Directory of Officials and Organizations in China: A Quarter-Century Guide

By Malcolm Lamb | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

This Directory is intended for analysts of political and organizational developments in China since the Cultural Revolution. The Cultural Revolution, which can be traced to the northern winter of 1965-66, marked a sharp departure from the stable organizational and personnel patterns evident in the 1950s and early 60s.

In China the end of the Cultural Revolution is dated from the downfall of the Gang of Four in October 1976, and the Cultural Revolution is taken to have covered the ten year period preceding it. However, analysts generally agree that by October 1968 most of the major purges and structural upheavals had ended, and the long process of political and organizational rebuilding had begun. For the purpose of this Directory the end of the Cultural Revolution is taken to be October 1968. The Directory follows the organizational and personnel changes over the period from October 1, 1968 ( National Day) to a cut-off around June 1993. While the Directory concentrates on the central departments and officials, an increased amount of data is included on key provincial positions. (1)

The April 1969 Ninth Party Congress saw the consolidation of the organizational changes announced in late 1968. The Maoist call for 'better troops and simpler administration' in 1971 resulted in the amalgamation of a large number of State Council ministries with the aim of reducing the bureaucratic waste so prevalent in the pre-Cultural Revolution period. People's Liberation Army (PLA) men, who in many cases had been associates of Lin Biao, staffed these ministries for a time, but the period from 1972 to 1976 is noted for the massive rehabilitation (often posthumously) of personnel dismissed during the Cultural Revolution - the most famous case being Deng Xiaoping himself.

After the convening of the Fourth National People's Congress (NPC) in January 1975, the number of ministries again began to expand to pre-Cultural Revolution levels. The organs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee were largely re-activated in this period, and many other organizations which ceased to function during the Cultural Revolution were restored. In 1976, following the death of Zhou Enlai, there was a brief reversal of this trend with the temporary dismissal of Deng Xiaoping and a number of his associates.

After the downfall of the Gang of Four in October 1976, the rehabilitation process re‐ commenced and was largely completed by late 1980. By late 1981, however, the policy of expansion of government ministries had been reversed again, and the amalgamations popular in 1971 were advocated once more. At the end of 1982, the number of State Council ministries, commissions and bureaux had been reduced by something in the order of fifty percent.

Through the 1980s, while there was general organizational stability with the Twelfth and Thirteenth CPC Congresses, and the Sixth and Seventh NPCs, personnel shifts were considerable. Leaders of the first, and most of the second generation of revolutionaries have been retired, and many have since died. A greater effort has been made to promote younger, better-educated leaders, of whom Li Peng is a significant example. However, ideological disputes, culminating in the June 1989 'Tian An Men Incident', saw the political demise of Zhao Ziyang, but not a significant number of other dismissals or organizational change.

-xxvii-

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