Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

Questions on the Study of "The Communist Youth League and China Elite Politics" in Western Circles of Politics

Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

Questions on the Study of "The Communist Youth League and China Elite Politics" in Western Circles of Politics

Article excerpt


The role of the Chinese Communist Youth League within China's politics is significant. But, such important institution has received insufficient analysis for a long time. Since Hu Jintao's coming into power, a reasonable numbers of cadres, with the youth league working experience, have entered the China's elite politics. And this institution arouses the focus of Western scholars. However, limited by the bias and the misunderstanding, scholars from the Western political science regarded the youth league as the foundation of certain political faction, not an institution of assisting the elite circulation for the party. Under the purpose of deepening the understanding of the research approach of the English world, this article is going to systematically analyze the former researches of the youth league in Western world.

Keywords: communist youth league(CYL), informal politics, CYL faction

1. Introduction

Since the official foundation of Chinese Communist Youth League in May, 1922 (Guangzhou), there has been more than 90 years of glorious history. As a mass organization for advanced youth, Chinese Communist Youth League is a school for the youth to study socialism with Chinese characteristics and communism in practice, the assistant and reserve force for the Communist Party of China. It has always been closely united under the correct leadership of the Communist Party of China, from a small community, with 15 local youth league organizations and more than 5000 members in the early stage to (till 2007) about 75.439 million members, 191000 carders and 2.946 million youth league organizations at the grassroots and has become one of three people's groups with influence in China political society.(Note 1) The Youth League has not only well completed the tasks of our party in each historical period, but also provided many excellent young cadres for party and government organs of all levels, institutions, people's organizations, enterprises and other organizations. The Youth League is one of the most important institutions in Chinese political ecology, but relevant literature is rare in circles of domestic and international politics. In recent years, due to the active experiences of a large number of Communist Youth League carders in various fields of Chinese politics, the Youth League as a topic has attracted the attention of the circles of Western politics. Therefore, the author will introduce Western academic research on theoretical basis and research results of the Communist Youth League and put forwards some questions on existing achievements.

2 Theoretical Research of Western Informal Politics

2.1 Background of the Rise of Informal Political Theory

The Soviet Union was the first communist country, whose national system mainly presents the Leninist party structure (Shambaugh, 2008) and does not have the two-party or multiparty election system existing in most western countries. Therefore, the research of new Chinese political elites done by early Western political circles follows "totalitarianism"(Arendt, 1973; Friedirich & Brzezinski, 1961; Schapiro, 1972; Tucker, 1965) according to the study of the Soviet Union and the research result focuses on the influence of the right operation and decision making by collective commonality of political elites and personality traits of leaders. However, with the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution, the highly unified situation among Chinese political elites is broken and more and more Chinese experts think that the study method of totalitarianism is inappropriate. Therefore, they begin to construct and develop three China elite political theories: first is to explore Generational Politics (Yahuda, 1979; Cherrington. 1997; Pye, 1976) among different generational elites formed by different important historical events; second is from the after-war American Technocracy, which is mainly used by Western political community to study the phenomenon that a large number of technocrats with science and engineering background enter into the core of China's politics (Li & White, 1988; Li & White, 1998; Zang, 1991; Zang, 1993, Kou, 2011) after the implementation of the "four modernization" cadre policy; third is the Informal Politics emphasizing the conflicts among political elites, or "Factionalism Politics"(Kou, 2010) in a narrow sense, which is the mainstream theory widely used in the Youth League and is also the main content of theoretical basis of Western Communist Youth League study in this thesis. …

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