Developing China: Land, Politics and Social Conditions (Routledge Contemporary China Series)

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By successfully adapting to an ever-changing environment and hence preserving this equilibrium, a political system produces stability. Stability is thus to be defined not only as the outcome of sound structures but also of positive functionability and political performance. Efficiency, legitimacy, civil order, consistency and other factors are all indicators of stability. Moreover, features like the existence of a constitutional state, the absence of violent social conflicts or disorder, the continuity of governments or economic prosperity are manifestations and requirements of political stability.

In his seminal work Political Order in Changing Societies, Samuel Huntington has explained stability from a modernist perspective.

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Therefore, institutions must change 5. Interestingly, Huntington argues that the key issue of stability in transformation societies is whether a strong political party exists that is capable to integrate the masses, to represent a broad variety of economic, social and political interests and to successfully produce legitimacy and stability 90— According to German political scientist Wolfgang Merkel 58 , a political system faces five challenges to its stability, if not existence: 1 political and social integration; 2 mobilization of resources; 3 maintenance of peaceful and orderly relations with other countries; 4 political participation of the population; and 5 a fair distribution of GNP by state intervention.

A political system can only uphold stability if it manages to respond successfully to these challenges and modify its structures and modes of operation according to the necessary changes. This volume attempts to shed light on the significance and consequences of institutional change for stability of the political system in China. Lyman Miller has pointed out in an attempt to explain the relationship between in stability and change in contemporary China, the juxtaposition of these terms is somewhat misleading.

China is certainly unstable, because it constantly changes Lyman Miller This volume aims at providing the reader with sound analyses and in-depth case studies of a wide range of political, social and economic reforms in contemporary China, asking in what way they shape and change Communist Introduction 3 rule and Chinese society, and to what extent they may engender new stability and legitimacy for the CCP regime. Ideological change, which conditions institutional change, is pathdependent as it results from a cost—benefit analysis foregoing any decision to modify the existent ideological framework of the political system.

This pathdependency can only be understood by a thorough look at the relationship between ideological change and political legitimacy.

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Drawing on the work of David Beetham, Holbig explains that ideology is assigned the task of laying the ground for righful authority, defining criteria for assessing government performance, and mobilizing popular consent, especially of those groups relevant to state legitimation. Fulfilling these tasks makes ideology important in times of social disorientation during a process of system transformation. Targeting the heavy 4 T.


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If that system worked, as the author points out, sub-provincial autonomy would be substantially reduced. Most notably, township and village authorities would be deprived of their income and reduced to mere service provision centres for the upper administrative levels. Government subsidies could not make up for the income losses. The practice of imposing illegal levies and fees has prevailed in much of Anhui province as in the rest of the country. Also, local cadres have been seriously alienated from the political system because of constant pressure to rationalize service and personnel, and find funding to make ends meet.

The centre carries its good part of responsibility for this situation as it declines to set clear and verifiable targets within its guidelines and to supervise the whole reform process more strictly. Taken as a whole, although village elections have not dramatically altered the political supremacy of the Party, accountability has become a major factor of cadre legitimacy. Moreover, most villagers feel empowered by the introduction of direct elections, albeit objectively this may not always be the case. It is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, in those places with moderate economic develop- Introduction 5 ment, where village elections change the situation on the ground the most.

RCs are primarily important to those weaker strata of society who depend on the state to be provided with social services and financial support — tasks that the RCs are forced to assume on behalf of higher government authorities. For instance, they make people voice their opinions more in their shequ, which may be a good starting point for more direct interference in local political affairs soon to come. He explains why the establishment and later development of Township and Village Enterprises TVEs did not follow the path of conventional theory claiming that political systems tend to produce ineffective property rights.

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In the case of China, where ideological change paved the ground for a private property rights regime in the early s, close cooperation, if not a symbiotic relationship, between the TVEs and local governments constituted the best solution in a complex political setting with many restrictions for the TVEs to operate independently.

Also, in a fuzzy market environment the TVE-government nexus provided for huge rents profitable to each side of the arrangement. However, as Taube explains, since regulatory structures have changed a lot in recent years, the transaction costs for clear-cut private property rights have been enforced below the threshold level, making the 6 T. Schubert current arrangement between TVEs and local governments less advantageous to the former. It is the emergence and diffusion of cognitive models, a special logic of redistribution, and political entrepreneurship — foregoing the formation of strategic groups — which condition the mutual relationship between collective action and institutional change.

The territorial dimension of this process can only be understood in terms of investigating competing subunits of government with different degrees of autonomy, and the specific fiscal and property rights systems that have evolved at those levels over time. As Herrmann-Pillath underlines, in order to explain divergent development in contemporary China, these subunits must be smaller than those usually referred to by statistical aggregation.

Though capital markets are core institutions of a market economy they have gained both considerable size and significance over the course of economic reforms. Consecutively, the market side — including the market entry of foreign firms and the rapidly internationalizing market environment for domestic firms — and the regulatory side, e. The main interest of her investigation, however, lies in the political effects of market development.

As far as capital markets are part of the political system and the resources they allocate have political significance, internationalization thus also alters the foundation, Introduction 7 mechanisms and scope of CCP rule. Internationalization contributes to a new understanding of both the role of the state in the emerging market economy and the extent to which the CCP controls both state institutions regulators and market actors domestic financial firms. Internationalization therefore not only has economic significance, but — along the growing role of capital markets in resource allocation — reshapes the regulatory control of the CCP over the economy.

Changing patterns of resource allocation in turn may significantly challenge established distributional networks and thus party legitimacy. In the West, the hope arose that economic liberalization would gradually limit political control and thus lead to a general relaxation of media content. Fischer argues, however, that one cannot speak of a major turnaround, albeit some change has occurred.

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Media control — as goes a basic argument in her chapter — has somewhat shifted from direct intervention and propaganda to self-censorship. Currently, the authorities are striving to adjust contractual arrangements to ensure effective self-censorship. Also, in recent years the political authorities have made tremendous efforts to reinforce self-censorship. Financial incentives were increasingly linked to political correctness, and the government has promulgated numerous new media regulations.


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Nevertheless, those changes might result in the destabilization of the former institutional equilibrium, as protests of editors are increasing and people feel no longer obliged to stick to political correctness. Barbara Darimont sheds light on the reshaping and evolution of the social security system in China. As the latter has always been regarded as a great achievement strongly legitimizing CCP rule, the negative consequences of the market transition for the established system of social security required comprehensive reforms in this sector.

The Chinese government has therefore been searching for new solutions as, for instance, transferring social issues to grassroots entities like neighbourhood communities in urban areas or implementing collective forms of security like the reimplementation of community-sponsored medical service, called hezuo yiliao in rural areas. By this, the political leadership hopes to minimize social upheaval which can easily turn out to be most detrimental to regime stability and legitimacy as it mobilizes the lower strata of society against a party representing the interests of peasants and workers.

Schubert regime and then analyse six major institutions that have shaped the changing Chinese labour market: the system of socio-political control, the production regime, industrial relations, the welfare regime, family and kin and the education system. However, although the Chinese labour market is no longer socialist, it has not yet evolved into a genuine labour market.

Taken together, the Chinese labour market faces big challenges and still needs much engagement on the part of the state in order to fit the demands of a capitalist economy. Concurrently, the government is strictly controlling such organizations, fearing that they might challenge established political structures and, finally, the political system as a whole. Environmental degradation has negative repercussions on macro-economic welfare as their growing external costs lead to an unfavourable allocation of resources. Hence, environmental policy is closely connected to economic policy and economic policy decisions.

Can China's rural land reform bring about rural revitalization?

However, the current role of environmental policy within the concert of other policy fields in China, especially regarding international or global issues, is still a minor one. For China as a developing country, economic development and social welfare are still more important policy objectives.

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His study provides a qualitative and quantitative description of the current situation concerning the atmospheric environment urban air quality, emissions of global greenhouse gases , water, soil and solid wastes as the main fields of Chinese environmental policy. His contribution ends with a discussion of future perspectives for containing emissions of CO2 and SO2. Lyman Miller, H.


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Special issues

There is a widespread conviction among Western China scholars that economic reforms in the PRC over the past 25 years have rendered ideology obsolete. According to conventional wisdom, economic performance is left as the only factor to bestow regime legitimacy to the Chinese party-state, implying that Communist one-party rule will immediately plunge into a serious legitimacy crisis should economic success one day falter.

This conventional wisdom contrasts with the enormous resources spent by the Chinese Communist Party CCP day by day for the production, reproduction and reform of official discourse and ideology. The following chapter challenges this conventional wisdom and argues instead that in present-day China, ideology — understood as a unified system of meanings for which political actors claim exclusive authority cf.

HerrmannPillath 13 — does indeed matter as an important factor for the ruling party to uphold its regime legitimacy. Holbig 1. Ideas and ideologies matter, and institutions play a major role in determining just how much they matter. Ideas and ideologies shape the subjective mental constructs that individuals use to interpret the world around them and make choices. At the same time, due to their subjective nature ideologies mediate the very perception of relative prices, thus assuming a partly autonomous role in institutional change. In other words, by influencing the perceived costs of institutional change and the choices individuals make, ideology has a direct impact on institutional change North chapters 9—11 passim.