Beijing Spring, 1989: Confrontation and Conflict: the Basic Documents

By Michel Oksenberg; Lawrence R. Sullivan et al. | Go to book overview

cratic centralism in the first realm with the leader responsibility system, then we will just restore an autocratic and patriarchal system and our democratic politics will degenerate into autocratic politics again.

"Neo-authoritarianism" stressed the authority of leaders rather than an authoritarian polity. This opinion holds that under the present conditions, we need some powerful leaders to advance modernization in an arbitrary way, and that the pressing task of the moment is to realize a dual society which is characterized by a free enterprise system in the economic field and a power centralization system in the political field.

A document of the Thirteenth CPC Congress explicitly stipulates that a major problem in our political system that we must resolutely solve through reform is the high degree of power centralization in the political field. The document points out that in our country, "excessive power centralization is not only reflected in the party committees holding too much power over various economic, administrative, cultural institutions, and mass organizations, but is also reflected in too much power of the grass-roots units being held in the hands of the upper leading organs. On the one hand, the leading organs manage many things that they cannot manage properly or they should not interfere in, and they are consequently mired in routine affairs; on the other hand, the grass-roots units lack decision-making power and it is hard to fully arouse the initiative of the masses." In our country, authoritarian politics represent a time-honored tradition, so the great reform will encounter many obstacles and difficulties.

If we use "neo-authoritarianism," a medicine which may cause a fever, to cure our nation's chronic fever, this is similar to using gasoline to extinguish a fire. What result will this achieve? Is it hard to imagine?


12
"New Authority" Going Astray

LI WEI

Source: Jingjixue zhoubao (Economic studies weekly) ( Beijing) ( March 26, 1989): 7; FBIS, April 7, pp. 15-16.

In Western political science, authoritarianism and totalitarianism are two vastly different terms. Authoritarianism means that one dictator or a clique of such people concentrates and controls the power of a political system, except that they do not monopolize power in such areas as economy and culture. Totalitarianism

-142-

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