Academic journal article The Journal of East Asian Affairs

The Changing Patterns of Communist Party-State Relations in China: Comparative Perspective

Academic journal article The Journal of East Asian Affairs

The Changing Patterns of Communist Party-State Relations in China: Comparative Perspective

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The party-state relations in western democracies have been analyzed in great detail since Richard S. Katz and Peter Mair published their seminal research article on the emergence of the cartel party in 1995 (1995: 5-28). The political parties have not been weakened by the massive economic and social changes, but strengthened because of their closer relations with the state, and parties have now become semi-state agencies (Mair, 1998: 105-6). Consequently, scholars have discussed many issues of party-state relations, such as the parties' legal existence, their access to public resources, state subventions to political parties, regulation of party finance and campaign behavior (Müller and Sieberer, 2006: 435-43; Karl-Heinz Nassmacher, 2006: 446-55). Nicole Bolleyer even raises the most fundamental question, namely whether intensifying party-state interpenetration form part of a broader societal development or whether it is only party-specific (2013: 231).

Many remarkable changes have taken place in Chinese politics since the reform and opening policies were adopted in the late 1970s. Scholars of Chinese politics have studied different kinds of political reforms and political developments during the past three decades, yet many China experts take it for granted that the Communist Party-state resists any changes. In sharp contrast to the increasing interests in the party-state relations in western democracies, little attention has been paid to the Communist party-state relations in China simply because China has been regarded as a party-state in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has had monopoly of the state power, the party organizations have deeply penetrated the state apparatus and the party leadership has tightly controlled the state bureaucracy. As Hannah Arendt pointed out, it is perfectly true that 'even an expert would be driven mad if he tried to unravel the relationships between Party and State' in the Third Reich (1976: 395). Therefore, it is believed that it is of no theoretical and practical significance to distinguish the party from the state and discuss the party-state relations in China. One important exception is Shiping Zheng who tried to distinguish the party from the state and provided the comprehensive analysis of the tensions between the CCP and the Chinese state (1997: 9-12). Unfortunately, he identified three patterns of the party-state relations (either party or state; both party and state; and party supersedes state) and inevitably failed to explain political resilience since he treated both party and state as some kind of monolithic structure.

This paper is designed to explore and explain the different patterns of relations between the CCP and Chinese state by analyzing the legislative developments and changing relations between the CCP and People's Congresses (PCs). While many scholars have made great contributions to the studies of Party-government relations in China, the author tends to regard the CCP-PCs relation as a more important and promising field of study when we discuss the Communist party-state relations in contemporary China not only because the PCs are the state organs in Chinese constitutional structure, but also because great achievements have been made in legislative development during the past decades of state-building. The whole paper will be divided into four parts as follows. First, some important literature will be reviewed and a new theoretical framework of analysis of party-state relations will be introduced. Second, the legislative developments and changing patterns of Communist party-state relations will be analyzed in my theoretical framework. Third, the new pattern of Communist party-state relations emerging since the late 1990s in China will be studied, especially the recent developments about the increasing number of Communist party secretaries, who serve as the chairpersons of Provincial People's Congress (PPC) standing committee, will be described and discussed in detail. …

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.