Article

The CCP Central Committee's Leading Small Groups

Authors:
If you want to read the PDF, try requesting it from the authors.

Abstract

For several decades, the Chinese leadership has used informal bodies called "leading small groups" to advise the Party Politburo on policy and to coordinate implementation of policy decisions made by the Politburo and supervised by the Secretariat. Because these groups deal with sensitive leadership processes, PRC media refer to them very rarely, and almost never publicize lists of their members on a current basis. Even the limited accessible view of these groups and their evolution, however, offers insight into the structure of power and working relationships of the top Party leadership under Hu Jintao. A listing of the Central Committee "leading groups" (lingdao xiaozu or just "small groups" (xiaozu), that are directly subordinate to the Party Secretariat and report to the Politburo and its Standing Committee and their members is appended to this article. First created in 1958, these groups are never incorporated into publicly available charts or explanations of Party institutions on a current basis. PRC media occasionally refer to them in the course of reporting on leadership policy processes, and they sometimes mention a leader's membership in one of them. The only instance in the entire post-Mao era in which PRC media listed the current members of any of these groups was on 2003, when the PRC-controlled Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po publicized a membership list of the Central Committee Taiwan Work Leading Small Group. (Wen Wei Po, 26 December 2003) This has meant that even basic insight into these groups' current roles and their membership requires painstaking compilation of the occasional references to them in PRC media. In recent years, however, Beijing has lifted the curtain obscuring aspects of leadership policymaking in earlier decades. Compendia of Party documents have made public the 1958 directives establishing the Central Committee leading small groups, and encyclopedias of Party organization have provided authoritative lists of the groups and their members down through the late 1980s. Collections of leader speeches from these earlier periods also refer to these groups and shed light on their functions. These historical sources provide some illumination on the evolution of these groups and offer a basis from which to judge their role in the current leadership's decision-making and policy processes under Hu Jintao.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... Leading small groups are supra-ministerial, extra-constitutional organisations that bring together high-ranking officials from the government agencies, Party organs, and/or the military who are involved in decision-making for particular policy areas (Heilmann 2017). (7) Leading small groups are a long-standing governance mechanism in China present at all levels of Party and government organisation (Grünberg 2015;Hamrin 1992;Miller 2008;Zhou 2010;Zhou 2015). ...
... Under Hu, the NDRC also participated in reshaping the state sector by coordinating among stateowned enterprises and mediating their disputes, especially in electricity and coal, and by supervising state firms' overseas investments. The only central-level leading small group responsible for economic matters-the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs-served more as a body for deliberation on economic strategy and crisis management than it did as a key player tasked with advancing the policy agenda in specific areas such as state-owned enterprise reform (Miller 2008). ...
... As the CCP seems to be becoming increasingly responsive to political and economic challenges, recent studies have shifted to explore instead the operations of provisional institutions so as to discuss the longevity of China's ruling system. These studies have revealed that the operations of provisional institutions helped the CCP make governance practices effective through formal institutional approaches and informal political channels (Miller 2008;Walder 2009;Zhou 2010;Perry 2019;Tsai and Zhou 2019). Moving beyond this governance approach, this chapter focuses on the inner workings of the CCP, with a particular emphasis on the origins and development of these provisional institutions. ...
Book
Full-text available
Over the course of the twentieth century, a broad array of parties as organizations of a new type took over state functions and replaced state institutions on the territories of the former Ottoman, Qing, Russian, and Habsburg Empires. In the context of roughly simultaneous imperial and postimperial transformations, organizations such as the Committee for Union and Progress (CUP) in the Ottoman Empire (one-party regime since 1913), the Anfu Club in China (parliamentary majority since 1918), and the Bolshevik Party in Russia (in control of parts of the former empire since 1918), not only took over government power but merged with government itself. Disillusioned with the outcomes of previous constitutional and parliamentary reforms, these parties justified their takeovers with slogans and programs of controlled or supervised economic and social development. Inheriting the previous imperial diversities, they furthermore took over the role of mediators between the various social and ethnic groups inhabiting the respective territories. In this respect, the parties appropriated some of the functions which dynastic and then constitutional and parliamentary regimes had ostensibly failed to perform. In a significant counter-example, in spite of prominent aspirations, no one-party regime emerged in Japan, for there the constitutional monarchy had survived the empire's transformation to a major industrialized imperialist power. One-party regimes thrived on both sides of the Cold War and in some of the non-aligned states. Whereas several state socialist one-party regimes collapsed in 1989–1991, some of the communist parties have continued to rule, and new parties managed to monopolize political power in different Eurasian contexts.
... They are not formalized bodies, and they lack bureaucratic documentation and standard operating rules. In other words, they have no legal authority to issue formal orders to other agencies; instead, they are networked organization forms and rely on the director or a center to coordinate policy-making and policy implementation (Miller, 2014). Such leading groups and special committees are used in the continuous process of adjustment to cut across bureaucracies and address "wicked problems." ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Compared with the worldwide reform trend of transcending new public management (NPM) during the past two decades, China's service-oriented government (SOG) reforms are a relatively different reform approach. After building an SOG was politically identified in 2004, China launched three rounds of SOG reforms in 2008, 2013 and 2018. The purpose of this article is to examine what is meant by China's SOG approach and analyze the reasons behind its emergence. In particular, it explores how this approach might be interpreted in NPM, and particularly post-NPM terms. Design/methodology/approach The main theoretical basis of the paper is three theoretical perspectives from organizational theory – the instrumental, cultural and myth perspectives, but more specifically, the concepts complexity and hybridity. The empirical examples are selected from the SOG reforms of 2008, 2013 and 2018. The data used are a combination of public documents and scholarly secondary literature. Findings This paper discusses the SOG approach in China as a response to the negative effects of NPM-related reforms and informed by the western post-NPM reforms. It contends that China's SOG is a complex and hybrid approach in which NPM and post-NPM elements coexist and their balance is different from the west. Originality/value Few authors have considered China's SOG approach in NPM and post-NPM terms. This paper contributes not only to a wider understanding of the ongoing SOG reform process in China, but also to the understanding of the relevance of public administration theories in a comparative perspective.
... They perform a wide range of roles, including coordination, consultation, cross-agency communication, oversight, and decision-making. See Miller (2008). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Scholarship on China's behavior in the South China Sea has raised questions about peace prospects between China and its regional neighbors in Southeast Asia. This paper develops a bargaining power-prospect theory model to explain China's behavior in the South China Sea during the Cold War. The model hypothesizes Chinese behavior is attributable to variation in two main factors: China's relationship with great powers and leaders' perceptions of China's bargaining power vis-à-vis its competitors. I provide narratives of the 1960 establishment of People's Liberation Army Navy regular patrols to the Paracels, 1966 South Vietnam Withdrawal from Crescent Group, the 1974 Battle for the Paracels, and the 1988 Sino-Vietnamese encounter in the Spratlys as congruence tests for the model. Findings show that when Chinese leaders are situated in a domain of losses, use of force becomes more likely, and vice versa. The paper advances two goals. Theoretically, it provides a comprehensive way to capture the complex variations of China's use of force in the disputes. The first two case studies focus on empirically understudied periods of the South China Sea disputes. The findings will hopefully be used by actors with a stake in the dispute to reduce the likelihood of future clashes.
... The Leading Small Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reform (CDRLSG), established shortly after the 3rd Plenum and under the direct leadership of Xi Jinping, has had by far the most immediate impact on central-local relations and on local operations. The group is meant to supervise reform progress in the key policy areas identified in the 2013 decision and it took over part of the decision-making powers that originally were vested in other LSGs and the State Council (for details, see : Miller 2014). This new centralised steering body is furthermore mirrored at almost every level of the governmental hierarchy, as subnational governments established equivalent LSGs on comprehensively deepening reform in order to answer to the new extensive central calls. ...
... The Leading Small Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reform (CDRLSG), established shortly after the 3rd Plenum and under the direct leadership of Xi Jinping, has had by far the most immediate impact on central-local relations and on local operations. The group is meant to supervise reform progress in the key policy areas identified in the 2013 decision and it took over part of the decision-making powers that originally were vested in other LSGs and the State Council (for details, see : Miller 2014). This new centralised steering body is furthermore mirrored at almost every level of the governmental hierarchy, as subnational governments established equivalent LSGs on comprehensively deepening reform in order to answer to the new extensive central calls. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Increasingly concerned about rampant corruption in China’s far-flung administrative system and unable to tolerate inefficient policy implementation in a slowing economy, the CCP leadership was left with little choice but to reorganise central-local relations. In this essay, we consider the most prominent measures taken thus far and posit that these measures have indeed significantly reconfigured central-local relations. Our essay includes initial assessments of the impact of individual reconfigurations. We conclude with a general outlook on potential short- and long-term developments.
... Building on the early work of Lieberthal and Oksenberg (1988) on the competition among bureaucratic units, China scholars have contributed largely to the understanding of the specific characteristics of policy-making in China. This includes the role of decentralized experimentation in the shadow of hierarchy (Heilmann, 2008), the role of think tanks and key policy advisors (Zhu, 2011;Zhu & Xue, 2007), cross-departmental executive groups known as leadership small groups (LSG) (Miller, 2008;Zhou, 2010), as well as the return to campaign like policy styles known from the Maoist period (Heilmann & Perry, 2011). ...
... They perform a wide range of roles, including coordination, consultation, cross-agency communication, oversight, and decision-making. See Miller (2008). ...
Article
Full-text available
This article extends the role theory literature on domestic role contestation process by specifically examining bureaucracies as potential advocates of competing national role conceptions. While recent scholarship on domestic role contestation affirms the influence of party politics and cabinet dynamics on role enactment, bureaucracies remain underexplored as key actors despite the presence of a robust literature that supports their relevance in the foreign policymaking process. This article draws on expectations from both the role theory and bureaucratic politics literatures to explain how bureaucracies contest national roles and how such contestation may be resolved. The article tests these propositions through the study of China’s inter-bureaucratic contestation over its appropriate role in the South China Sea territorial disputes between 1979 and 1992. The article concurrently advances role studies on China by integrating them with more recent arguments about domestic role contestation. Traditionally, role theorists interested in China have either black-boxed the state or only focused on elite-mass role contestation, while this article explores intra-elite role contestation.
... It becomes an integral part of the 2011, 12th Five Years Plan and in 2013, during the third plenary session of the 18th Party Congress, it was included as one of the five national objectives (socialist economical construction, political construction, cultural construction, social construction, and ecological civilization construction). In 2014, the constitution of a Small Leading Group (SLG) [67,68] dedicated to Ecological Civilization (經濟體制和生態文明體制改革 專項小組) was created inside the bigger central SLG initiated by Xi Jinping in 2013 for the deepening of social-political reforms (中央全面深化改革領導小組). Since 2007, more than 4000 articles and books containing the key-word 'ecological civilization' have been published and more than 170,000 articles published in mainstream press-media evoked the concept in China. ...
Article
Full-text available
The aimof this article is to assess the validity of the culturalist explanation of unsustainability by critically examining the social-cultural interpretation of the risks on which it is epistemologically based. First, we will explore the different ways in which the notion of Anthropocene is changing our perception of risks. Second, we will analyze the limits of the social-cultural explanation of risks relative to the global (non-linear) interdependence between human activities and environmental processes that defines the Anthropocene. Third, we will introduce the Chinese concept of Ecological Civilization and analyze its cultural foundations and culturalist assumptions. Finally, we will develop the practical consequences of this critic of the social-cultural interpretation of risks and of culturalist explanations of unsustainability.
... In the Soviet Union, Gill (1994) suggests that the party was involved in the formulation, implementation, and oversight of policy on all issues. In China too, under Mao, policy making was centralized within a small coterie of party leaders (Miller, 2008). However, in other contexts, there is greater separation between unelected autocratic institutions and the state across different issue areas. ...
Article
Are representatives in authoritarian legislatures encouraged to take positions on salient issues? More generally, why do some autocracies allow public debate on hot topics at all? Understanding the dynamics of public legislative debate is important for the roles authoritarian legislatures are theorized to play in regime legitimation and information provision. I argue that the decision to allow public debate depends on autocratic incentives to mobilize public sentiment against the bureaucracy. While allowing debate on salient issues risks galvanizing antiregime sentiment, doing so may also mobilize public opinion against wayward government officials to improve performance and deflect blame. Therefore, I predict that autocrats will only allow public debate on issues they have delegated to the government. I test this using an automated content analysis of debate in the Vietnam National Assembly, with results showing evidence of position taking on salient issues, but only on issues the party delegates to the state.
... The mere presence of so many leading groups seems itself a contradiction to collective leadership, separation of power, and constitutional authority more broadly. Yet, this is precisely what they are designed to do, i.e., overcome bureaucratic or organisational barriers, pool resources, and push through policy agendas (Miller 2008). Whether intended or not, CCP leaders, beginning with Mao, (8) have routinely taken advantage of the leading groups to bypass opposition and assert control; Xi Jinping is just the latest. ...
Article
Full-text available
President Xi Jinping is arguably the most powerful Chinese leader since Chairman Mao. Recent constitutional revisions and a midterm leadership reshuffle has only substantiated the fear that Xi, like Mao, has no intention of handing over power to a future successor. Does Xi’s rise signal an end to collective leadership and does a stronger president translate into a weaker party? In this article, I review the methods by which Xi has come to consolidate power as well as the implications for Chinese elite politics in the future. Drawing insights from the comparative literature, I question the zero-sum relationship between executive and institutional strength. Although Xi has certainly amassed unprecedented personal power, it has not necessarily come at the expense of the Party. Instead, the dangers of Xi Jinping’s power grab are more likely to result from a chilling effect on dissenting opinions and thinning out of the leadership pipeline, each of which is likely to undermine governing capacity over the medium to long-term.
... The March 2004 amendment to the PRC constitution institutionalized past practices, stating that the president of the PRC conducts "state affairs". The three leading small groups on national security, foreign affairs, and Taiwan -China's chief institutions for decision-making on related matters -have been led by General Secretary Hu Jintao since 2003, and he has remained at the helm since the Seventeenth Party Congress (Miller 2008). Therefore, they prove to be particularly valuable as case studies in assessing the ability of the general secretary to undertake policy change. ...
... As a fact of matter, various sorts of adhocracy have been set up in the government since the PRC was founded. They usually take the form of "leading small groups" and "offices," as "informal, off-the-books mechanisms to coordinate implementation of policies established by their supervising leaderships" in the party apparatus and the governmental hierarchy, down to the township level; these groups lack standard operating rules and cannot appoint their own members (Miller 2013). According to one study, there are three types of such coordinating and leading small groups in party and governmental structures: permanent groups, term-oriented groups, and task-oriented groups (Zhou 2010a). ...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies on state’s infrastructural power assume that the state is composed of formal bureaucratic and coercive institutions. This study explores a new format of infrastructural power, termed the “local state adhocracy,” by using China’s stability maintenance apparatuses as a case. Configured through the state’s reordering of institutional and social resources but operating in rather flexible and impromptus manners, the local state adhocracy is rooted in the CCP’s political tradition of deploying informal and expedient organizations for policy implementation in a less institutionalized context. It generates new capability of the state but also weakens the rule of law and institutionalization.
... The small leading group (lingdao xiaozu) is a special Chinese political organization model that has long existed in the Party-state organizations at various levels in the form of a discussion and coordination body or a temporary organization (Miller 2016). Its operational mechanism is to leverage the authority of higher-level governments to take back some powers and integrate departments with relevant functions within the bureaucratic system, so as to break the shackles of vertical hierarchy and horizontal departmentalization. ...
Article
Full-text available
As the region with the most serious air pollution in China, Hebei Province, which is close to Beijing, is facing stringent environmental regulation. In face of the continuous pressure from the central government, most areas in Hebei Province, represented by Handan City, have carried out high-intensity campaign-style environmental governance. However, Chengde City, which is also in Hebei Province, adopted different strategies. In order to explain the differences, this paper constructs a resource mobilization framework for the campaign-style governance, namely "control-incentive-negotiation" framework. The framework is tested by taking the air pollution regulation in Handan and Chengde in 2017-2018 as examples. The study found that despite the unprecedentedly strengthened authority of the central government since the 18th CCP National Congress, under the combined effect of theater politics, differentiated incentives and implicit negotiation, if a region faces too many political tasks, the local government will choose the operations and policies that are the most beneficial for itself. The research results is helpful to understand the campaign-style environmental governance in China, as well as the vertical intergovernmental relations.
... They are supposed to issue guiding principles rather than concrete policies and hence have no legal authority to issue formal orders to other agencies (Wang 2010). In practice, however, leading groups are structurally "configured around a vertical axis composed of the presiding leader, the presiding or convening office, and the group's general office 5 " (Miller 2014). They can rely on the presiding leader or the center to coordinate policy-making and policy implementation in a particular area, and their recommendations are often taken as a consensus (Huang 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
This article provides a greater understanding of the service-oriented government (SOG) reforms that China carried out at the central level in 2008, 2013, and 2018. These reforms involved two common post-NPM structural measures – namely, super-ministries and cross-ministerial networks or leading groups. Using a mythical, an instrumental, and a cultural perspective, this article examines how SOG reforms were carried out and enquires into the relevance of “Chinese characteristics.” Our analysis shows that China’s SOG reforms represent quite a complex and hybrid pattern with a dual orientation of service value and coordination action. The CPC’s leadership of government reform and major work in all areas are fundamental characteristics of China’s socialist administrative system.
... In fact, it is not the PLA, but the Leading Small Group (LSG) for Cybersecurity and Informatization that coordinates different departments and makes cybersecurity policy ; see footnote 1). 1 With President Xi's call to develop "a new type of think tank with Chinese characteristics", think tanks are playing important roles in policy-making through their channels to the government (Glaser and Saunders, 2002; see footnote 2). 2 Besides think tanks, Chinese leaders also receive advice from scholars at top universities, including Peking University, Tsinghua University, Fudan University, Renmin University, and East China University of Political Science and Law. 3 Think tanks and university scholars usually apply for research projects sponsored by the government in order to submit internal reports or publish open journals to influence policy-making. 4 As internal reports are rarely declassified, the openly published academic papers are the best resources available from which one can summarize policy debate issues and predict 1 For the background of LSG in China's decision-making see Miller (2014). 2 "CCP General Office and State Council General Office Opinions Concerning Strengthening the Construction of New Types of Think Tanks With Chinese Characteristics," translated by China Copyright and Media, https://chinacopyrightandmedia.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/ ...
Article
This paper examines China’s strategic thinking on cyberwar. It has been widely argued that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has shown strong interest in launching large-scale cyberattacks against the US during warfare or peacetime. However, such views ignore the fact that the PLA must restrain itself due to the uncertainties of cyberattack, such as collateral damage, blowback, and escalation. In fact, Chinese experts follow US perceptions and cyberwar practices very closely, which has contributed to Beijing’s evolving strategic thinking over the past decades. From the 1990s to early 2000s, the “ideology of offense” was the PLA’s primary approach to the “informationization leaping forward”. Due to the shock of the Gulf War, most of the military strategists advocated cyber offense in order to catch up with the new round of revolution in military affairs. However, after 2008, both military and civilian experts started to increasingly question the effectiveness of cyberattack after studying their peers’ criticism against cyber deterrence in the US. There was no consensus on national cybersecurity strategy until 2015 when there was a call for China to develop a cyber deterrence strategy as a reaction to the further development of cyber deterrence by the US. The latest Chinese official documents on cybersecurity have reflected the shift of its strategic thinking.
... In relation to financial services, the legislature is clearly much less central as a forum for policy discussions than the Politburo and its National Finance Work Conference, a high-profile event held every five years to outline central policies for the sector. Main policies are coordinated by the Leading Small Group on Finance and Economics, which brings together the foremost cadres from the Central Committee, the State Council, the ministries and other significant agencies (Miller, 2008). It contrasts sharply with the unified appearance of a one-party state. ...
... Kommisjonen for nasjonal utvikling og reform (NDRC) håndterer Kinas energitilgang innenfor og utenfor landets grenser. Den har således blitt en viktig stemme for hvordan utenrikspolitikken bør legges (Downs 2004;Miller 2008b). ...
... But they did not mention China and thus far the groupthink framework has not been seen used in CFPS. Due to the highly centralized decision-making structure in China, major decisions are made in many of its Central Committee's leading small groups [37]. Considering the facts that the CCP's decisions-making norms of democratized centralism demands for concurrence-seeking result, party discipline for maintaining solidarity, and the Chinese cultural of not to make internal conflicts public, one can safely assume that there should be large number of candidates for groupthink. ...
Article
Full-text available
Building foreign policy theories with Chinese characteristics has long been an aspiration of Chinese scholars, but has not resulted in much globally recognized achievements to date. This review essay begins with an overview of the obstacles to reaching this goal: confusion over the concept of theory, over-emphasis on policy prescription, confusion between the subject and object of study, restrictions on access to research materials, and lack of methodological diversity. To overcome these obstacles, we argue Chinese scholars should bring Chinese foreign policy studies (CFPS) into the larger field of comparative foreign policy analysis (FPA), and take advantage of FPA’s rich arsenal of methodological tools and theoretical lenses to conduct insightful and rigorous analysis and theory building. Such an effort will not only facilitate the construction of foreign policy theory with Chinese characteristics but also contribute Chinese wisdom to FPA theory building, making it a truly global field of study.
... Amongst the most significant of these are the Small Leading Group on Comprehensively Deepening Reform, which was established after the Third Plenum of the CPC in October 2013, and which gives feedback and direction on the overall progress of reform in China, and the Small Leading Group on Foreign Affairs. Sitting at the heart of a reduced Standing Committee of the Politburo (from nine members between 2007 to 2012 down to seven now), Xi seems to be truly, as one description has it, the Chairman of Everything (Miller 2008;Perlez 2015). ...
Article
Much commentary has been made about the amount of power that Xi Jinping has accrued since the leadership transition over 2012 and into 2013. He is interpreted by many as being the most powerful of modern Chinese leaders. But his leadership needs to be interpreted carefully within the organisation that he leads and whose interests he and his colleagues serve–the Communist Party of China. Looking at his relationship with this body reveals a more complex framework within which to see his real authority, one which implies that he is as much a servant of its corporate interests as he is an autonomous, selfserving agent.
... Daha önce bahsedildiği üzere merkez lider grupları, Xi Jinping dönemi ÇKP'nin temel karar alma organları olmuştur. ÇKP'nin Xi yönetimindeki merkeziyetçiliğinin tezahürlerinden biri olan gruplar aynı zamanda Xi'nin "her şeyin başkanı" olarak adlandırılmasının da arkasındaki temel sebeptir (Miller, 2014). Virüsle mücadele için yeni bir grubun oluşturulması Xi'nin bu mücadeleyi merkezden ve bütüncül bir stratejiyle yöneteceğinin sinyallerini vermiştir. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Xİ JİNPİNG’İN COVID-19’LA MÜCADELESİ
... Det har derfor saerlig fra 1990-tallet blitt etablert såkalte små ledergrupper (lingdao xiaozu), både tilknyttet State Council (Kinas regjering) og partiets sentralkomité. Ledergruppene består normalt av 10-20 personer fra partiet og statsapparatet (Miller 2008). De viktigste ledergruppene knyttet til partiets sentralkomité fra november 2012 er ledergruppene for utenrikspolitikk, Taiwan, propaganda og ideologi, partibygging, politikk og jus (som har ansvar for sikkerhet og sosial stabilitet) samt ledergruppen for finans og økonomi som er ledet av Xi Jinping. ...
... It also indicates that path-dependencies and historical traditions are often crucial for understanding public reforms in China (Lan, 2000;March & Olsen, 1983). Additionally, coordination across organizational boundaries such as leading groups (lingdao xiaozu), coordinating groups, and special committees has been widely used in most reforms since the mid-1980s (Miller, 2017) to address 'wicked' problems that transcend traditional ministerial areas and departmental boundaries . Most of the leading groups and special committees headed by the state or State Council belong to the Deliberation and Coordination Agencies under the State Council. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study focuses on the long-term development of crisis management on the central level in China. Drawing on archival and interview data, it describes and analyzes how governance capacity and the formal structure of crisis management have changed, but also how culturally based legitimacy has altered over the past seventy years. These processes of change are divided into three phases, punctuated by institutional shifts in the history of crisis management institutions, whereby both vertical and horizontal coordination have become stronger over time. Crisis management in China is a legacy of traditional disaster management. In this respect it is different from the West, where crisis management has its origins in civil defense. We argue that each reform element is blended with traditional practices in an ever more complex combination, producing hybrid reform patterns. We conclude that centralization and a government-centered approach in the institutional history can explain the high short-term mobilization capacity and the challenges of communication in Chinese crisis management. © 2021 The Authors. Review of Policy Research published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Policy Studies Organization.
... They are unique parts of China's political operations. These deliberation coordination institutions are quite mysterious to the outside world and rarely mentioned in publications, although they play a vital role in the policy process (Miller 2008, 1, Lieberthal 2010. These institutions often appear in the less formal form of 'leading groups' or the more formal form of 'committee'. ...
Preprint
This article analyzes the institutional structure and the major institutional reforms in China's political communication system since 2018, using official documents or publications from an exploratory study of institution approach. The results show that political communication in China could no longer be regarded as ideological propaganda, and political communication system is in the trend of expansion, which challenges the stereotype that the institutional changes in China’s propaganda system have been in the cycle of ‘atrophy and adaptation’. Furthermore, the institution changes of political communication in China are the results of the political reform of the CCP, who is the leading and driving actor with its own interests and strong autonomy. The current round of expansion driven by the CCP in China's political communication presents a clear bottom line: to concentrate political power vertically, but to avoid the expansion of state power into society; i.e. to promote centralism, but to avoid totalism. In addition, China, as a ‘the-Party-centered’ state, may provide the possibility to think about a kind of multi-path of political communication modernization.
... In 2018, the current Chief Executive Carrie Lam was appointed to a 'leading small group' created by Beijing to plan the development of the Greater Bay Area. Leading small groups are powerful decision-making bodies in the PRC (Miller, 2017). The Greater Bay Area Leading Small Group, chaired by a Politburo Standing Committee member of the Chinese Communist Party, serves as a coordinating body for these 11 cities and makes top-level decisions to implement policies regarding the Greater Bay Area's development. ...
Article
Full-text available
Hong Kong’s ‘One Country, Two Systems’ formula has been hailed as an unprecedented political experiment in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for how it formulates a semi-autonomous jurisdiction within a unitary, single-party state. While the formula has remained constitutionally valid two decades after its implementation, it has been trapped in a tense relationship in actual practice. This article considers the city as a subnational island jurisdiction (SNIJ) and examines its scope for autonomy within and under an authoritarian sovereign state. It argues that the PRC’s central government, prompted by the city’s rising pro-democracy activism and its nascent pro-independence force, has put intensifying emphasis on the ‘one country’ principle by blurring the boundaries between the offshore enclave and the mainland through economic integration, connective infrastructures and legal harmonization. As a result, there is an increasingly blurred line between the ‘two systems’, structured and fostered by the enormous cross-border capital and people flow, although at times moderated and slowed down by local capitalist imperatives and social activism to resist homogenization. Our findings suggest that the contestation between autonomy and sovereign control cannot be read in purely constitutional terms but must be considered within the changing socioeconomic and legal context.
Chapter
Propaganda practices involve the Party-state exercising power in order to affect how discourses are publicly articulated. The Party-state uses propaganda practices to reproduce its official narrative about key political concepts and issues as well as to suppress any rival narratives that threaten to undermine the shared meanings that legitimize CCP rule. This is intended to prevent the emergence of a coherent alternative political project that could challenge the existing political order. Although these attempts to control public discourse cannot guarantee that people will always accept the assumptions embedded in the official narrative, they are designed to increase the likelihood that the Party-state’s official narrative will prevail in its ideological struggles with alternative interpretations of Chinese politics and society. This chapter focuses on the propaganda practices the Party-state uses to exercise power in the domestic political context and begins by identifying the official institutions that are responsible for carrying out the Party-state’s propaganda practices. This shows the extent to which such institutions are embedded in the structure of the Chinese political system and highlights the fact that all areas of public discourse to some degree fall under the purview of the Party-state.
Article
This paper aims to explore the coordination among China's various maritime actors in the South China Sea (SCS). Since around 2009, China has reinforced its maritime territorial claims in the SCS and has taken coercive measures, including harassing other countries' vessels and using administrative tools to expand its effective control over disputed islands. One important question is whether China's tactics are based on a well-coordinated plan or are the unintended consequence of competition and self-interest among the various agencies. This paper shows that, firstly, organisational coordination between these agencies is improving, secondly, that the PLA has a salient role in the operation, and lastly, that the long-term trend is important. The paper implies that long-term aspirations are coalescing into more concrete plans under the strong leadership of Xi Jinping.
Article
Full-text available
United front work has long been an important tool through which the Chinese Communist Party exercises political influence in Hong Kong. While existing works have revealed the history, actors, and impact of united front work in this semiautonomous city, few studies have focused on its changing structure and objectives in the post-handover period. Using publicly available reports and an original event dataset, we show that united front work has involved a steady organizational proliferation of social organizations coupled with their increasingly frequent interaction with the mainland authorities and the Hong Kong government. We argue that united front work has become more decentralized and multilayered in its structure and that its objective has been shifting from elite co-optation to proactive countermobilization against pro-democracy threats. Our findings indicate that state power in post-handover Hong Kong does not solely belong to governmental institutions; it is increasingly exercised through an extensive network comprising multiple state and social actors.
Article
The reforms initiated in the wake of the decisions taken at the Third Plenum in 2013 have been accompanied by a reconfiguration of political rhetoric. This paper argues that the narratives and slogans surrounding China’s proclaimed entrance into the era of “new normal” economic development reflect the plurality of ideas and definitions of governance prevailing within the country’s academic communities. When drafting new policies, China’s political leaders can cherry-pick and compile reform packages that synthesize these groups’ core demands and theory-based developmental roadmaps. The concepts and policy ideas put forward by the fifth generation hence stand for a fragile balance between continuity and change, while seeking to define a new working consensus between the various subgroups of influential elites both inside and outside the party apparatus.
Conference Paper
The People’s Republic of China1 has emerged as one of the major donors of international development assistance. The rise of Chinese foreign aid has triggered a controversial debate within the international, predominantly Western, development community on its implications for the prevailing development paradigm. In official statements the Chinese government objects to Western criticism. It underlines that China is neither ‘new’, given its engagement in bilateral aid activities since 1956, nor a ‘donor’, since its foreign aid is a case of South-South Cooperation, horizontal, win-win “mutual help between developing countries.” Internally however, the criticism has prompted vivid debates about reform. China wants to be a responsible great power whose aid is positively recognized by developing and developed countries alike. It is therefore responding to the critique by putting on the agenda issues such as result- and sustainability-orientation. Moreover, it is also debating, which role(s) China should play in the international development cooperation architecture. In this paper, I will first depict the core pillars of China’s development aid and their evolution from the aid principle of Socialist countries brought forth by Zhou Enlai in 1956 to the first White Paper on Foreign Aid issued by the State Council in April 2011. I will then analyse the crucial recent reform debate, which publically rejects the Western criticism while internally trying to tackle many of exactly the same issues addressed by the critics. Based on my findings, I argue that although China claims the right to a distinct ‘Chinese Aid Model’ based on its own long history of providing foreign aid, the reform debate indicates that China might be silently moving towards international standards.
Chapter
Um das heutige Selbstverständnis und Selbstbewusstsein Chinas zu begreifen, soll ein Blick in die chinesische Geschichte erfolgen, der hier nur als knappe Exkursion stattfinden kann. Obwohl es in den letzten 150 Jahren auch in China zu massiven Umbrüchen im Staatsapparat kam, verweist die chinesische Regierung bis heute auf die traditionellen Wurzeln aus der frühen Geschichte. Die Idee einer konstanten Entwicklung vom antiken China bis zum heutigen „Global Player“ ist geschichtswissenschaftlich nicht unproblematisch, hat aber entscheidenden Einfluss auf die chinesische Sicht auf das eigene Land und den Rest der Welt.
Article
China's establishment of a Central National Security Commission (CNSC) in late 2013 was a potentially transformative event in the evolution of China's national security decision-making structure. Yet, as of mid-2017, few details about this organization and its activities have been released, leading to continuing questions about its likely role and functions in the Chinese system. Based on an analysis of numerous authoritative but under-utilized Chinese sources, this article addresses the rationale, prospects and implications of the CNSC. It argues that the organization is both a fulfilment of a long-held desire by many in China for a centralized, permanent national security deliberation forum and also a reflection of the unique challenges facing China in the 21st century. Contrary to existing analyses, which argue that the CNSC is likely to be focused primarily on domestic security tasks, the article contends that it is more likely to play a major role in both internal and external security affairs. Moreover, the article argues that if certain obstacles can be addressed, the CNSC may have broad implications in areas ranging from China's crisis response capability to the role played by the Chinese Communist Party general secretary in the national security decision-making process. The conclusion recaps the findings and suggests avenues for further research.
Chapter
Chapter 6 considers the policy responses by China and Africa to EU engagement. In order to explain how China and Africa have reacted to the EU’s proposal of a trilateral development dialogue, the chapter starts by providing an overview of Chinese foreign policy and the role of the African Union (AU). Chinese and African responses are examined from two different perspectives: that of rationalism and constructivism. While the rationalist viewpoint focuses on the institutions and interests shaping Chinese and African foreign policy, the constructivist evaluation draws attention to the norms and values characterising the political discourse in China and Africa.
Chapter
According to Carr, ‘Every political judgement helps to modify the facts on which it is passed’. This paper seeks to explore this proposition by following Xi’s actions throughout his past seven years, addressing the change in his agenda from that of internal political stabilisation, to global foreign policy. By understanding the implications of the ‘Chinese Way’, the transformations which were spurred on by the surge in Sinocentrism will be analysed in line with the developments in Chinese regional strategy. The Anglo-American approach towards the ongoing process of Sinification has since approached a critical juncture, facilitated by the increasing fractures in the global power balance. As such, the role and likely success of the BRI initiative will ultimately be dependent on the ability of the current Xi administration to realign themselves among the existing strategic networks. The projected complications brought on by the growing reluctance to comply with China-led objectives will again be evaluated to discern the future efficacy of the OROB.
Article
Democracies deliberately create “friction” in bureaucratic processes, using inefficiencies to mitigate the impact of government transitions and asymmetric information on leaders' ability to exert control. With far more centralized power, would authoritarians prefer less friction? We argue that they do not. In fact, excess friction is actively supplied to hinder bureaucratic coordination independent of or even in opposition to top‐down control, leaving the central leaders the only player powerful enough to organize complex actions. Our analysis of data on the Chinese government indicates that bureaucrats are systematically sent to unfamiliar work environment, and that agencies that are more exposed to the resultant inefficiencies are also more likely to come under direct control by senior Politburo members. The pattern of targeted intervention indicates that bureaucratic control in authoritarian regimes is predicated not only on centralized power in general but also the deliberate supply of friction to obstruct independent actions from the bottom up.
Article
The military reform launched in late 2015 has significant implications for China’s civil-military relations. One of the stated goals of the reform is to “uphold the correct political direction” by strengthening party control over the People’s Liberation Army. This has been achieved by centralising power over the PLA in the hands of the Central Military Commission, while at the same time centralising power within the Commission in the hands of its Chairman. This dual centralisation of power might considerably change the way in which the ‘conditional compliance’ model of civil-military relations works in Xi Jinping’s China.
Article
Programming China: The Communist Party’s Autonomic Approach to Managing State Security, introduces the new analytical framework called China's “Autonomic Nervous System” (ANS). The ANS framework applies complex systems management theory to explain the process the Chinese Communist Party calls “social management”. Through the social management process, the Party-state leadership interacts with both the Party masses and non-Party masses. The process involves shaping, managing and responding and is aimed at ensuring the People’s Republic of China’s systemic stability and legitimacy—i.e. (Party-) state security. Using the ANS framework, this thesis brings cohesion to a complex set of concepts such as “holistic” state security, grid management, social credit and national defence mobilisation. Research carried out for the thesis included integrated archival research and the author’s database of nearly 10,000 social unrest events. Through ANS, the author demonstrates that in the case of the People’s Republic of China we may be witnessing a sideways development, where authoritarianism is stabilised, largely through a way of thinking that both embodies and applies complex systems management and attempts to “automate” that process through technology designed based on the same concepts. The party's rule of China, thus, evolves away from traditional political scales like reform versus retrenchment or hard versus soft authoritarianism. The ANS framework should be seen not as an incremental improvement to current research of China’s political system but as a fundamentally different approach to researching and analysing the nature of Chinese politics.
Article
Fighting traffic congestion is a key policy challenge in large developing countries such as China and Russia. Highly populated, fast-growing cities like Beijing and Moscow develop urban transportation strategies that focus mainly on combating traffic congestion and modernizing existing infrastructure, but these problems are tied in with air pollution, safety on roads, parking issues, and public transport. In authoritarian landscapes, the policy-making process is not widely open to external actors or the general public, but it still requires expert knowledge. The usefulness of the advice offered by policy advisory institutions that are not a part of the bureaucracy depends strongly on authorities’ capacity to absorb their innovative proposals, informal contacts between advisers and authorities, and financial priorities. This paper analyses aspects of current urban transport policies in Beijing and Moscow with a particular focus on the nature of policy advisory practices in this sphere.
Article
This article provides an analytical account of how politics and law in China are organically integrated in the institutional architecture of courts as designed by the Chinese Communist Party (“the Party”). This design allows the Party to retain its supreme authority in the interpretation, application, and enforcement of the law through its institutional control over courts. At the same time, the Party can, under this design, also afford to grant an autonomous sphere where courts can perform their adjudicative functions with minimal interference from the Party, as long as the Party is assured of full authority to determine the scope of the “autonomous-zone,” to impose rules on it, and to revoke it when necessary. Consequently, courts assume a double character: a pliant political agent on the one hand and a legal institution of its own agency on the other.
Article
This article examines China’s government reforms over the past 40 years from an instrumental–structural and a cultural–value perspective with the aim of exploring the supposed shift from New Public Management (NPM) to post-NPM. It finds that some aspects of the Old Public Administration (OPA) have been combined with NPM and post-NPM features in a layering process, resulting in new hybrid organizational forms and value orientations. In particular, the analysis shows that China’s post-NPM-oriented reforms have focused on positive coordination in the sense of super-ministries and networks on the one hand and value-based governance with a service orientation on the other hand.
Article
Full-text available
A személyes kapcsolatok a résztvevők egymáshoz viszonyított hatalmi-, és státuszhelyzete által meghatározottak. Különösen igaz ez a kommunikáció vonatkozásában is. A Rendőri Hivatás Etikai Kódexe szerint a vezetők személyes példamutatásukkal ösztönzik munkatársaikat, igénylik, és meghallgatják véleményüket, tanácsaikkal, és iránymutatásukkal segítik a munkavégzést. A Lasswell által kidolgozott kommunikációs alapmodell azt vizsgálja, hogy a kommunikáció során ki, kinek, és mit mond, milyen csatornán keresztül kommunikál, és mondandójával milyen hatást ér el. A tanulmány e modell alapján azt vizsgálja, hogy az autokrata, a demokratikus, és a laissez-faire vezetési stílus kommunikációja a gyakorlatban hogyan valósul meg, érvényesülnek-e az etikai alapelvek.
Preprint
Full-text available
Vietnam and China’s legislatures have evolved differently. Where legislatures in both countries once rarely met, the Vietnam National Assembly now meets two months a year, conducts confidence votes, and holds biannual query sessions. The Chinese National People’s Congress has none of these powers. Despite the growing interest in authoritarian institutions, existing theories do not explain these divergent evolutionary trajectories. Using a controlled case comparison, I argue that the divergence results from an underappreciated distinction across authoritarian regimes –the degree of delegation from the autocrat to the executive. Where autocrats cede more policy control to the government, there is a greater incentive to empower quasidemocratic institutions. Consistent with the theory, I show that those supporting legislative institutionalization in Vietnam did not intend to restrain the autocrat, but instead manage the autocrat’s agents. The findings should be of interest to scholars of authoritarian institutions and those studying Vietnam and China. (PDF) Vietnam as China's Path Not Taken: Explaining Variation in Authoritarian Legislative Institutionalization. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/334615226_Vietnam_as_China's_Path_Not_Taken_Explaining_Variation_in_Authoritarian_Legislative_Institutionalization [accessed Jul 22 2019].
Article
Full-text available
Dr. Kovács István Vezetői stílusok a hivatásos állomány szemével: autokrata. Absztrakt A tanulmányban részleteiben elemzem Lewin egy vezetési stílusát (autokrata), majd azt egy a 2018. évben végzett „survey” felmérés eredményeivel vetem össze. A kutatás során a forráskritika, az analízis és szintézis dialektikus egysége mellett kvantitatív eszközöket is felvonultató statisztikai számítások elvégzésére volt lehetőségem, amely a korrelációs együttható, azaz a hatásfoknagyság mérésére is kiterjedt. Kulcsszavak: vezetés-, és szervezéselmélet, vezetési stílusok, rendőrség, felmérés Leadership styles with the policemen’ eyes: autocrat style Abstract One leadership styles (autocrat) from Lewin were analysed in the study, which were compared with a „survey” results from the year 2018. Next to the source criticism, the analysis and the synthesis I could use quantitative tools, which have conducted the correlation and the efficiency calculations too. Keywords: leadership theory, leadership styles, police, survey
Chapter
As a result of the reforms undertaken in Chinese foreign policy since Deng’s administration, the contemporary structure of the Chinese foreign-policy process is complex and overlapping. To understand how the system functions, it is important to understand the actors within the system, including their structures, duties, and roles within the process. However, duties and roles often overlap between actors. This is where clashes over bureaucratic turf occur.
Article
Full-text available
Xi Jinping’s political authority was not preeminent among cadres of the Communist Party of China when he assumed the General Secretary of the Central Committee in November 2012. After his inauguration, Xi advocated a slogan of “Chinese Dream” for realizing the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” and pursued the policies for expanding the “core interests,” which appealed to growing nationalism among the party and the society, resulting in enhancing their support to Xi. China’s assertive behavior to claim territorial sovereignty and maritime interests in the East and South China Seas caused tension with the regional countries, but Xi took advantage of the conflictive relations with neighbors to strengthen his leadership in the Chinese politics. Xi administration achieved the integration of four maritime law enforcement agencies into the China Coast Guard and the establishment of the Central National Security Commission, which needed to overcome persistent opposition within the party. Xi also launched “Major Country Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics” as a new direction of Chinese foreign policies, seeking for greater leadership of China as a major power in the international community, which helped Xi to consolidate political authority. Xi cleverly employed assertive diplomacy to raise his authority in the Chinese politics.
Thesis
Full-text available
China’s economic development over the past four decades has come at considerable cost to its environment. Yet, in recent decades, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) authorities have responded with a series of legislative measures consistent with principles of ‘sustainable development’ (可持续发展). These environmental reforms have caught the attention of ecological modernisation theorists who argue that China is undergoing a form of ‘ecological modernisation’. However, despite their focus on the process of ecological modernisation within China, there has been little scholarly attention on the influence of ecological modernisation as a policy discourse in China. Examining this environmental policy discourse helps to define the parameters within which Chinese authorities are prepared to act and arrest the environmental impact of rapid economic development. This thesis argues that since the 1980s Chinese authorities have drawn on the environmental reform experience of developed nations and steadily incorporated ecological modernisation ideas into their environmental policies. Environmental bureaucratic agencies have been the key pioneers for their inclusion, although economic bureaucratic organs have also supported environmental reform measures. This has fostered a convergence of economic and environmental rationality within environmental policy discourse. However, despite these reforms, this thesis will also show how political interests, ranging from local cadres to the upper echelons of the Party, can stymie the inclusion of certain ecological modernisation ideas when these ideas challenge embedded economic and political rationalities. The empirical material for this research is derived from an examination of policy discussions surrounding five proposed environmental policy reforms in China: ‘cleaner production’ (清洁生产), ‘circular economy (循环经济), ‘green GDP’ (绿色GDP), ‘low-carbon economy’ (低碳经济), and ‘ecological civilisation’ (生态文明). It utilises Chinese-language material from a variety of official Party and Chinese government sources: policies, legislation, speeches, articles and interviews in order to demonstrate that Chinese officials’ ecological modernisation beliefs stem from their need to balance the PRC’s twin guiding principles of a ‘socialist market economy’ and ‘sustainable development’. The incorporation of ‘ecological civilisation’ into this policy discourse encapsulates this wish to create ‘ecological modernisation with Chinese characteristics’.
Article
Between 2009 and 2014, against the background of the Xinjiang ethnic unity education textbook reform (2009–2010), vigorous academic debate on China's ethnic policy reform took place. Two academic cliques – one championing reform and the other representing the status quo – gradually came to the fore in this debate and competed to influence policy. This research seeks to unpack the mechanisms in China's knowledge regime that allow one agent (such as a think tank or academic) to prevail over others. Agents have an impact on policymaking mainly through connections with the decision-making body. This research uses three variables (ideological connection, level and nature of the connection) to analyse the relative policy influence of different agents in the debate. This research is among the first to provide an in-depth analysis of the debate's policy impact at the local level. The reform clique prevailed in this case because of its ability to bond with and influence higher-level decision-making bodies. Beginning in 2014, the Chinese Communist Party officially adopted the reform clique's language because of its alignment with the Party's growing need to maintain security in ethnic minority areas. Furthermore, key reform clique players continue to have an impact on the national policy shift.
Article
Full-text available
Power concentration in the hands of Xi Jinping, Chinese Communist Party General Secretary, can be interpreted not only as a reaction to the power fragmentation and the intra-party factionalism that developed under his predecessor, but also as a way to strengthen and stabilise China’s authoritarian polity. In the realm of foreign and security policy, it can also be understood as the result of China’s awareness of both the growing transnational security risks that it is facing and the need to better address the new international tasks and responsibilities it needs to fulfil as a great power. Since 2012, Xi has embarked on sweeping institutional reforms that have contributed to centralising and better coordinating foreign and security decision-making. Yet, although more integrated, China’s authoritarian system has remained fragmented, including in the realm of foreign and security policy, an area where decision-making processes are still highly opaque.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.