Politics & Purges in China: Rectification and the Decline of Party Norms, 1950-1965

Politics & Purges in China: Rectification and the Decline of Party Norms, 1950-1965

Politics & Purges in China: Rectification and the Decline of Party Norms, 1950-1965

Politics & Purges in China: Rectification and the Decline of Party Norms, 1950-1965

Excerpt

The history of post-1949 Chinese politics has normally been written in terms of debate and conflict over social and economic questions. However, another set of issues has also been of enormous importance to the leaders of the People's Republic of China (PRC) - the organizational norms defining acceptable behavior within the elite. What rights do Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders have in the policy making process? What principles bind Party officials in the implementation of policy? What types of behavior are beyond the pale? How is inner elite conflict ideally handled? What norms guide the administration of discipline? When are purges justified? This study focuses on these questions for the period from the founding of the PRC to the start of the Cultural Revolution.

Rectification, the distinctive approach to elite discipline developed by the CCP leadership under Mao, Tse-tung in the early 1940s, occupies a key position in the Party's organizational norms. It embodies several principles which quickly became basic Party doctrine: the vast majority of officials are "basically good" and their mistakes can be corrected, discipline must aim at achieving reform and utilizing the talents of such officials for the CCP's cause, and disciplinary methods on the whole should be lenient and limit purges to exceptional cases. In the revolutionary period, this approach built on existing leadership unity to extend and deepen the commitment of the CCP elite to Maoist programs and methods, thus playing an important role in the Party's eventual success. Quite naturally, Chinese leaders subsequently applied rectification methods to major problems and conflicts which arose after the nationwide seizure of power.

Rectification principles are firmly linked to other key organizational understandings. Given a basic commitment to the CCP's cause, leaders can participate in a relatively open policy making process marked by collective decisions and rights for minorities. In the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.