Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

The Research Overview of Western Political Circles on China's Political Ecology

Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

The Research Overview of Western Political Circles on China's Political Ecology

Article excerpt


Due to the difference of political system and great achievements of the reform and opening up, China's political ecology has attracted more and more attention from scholars at home and abroad. In China, political theory researchers are keen on explaining problems of China through western political theory, while western political academic circles cannot develop a macroscopic theory explaining political ecology with Chinese characteristics because of the inherent mind-set. Therefore, this thesis teases out China's political literature research by the west since the founding of PRC, attributes the uniqueness of China's political ecology to four aspects which are "Authoritarian Resilience" and "Party Adaptation", a civilization of long standing and a sense of national identity, Confucian culture and the traditional centralized management as well as the response of type conversion of leader cadres to social needs. This thesis puts up some proposals on politics study of China in the future, and explains macroscopic theory of China phenomenon with Chinese discourse.

Keywords: China, political ecology, uniqueness

1. Introduction

Since the reform and opening up for more than 30 years, China has become the second largest economy in the world from a third world country on the brink of bankruptcy. At the same time, western society has trapped in financial crisis for several times, and its economic growth has stagnated for years. More and more western scholars begin to pay attention to China's political ecology (especially the development and change of the Chinese Communist Party) internationally and try to puzzle out the deep reasons of China miracle. But, as Martin Jacques pointed out at TED speech, people in western countries incline to understand Chinese society from their concept and cognition for politics and society which are based on their own historical and cultural traditions. In other words, they never understand Chinese problems with Chinese concept (Note 1). Therefore, the espoused theories are often full of mistakes and unable to predict China's future development accurately except particular phenomenon in short time. The viewpoint of Martin Jacques coincides with a number of political experts in China. In the current political research process of China, a large number of western scholars with objectives opinions hold that China's political system is different from the previous understanding of politics to political system and culture. There is no corresponding relatively accurate theory to understand Chinese politics.

As Michel Oksenberg, a well-known Chinese expert of the United States pointed: "...... such previous depictions as 'totalitarianism', a 'Leninist party state', 'fragmented authoritarianism', 'soft authoritarianism' or 'bureaucratic pluralism' miss the complexity of China's state structure" (Oksenberg, 2002).

Or Tang Tsou, a world-famous ethnic Chinese professor of University of Chicago stated: "....political development in twentieth-century China, particularly the history of the Chinese Communist Movement and regime, is so complex and unprecedented that no general model readily fits the Chinese case....." (Tang, 1986)

In this regard, the thesis will be the first to tease out the previous western literature and draw the developing track of China studies in the west from 1949 to 2012. Then, the thesis will put forward four reasons that cause the uniqueness of China's political ecology and some suggestions as well as ideas of China studies in the future through a comprehensive analysis of existing literature.

2. Retrospect on Research Literature of China's Contemporary Political Ecology

According to time sequence, the research of China's contemporary political ecology could be divided into four periods: early days of new China, 10 years of the Great Cultural Revolution of China, reform and opening-up as well as China in the future. All of them present different research characteristics. …

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


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.