Carrots and Sticks: The CCP’s Strategy for Survival



The CCP has managed to hold onto power in China for a long time now–and its strategy seems, as Dickson comments, to be a combination of carrots and sticks. It gives out some power to the people (carrots) while also making sure that it represses any potential threats to their power (sticks). Their ability to hold onto power comes through legitimation, co-optation and repression. These are their strengths–seeing as how the effectiveness of these have heavily contributed to their ability to hold onto power in China. As it concerns repression, they manage to repress any real or perceived threats through repressing people who might assert other views as well as censoring most flows of information. This was evidenced in our previous readings as repression of certain groups is smart for authoritarian governments. The weakness of this tactic is that this is costly in time, talent and money and requires a decent amount of strategy.

In order to assert legitimation, China has worked to create an environment in which people’s incomes increase–this has worked well in China as it has led to popular support of the CCP. They have also sought to consult and deliberate with the people when it comes to certain parts of the decision-making process in Chinese government and policy–this makes people feel like they have a stake in the game. However, a weakness to this strategy was discussed in both Bueno de Mesquita and Smith and Schmitter and O’Donnell–it becomes a real threat to staying in power when you start giving out more power. It starts the ignition of a fire in people to have more rights and more ability to participate and have a say in governance. This could be potentially dangerous for the CCP in the future. This might be one their greatest weaknesses in their attempts to hold onto power going forward.


The book, The Dictator’s Dilemma seems to conclude that the CCP has successfully held on to power because most of Chinese citizens are content when their personal incomes rises. However, the regime does not solely rely on economic stimulation to hold power. President Xi Jinping also uses repression through the internet, and other methods along with focus groups and hundreds of non-governmental organisations to discover what is on his people’s minds. What cannot be allowed, he makes clear, are open calls for Western-style democracy, an end to Party rule, or struggles for ethnic freedom. Other strategies the Party has implemented for securing not just obedience but a considerable degree of approval, as long as people feel satisfied with their individual economic well-being, are Confucianism, nationalism, and the dislike of Western policies urging genuine democracy, which are generally seen as intrusions into Chinese sovereignty.

Research Journal # 8

Brief History of Hindu Nationalism: So, when did the Hindu nationalism start? What was the purpose of it? Literatures suggest that it was during the British period when the “Hindu nationalism” started to rise on popularity. Before the British period, there was the presence of religious rigidity and exclusion based on Hindu philosophy, but the political movement can only be dated back to the British period. With the hand of British philosophical expansion and educational system in late 19th and early 20th Century, the first phase of Hindu nationalism started to spread. Interestingly, in this first phase the definition of Hindu nationalism was given by the British themselves instead of the Indian. To elaborate, when the British needed to have a “deeper understanding of India” (Bhargava 2003, 11), the associated some (political) characteristics to the theology and philosophy of Hinduism. It was done for their purpose only. But that idea started to spread among the Indians when the politicized idea (definition and characteristics) was taught to Indians, particularly the young generation of Indians who were attending ‘modern’ educational institutions of British India. Thus, those young Indians embraced the idea of Hindu nationalism which was articulated by the British. Later, the different independence movements of India against the British Empire were developed based on the politicized idea of Hindu nationalism.

Starting from the late 19th century when the British Empire was introducing and implementing separate “laws and electorates” (Bhargava 2003, 12) which this took momentum in the early 20th Century created the second phase for the development of Hindu nationalism. These segregation policies were successfully creating division and compartmentalization between Hindus and Muslims. In the 1930s and 1940s, it was evidential that based on these separation laws and electorates, Hindus were enjoying more benefits in comparison to the Muslims. This realization in conjunction with numerous other economic and social reasons created a stiff division between Hindus and Muslims. It also resulted into an increased self-satisfaction among Hindus.

Both of the above mentioned phases contributed in the development of the third phase which was directly a political one at the end of the British Empire. This has a direct correlation with political democratization in the Indian subcontinent. Based on the sharpened Hindu nationalism and deteriorated relationship between Hindus and Muslims, finally the Indian subcontinent was divided into two separate countries: India (based on Hindu nationalism) and Pakistan (based on Islamic nationalism). Definitely, there was an enormous stake in it for the Muslims as well who proactively advocated the separation between two countries based on religious nationalism, however, it was an outcome of a process initiated by the British Empire years ago. Both of the parties, for the unique example of nation creation, were simultaneously received great loss in lives, economy, and so on. Nevertheless, the new journey was more critical for Pakistan, particularly East Pakistan. Interestingly, with the popular leader Pandit Jawaharalal Naheru, India tried to diffuse the stiff presence and impacts of Hindu nationalism in Indian politics. But, his untimely death resulted into an incomplete attempt of transforming India into a true secular democracy.

Research Journal # 7

What is Hindu Nationalism? Hinduism and Hindu Nationalism are two associated but separate things. One is a religious understanding and the other one is a political (Kaviraj 2000)(Kaviraj, Religion and Identity in India 1997) Hinduism is the religion which is the major religion in India in terms of populations. It does not have any (direct) political behavior rather maintains theological guidelines for different spheres of lives. Hindu nationalism, although based on the fundamentals of Hindu religion, has taken a more structured, often a very conservative approach to address different political issues in India. From definitional perspective: Hindu nationalism is a political understanding and movement which incorporates fundamentalists, traditionalists, anti-modernists, and right wing conservatives. They essentially take approaches different from the modernists and liberal approaches (Bhargava 2003, 11). Under this political movement, a very rigid presence of hierarchical caste is observed. Not necessarily the parties/political movements will be conducted by only high casts Hindus, but the mind set it has is strictly pro-hierarchical caste based.

The political movement is also supported by the cultural movement of Hindu nationalism. All of these movements have its own organization (they will be discussed in the section: Brief history of Hindu nationalism in India) and they work separately but in collaboration. The cultural Hindu nationalism aims to spread the “message” of Hinduism whereas the political movement focuses to keep hold onto power in the Indian politics. Altogether the Hindu nationalistic movement has four components in it, in words of Bhargava (11):

“First, an abiding and pervasive anti-liberalism; second, a repugnance for the socialist left of for anything that is remotely like it; third, a belief in a distinctive and exclusivist variant of nationalism that aims to reinstate a strong, disciplined, and united Hindu nation, the Rashtra; fourth, and above all, a relentless antipathy to Muslims and, to a lesser extent, to Christians – and also to secularists who desire equal citizenship for all Indians.”

This implies, the Hindu nationalism is actually very authoritarian movement which wants to establish a Hindu superiority in India. Along with the Hindu superiority, this movement also denies the importance of advancement in various ways. Rather it focuses more on holding onto the traditions. Hindu nationalism also is not a supporter of an equal society and highly regards excluding the ideas of social and religious equality. These components are demonstrating Hindu nationalism has extensive elements like exclusion, fundamentalism, close minded ness to other religion etc. If these characteristics are parallel to democracy or not, that will be discussed in the section of democracy: Determinants of democracy and Twin Tolerance.

Research Journal # 6

So, here goes my outline with an updated title for the term paper.

New Title: Hindu Nationalism equals or not equals to democracy? Understanding the role of Hindu Nationalism in Democratization in India




Hindu Nationalism and Democracy in India

  • What is Hindu nationalism?
  • A brief history of Hindu nationalism
  • Present context of Hindu nationalism in India

Secularism and Democracy in India

  • Constitutional aspect of Secularism in India


  • Determinants of Democracy
  • Twin tolerations and Democracy

Hindu nationalism = or ¹ Democracy in India



The Dictator’s Dilemma and Regime Strength

In The Dictator’s Dilemma, Bruce Dickson maps out the strategies the Chinese Communist Party uses to stay in power, and their corresponding dilemmas. Dickson identifies four features that the CCP uses for its legitimacy and maintenance of power, including repression, censorship, population control, and anti-corruption campaigns. He argues that although the regime may not necessarily be resilient, it is durable. Furthermore, economic growth by itself is not a reliable indicator of assessing CCP regime survival. Other methods are needed to ascertain the strength of the Chinese state.

Using Bueno de Mesquita/Smith and Schmitter/O’Donnell as theoretical guide, two obvious strengths of the CCP come to the fray. First, the CCP’s groups of essentials are very small, which keeps accountability and transparency at a minimum and thus power is more secure. The Politburo, the central decision-making body of the CCP, is not elected but rather chosen by larger central committee made up of party loyalists. Second, the CCP uses the right amount of repression to maintain order while still retaining legitimacy. They showed during the Tiananmen Square protests that they were absolutely willing to apply whatever force was necessary to maintain their grip on power, even if it meant massacring unarmed protesters. However, in order to maintain legitimacy, the regime has allowed some civic engagement and, of course, the opening up of markets and allowing citizens to accumulate wealth. The regime uses just the right amount of repression to keep order.

A key weakness of the regime’s strategy for holding on to power is highlighted in Schmitter and O’Donnell and that too much liberalization is a bad thing for the consolidation of authoritarian rule. With the widespread use of technology, increased mobility of the population, and increased openness of Chinese society presents potential problems for the regime. However, Dickson does note that the CCP’s censorship techniques are quite sophisticated and increased individual wealth tends to correlate with higher regime support. Thus, while the opening up of Chinese society presents potential problems for the regime, current analysis determines that the regime is relatively stable.

Gaddafitarianism; O’Donnel and Schmitter

I know I am one post behind so I decided to post for last week now (I hope it’s okay).

Part of why in some countries after the Arab Uprisings swept into turmoil can be traced back to a lot of pre-existing conflicts and social order, but mostly, no one understood the deep state. In addition, local conflicts tend to be overlooked in the study of civil wars and conflicts. Which makes the strength of some regimes like the ones toppled of “almost toppled” by the Arab Uprisings. The deep state is not an entity in and of itself, but rather a product of illiberal and opaque societies and regimes. Decapitating the heads of these regimes is something but then dismantling the regime is another whole level of revolutionary processes. These factors emerge in periods of transitions from authoritarianism to democratization. In the phase of a democratization, there is an “omnipresent fear” and the “possibility of a coup [that] is not fictitious “(p.23).

For Gaddafi or any other dictator to maintain power, I don’t think that we can talk about giving concessions to an opposition because it doesn’t and wont exist under his rule. O’Donnel and Schmitter maintain that restricted citizenship and access to rights are key to sustaining an authoritarian rule.  Appeal to nationalism and the hyperbole of an outside territorial threat also plays a crucial role in keeping the iron fist up and going.

Research Journal #4

In the literature review of my paper (first draft) I wrote some from the civil society and political theory”.  In the book of Cohen, J. L., & Arato, A. (1994)” Civil society and political theory” they tried to develop at least the framework of a theory of civil society adequate to contemporary condition and to demonstrate the relevance of the concept of civil society to modern political theory. In the book, It went through different types of theory regarding the civil society and its role in the economic and political context by mentioning to social movements and to one of their key forms of contestation: civil disobedience in some of the chapters which it shouldn’t be the only the political role of the civil society.  And from all the debate three debates stronghold during the last 15-20 years.

“The first continues an older controversy within the field of democratic theory between defenders of elite vs. participatory models of democracy. The second, for the most part restricted to the Anglo- American World, is between what has come to be called “rights- oriented liberalism” and” communitarianism. The third debate pitting neoconservative advocates of the free market against defenders of the welfare state has animated discussion on both sides of the Atlantic”. (Cohen, J. L., & Arato, A. , 1994).

In the book discussion also in chapter 11, Cohen, J. L., &. Arato, A. argue that “civil disobedience seeks to demonstrate that social movements and citizen initiative are capable of influencing policy and molding political culture without entry into the field of power politics and without necessarily endangering liberal or democratic institution” (1994).

From that it supports my view of the role of the civil society, that first could be independent and it have role more than just demonstration.

political legitimacy; the CCP

Dickson’s book discusses the topic of political legitimacy. I think that it is a refutation of the modernization theory that posits that economic development opens eyes and make people demand Western-style democracy.

The author looks at how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sustains its rule. There seems to be a conventional wisdom that the CCP stems its legitimacy from the economic performs, its power from how easy it represses and get away with it for an obvious lack of civil society. But most of all, the CCP maintains its support from its resistance to change. While Dickson doesn’t refute how true much of this wisdom is, he questions some of these components.

While we might focus on the democratization theory of economic development, the regime doesn’t solely rely on this. It, hence, uses other tactics, including local reforms, providing public goods, nationalism, Confucianism, and co-opting opponents when applicable.

While democracy is conventionally defined in the existence of multiparty elections, Chinese’s definition of it is in the existence of fairness and justice. As long as the government is fair and serving the people, that is acceptable. The CCP’s slogan is in fact “serve the people” which helps their political legitimacy. Yes, there is a conversation that a CCP-free China will put China on the track of democratization and embracement of democracy, it however is not the ultimatum road to democracy, not necessarily the sole alternative. Few wish for the end of the Communist rule but do also think that dissidence puts stability in jeopardy.

Despite the fact that there is no opposition, the CCP consults with people creating a massive support to their legitimacy by appeal to nationalism. For instance, the effects of the 1999 embassy bombing in ex-Yugoslavia. Surprisingly enough, the national government enjoys more approval rates from the masses than the local governments which are supposed to be closer to the masses by virtue of proximity and resonance. The national government has also invested in Health Care after the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). As opposed to wat is known, civil society does exist in China and NGOs are in fact active in China. while repression prevails, it is by selection and not random.

Populism-Friend or Foe?

The ultimate question of my research centers around popuism in Venezuela and if it hurts democracy in the region. Getting the answer to that question is the most important, however, this has also led me to many more questions about populism.

Does populism really give power to the people?

Is it a friend or foe of true democracy?

Are we always deemed to be ruled by the elites no matter what?

These are some questions I wish I could answer after reading extensively on populism. But, one thing I feel like I have answered is populism definitely hurts democracy, and more than that, it hurts the quality of life for people, even though the majority of them do not benefit from populism. Populism is supposed to return power to the people, but it has only been used for soft-line autocrats take power for their own benefit. Even worse, the people do not realize it. Mainly because there are specific tactics that buy people off. Chavez has employed this tactic during his reign, he would invest some money in social programs as an allusion to the people that they were being helped, unlike before. We see the same stuff with Correa, and Morales. The different between Lula in Brazil is his Cash Transfers like Bolsa Familia actually had wide-ranging effects on reducing poverty and wrote these CTC into law.

One thing that I do feel like I can conclude on, is populsim can be used for both the right and the left political idealogues. For example, I believe in Latin America they use the left-leaning populism, that may seem similar to the right-wing, but it is different in how they govern. Some of the right-wing populists I would consider are Donald Trump, Marine La Pen, and Nigel Farage. However the right-wing populists employ tactics such as anti-immigration, less money being used for waste, and pulling out of the global economy, so they may be not as effective. The left-wing populists of Latin America can employ social programs to literally buy even the poorest of votes, but they have no teeth.


I know this is everywhere, but this is some thoughts I have been having regarding populism in general that I wish to study more.