit. 2003. “The Crisis of Indian Secularism.” Journal of Democracy 11-25.
Kaviraj, Sudipta. 2000. “Modernity and Politics in India.” American Academy of Arts and Sciences (The MIT Press) 137-162.
Kaviraj, Sudipta. 1997. “Religion and Identity in India.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 325-244.
Lijphart, Arend. 1996. “The Puzzle of Indian Democracy: A Consociational Interpretation.” Americal Political Science Association 258-268.
Mahajan, Gurpreet, and Surinder S. Jodha. 2009. Religions, Democrary, and Governance: Spaces for the Marginalized in Contemporary India. Working Paper , New Delhi: Religions and Development Research Programme.
Mitra, Subrata K. 2013. “The Ambivalent Moderation of Hindu Nationalism in India.” Australian Journal of Political Science 269-285.
Nussbaum, Martha. 2008. “The Clash Within: Democracy and the Hindu Right.” Journal of Human Development 357-375.
Ogden, Chris. 2012. “A Lasting Legacy: The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance and India’s Politics.” Journal of Contemporary Asia.
Perrett, Roy W. 1997. “Teligion and Politics in India: Some Philosophical Perspectives.” Religious Studies 1-14.
Rudolph, Susanne H., and Rudoplph, Lioyd I. 2002. “New Dimensions in Indian Democracy.” Journal of Democeacy 52-66.
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Stepan, Alfred C. 2000. “Religion, Democracy, and the “Twin Tolerations.” Journal of Democracy 37-57.
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Varshney, Ashutosh. 2014. “Hindu Nationalism in Power?” Journal of Democracy 34-45.
China’s Communist Party has an overwhelming amount of strengths. The main ingredient for it its success, Youwei argues, is its “authoritarian adaptation” – meaning, “the use of policy reforms to substitute for fundamental institutional change”.
Ironically, Youwei argues that by revamping and encouraging economic development, it is easy to see that China’s hold on power rests in its ability to provide goods over protecting rights. Does this mean that China has succeeded in distributing “just the right amount” of resources so as not to encourage revolts? (Youwei asks whether this makes China exceptional as a state).
According to Mesquita and Smith’s “The Dictator’s Handbook”, we should be seeing the demise of China’s regime, as they argue that in order to maintain power, autocracies should focus on distributing resources at a small amount (so as not to create too much demand).
So how is China maintaining itself? According to Youwei (and I completely agree) – China’s lack of tolerance with security (freedom of speech, restricted media access, etc.) is a way for the government to maintain control and stamp out any potential reformist ideas. By keeping an eye on everything (“Big Brother” as Youwei calls it), the CCP can ensure that there are major benefits through access to resources. “a regime relying on performance legitimacy needs continued economic growth to maintain itself in power.” Slowing of growth is a weakness of authoritarian regimes – something that can cause the end of rule.
Strengths: I think some of the strongest parts about the Chinese is their economic development and allowing just a bit to satisfy the people of China. Reforms under the CCP since Mao has allowed China to slowly develop, but it has also allowed them to control their power in China. Economic development I believe has been one of the single most important factor in the CCP reataining power, and why I believe they are a unique case to the modernization theory. It has also been their ability to be self-interested in giving in a little and making concessions to the Chinese people.
I believe the weakness of the Chinese government is their lack of modernization when it comes to the democratization process and also the free-flowing information. However, this could be not a weakness because there are many Chinese students that study abroad all over the world, and they return to China and there seems to be no contentious problems in other parts of the region such as Hong Kong and Taiwan.
It will be interesting to see how far the Chinese government is willing to bend to make concessions with the citizens of China. However, the culture and economic development I believe fits well with the unique case of China and modernization theory.
While I need to make up with my blog pots, I think China case sounds unique to write on.
Chinese authoritarian regime, economic growth and influence around the world spark a hot debate regarding CCP rules and future prospects. It seems that CCP strategies for survival have strong network. Above all, I think the party does an excellent job in choosing leaders who adapt and create new ways of convincing the people that they are still relevant and good for their country. In every regime, the rulings elite wants support which CCP has and mustered strategic ways on how to maintain it.
Although it seems that China begins to show signs of equilibrium stagnation as Youwei highlighted, but he as recognise that democratization process in china must begin from within. This poses the question as who will kick off hard reforms and bring about democracy China. Is CCP legitimacy genuine or out of fear? Most civil society organizations are aligning themselves with the government in order to get recognition. The security network and informants are everywhere and the ruling party seems intact and ready to respond to any opposition the situation that is dangerous for anyone to speak against the regime. In my view China will fall when they will have weak leadership which may cause crack within CCP and not necessarily economic downturn or modernization which seem to be challenged already.
China’s opening up is regarded as a weakness that may bring the regime to the fall. However, it seems that CCP leaders are musters of their own destiny. They know to give and take just the right amount hence sophisticated they have become in using repression and violence at the same time doing well in redistribution of public goods.
Like any Authoritarian Government, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has the ultimate goal of staying in the power. To fulfill this goal, they have been successfully applying the ‘carrots and sticks’ combination. CCP emphasized more on economic growth through modernization. By doing this, the party improved the living standard of the citizens. However, the living standard did not improve for all. CCP mostly allowed the people who would be a support for the party. This is one way they have been managing their affiliates or social elites. On the other hand, the party is rigorously repressing the dissent opinions and restricting information. Even after having the total control over everything, the party is gaining the popular support through promoting nationalism. CCP has been able to establish that the party has an international influence based on traditional Chinese values.
Seth in his blog correctly articulated the strategy that, CCP has been able to adapt with the change allowing just the right amount needed to stay in power. CCP brought many ‘reforms’ that are not intended to make China democratic, rather the changes altered the state-society relationship. Dickson mentioned the strategy as ‘combination of legitimation, co-optation and repression’. The long term weakness also lies in the combination as well. The inclusion of social elites has potential to lose the party cohesion and the economic growth may lead to public expectation for more openness.
As we’ve learned so far, most political aims, whether it be democratization or continuance of authoritarian power, require a tricky balancing act between the elites, institutions, and the public. Proper planning can only get you so far, and the ability to adapt, mixed with external and internal factors, and just the right amount of luck and timing, are likely to have just as strong an effect as proper planning. In his book, The Dictator’s Dilemma, Dickson outlines how every prediction regarding the inevitable collapse of the CCP and the ensuing democratization in China has neglected a key aspect which I mentioned- the CCP’s ability to adapt.
During the Post-Mao period, the CCP has done a undeniably impressive Goldilocks approach to their maintenance of power and authority. Not only has it identified and prioritized the areas in which to focus their efforts in order to maintain public support (such as keeping personal incomes on the rise rather than overall GDP) but it has done so by doing “just the right amount, not too much, and not too little”. This is the CCP’s ability to adapt, and their strategy for survival. As Dickson outlines, this applies to nearly every sector of Chinese political, economic, and social life. There has been just the right amount of economic reform and modernization, consolidating support (and thus power) through the rise of personal incomes, without needing to overly-focus on matching that rise in aggregate economic growth. There has been just the right amount of political reform, by increasing consultation and responsiveness to public opinion, though still always in support of the Party, and without developing any real and transparent accountability. There has been just the right amount of public goods distribution, such as education, healthcare, and poverty alleviation. This goes against the Mesquita argument of “bad policy, good politics” for authoritarian regimes, as the CCP’s biggest threat does not truly seem to come from insider elites, but public support, so distribution of resources to the public instead of elites is a key tact of the Party. There has been just the right amount of NGO support and assistance, which further increases public resources and support. There has been just the right amount of allowance for a civil society, which relates back to both NGO support and consultation on important issues and responsiveness to the public. There has been just the right amount of nationalism and traditional values, especially as it pertains to Confucius traditions and practices in society, and the Party equating patriotism with Party support. There has been just the right amount of repression and control of information, as the CCP allows for the opening of certain informational channels, outlets, and access to media, while also limiting the space for dissenting perspectives and historical accounts. And lastly, there has been just the right amount of democratic progress to keep Chinese citizens believing that progress is being made towards democracy, while still conceding that China is still “just not ready yet”. It has been this balancing act and ability to adapt which has allowed the CCP to remain in power for almost 3 decades, all while maintain high levels of public support. However, Dickson makes the important note that while these short-term benefits and adaptations have allowed this to continue, it is uncertain what the long-term costs and what issues may arise in the future for the CCP.
One more quick remindet that we’re not meeting today. I’ll see you all Monday!