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Title: The Political Economy of Xi Jinping's Political Rollback
Authors: 陶儀芬
Tao, Yi-Feng
Contributors: Issues & Studies
Keywords: China ; political economy ; Xi Jinping ; bureaucratic authoritarianism ; coalition politics
Date: 2021-06
Issue Date: 2022-04-11 09:09:22 (UTC+8)
Abstract: When Xi Jinping had just come to power in 2012, the world expected that he would continue the development trajectory of economic liberalization and political institutionalization set in motion by Deng Xiaoping. However, when the National People's Congress abolished the presidential term limit in the Chinese Constitution in March of 2018, it suddenly became clear that Xi had chosen to "roll back" from Deng's policy line in nearly every aspect of the Chinese Party-state system. How does one explain Xi's sudden departure from Deng's policy line? In comparison with the resurgence of other authoritarian regimes of the 1960s and 1970s in Latin America and East Asia, this paper argues that the cause of Xi's political rollback lies in the exhaustion of the previous development model. More specifically, the exhaustion of export-led growth in the mid-2000s had made the existing distributive coalition unsustainable. The power struggle within the political coalition therefore intensified and finally led to Xi's monopoly over political power. The argument of this paper will proceed through four parts. It will begin with a literature review of comparative authoritarianism with a particular focus on the impact of a development crisis on the survival of political coalitions. It is followed by an analysis of the contributions of China's export-led growth to the sustainability of the political coalition during the eras of Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Then, it will explain how the exhaustion of export-led growth led to a power struggle within the political coalition and how through a re-orientation of the development model, Xi has gradually concentrated power into his own hands. Finally, it will discuss the theoretical implications of China's case.
Relation: Issues & Studies, 57(2), 215005(1-20)
Data Type: article
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