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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of Beijing’s ability to set policy principles and have them implemented at the local levels of China’s multilayered bureaucracy. The ultimate test of political control is not whether specific personnel decisions are explicitly cleared by the Central Department of Organization, but whether local decisions conform to the broad requirements set by China’s central leadership. The critical linkage between the cadre management system and the exercise of political control over elites is not only related

system despite the institutional, attitudinal, and socioeconomic cleavages among county cadres. Chapter 5 takes the analysis one step beyond perceptions of the personnel system by examining the correlates of the actual bureaucratic careers of JES officials. I explicitly test the proposition that the broad objectives of personnel reform are being met despite the risks inherent in decentralizing complex bureaucratic hierarchies. I test competing economic, political, and institutional hypotheses

Predicted Rank for Mr. Li, Assuming Secondary Education; (b) Predicted Rank for Mr. Li, Assuming Tertiary Education 5.5 Combined Linear Effects of All Coefficients Related to Experience in CCP Institutions and Seniority as a Communist Party Member (1983–1988 vs. 1993–1995) 5.6 Impact of an Appointment in a Mass Organization, by Education Level 5.7 Effect of Enterprise Experience, Combined with Educational and Political Factors 5A.1 Relationship between Threshold Parameters and Predicted Rank 5.3

committees for approval” (Article 27). Like the state Constitution, the CCP distinguishes legally recognized local governments that must hold Party congresses every five years (Article 24) from prefectures and other types of delegated agencies.36 The latter are placed under the authority of a prefectural Party committee that “exercises leadership over the work in the given region as authorized by the provincial or autonomous regional Party committee” (Article 28), and no explicit reference is

in question, regardless of its economic importance. Personnel management is the glue that turns the fragments of the Chinese local state into a coherent – albeit colorful – mosaic. 3 Promoting High-Level Generalists The Management of Mayors During the reform era, the center of gravity of the Chinese political economy tilted decisively toward cities. The unprecedented pace of China’s economic transformation favored urban growth, which in turn increased the political relevance of municipalities

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