The Political Economy of Rural Development in China, 1978-1999

By Weixing Chen | Go to book overview

tions. Corruption within the Party and misbehavior among party officials had long been a problem. If education in communist ideology had done nothing to correct those party and government officials, how could those officials successfully correct the peasants? Instead of having any positive impact, the shejiao further encouraged corruption within the party and the misbehavior of party members and cadres. One local cadre told the author that he was scared when he learned that work teams from the province were coming to conduct a shejiao (recalling his experience of the first shejiao, in the 1960s), but he soon felt relieved after the arrival of the work teams, because he realized that nothing comparable to the shejiao of the early 1960s could take place in the 1990s. By implication, corrupt local cadres could always escape if they managed their relations with the higher authorities.

Events in the rest of the communist world suggested that ideological loss was the ultimate outcome. The CCP had intentionally discarded ideology as a useful tool in China's economic development since the mid-1980s. The proclamation of the "primary stage of socialism," the declaration that the reform policy "will not change for one hundred years," and the discontinuation of the shejiao were all indications that the CCP had been abandoning communist ideology as a useful tool in China's economic development. Since the ideological campaign had become an ineffective instrument for political control, its further employment would only damage the CCP.

If the CCP had tried to preserve revolutionary patterns of leadership in a changed post-revolutionary environment, the consequence was to lead people where they no longer wanted to go. By safeguarding its own practical ideology of modernization since the mid-1980s, the CCP was able to lead people where they wanted to go in the changed post-revolutionary environment. By doing so, the CCP was able to adjust itself to this new environment while maintaining its leadership. The CCP had only one alternative in the reform: to transform itself and to adjust itself to the environment of the reform. The discontinuation of the shejiao and the course of development defined by the CCP at the Fourteenth Party Congress were new gestures in the right direction. In this sense, shejiao served as a funeral for the old communist ideology in China and marked the beginning of a new era of economic development in China. We now turn to chapter 2, on the transformation of the CCP and Chinese society since the reform.


NOTES
1.
Francis Fukuyama, "The End of History?" in Richard K. Betts, ed., Conflict after the Cold War ( New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1994), p. 10.

-26-

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The Political Economy of Rural Development in China, 1978-1999
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Abbreviations xv
  • 1 - Ideology and Economic Development 1
  • Notes 26
  • 2 - A Party of Economics and Market-Oriented Communal Socialism 29
  • Notes 45
  • 3 - The Dengist Reform in Historical Perspective 47
  • Notes 68
  • 4 - The Village Conglomerate: A New Form of Political Economy 71
  • Notes 98
  • 5 - The Peasant Challenge at the Turn of the Century 101
  • Notes 117
  • 6 - Village Elections for Self-Government 119
  • Notes 134
  • 7 - A New Ideological Discourse: Deng Xiaoping Theory 137
  • Notes 153
  • 8 - Understanding the Political Economy of Development 155
  • Notes 161
  • Bibliography 163
  • Index 169
  • About the Author *
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