China in the 1990s by Robert Benewick, Paul Wingrove

By Robert Benewick, Paul Wingrove

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The revitalisation of the governmental sector has also breathed new life into the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). The Conference now meets annually, usually at the same time as the NPC. With the stress on social harmony rather than class conflict, the CPPCC provides the Party with an important link with members of other political parties, and also with key personnel who have no party affiliation. As the main forum for cooperation with non-Communist Party intellectuals, it provides Tony Saich 49 the Party and the NPC with expertise that is necessary for economic modernisation.

Intellectual argument becomes a potentially dangerous political game, which cannot but restrict the ability to think about and implement reforms. To the extent that ideology acts to restrict adaptation to new realities, it undermines its own credibility and the authority of its exponents. Yet the reverse is also true. Ideology as afterthought or cosmetic rationalisation also loses force and credibility. Even if contending policy positions reach an agreement, the result, when converted into ideological pronouncements, is likely to be an implausible hotchpotch.

These tensions have become increasingly apparent in the post-Tiananmen period and now that the Party leadership has decided to push ahead with policies for rapid economic growth they will inevitably be confronted by precisely the kinds of problems that they so manifestly refused to deal with in April-June 1989. Eventually, the Party will have to move back to the kind of relationship between Party and state and society that was envisaged by Zhao Ziyang and his supporters. Party-State sector relations In all state socialist societies Party and state are closely entwined, with a dominant role for the Party .

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