CCP Internal Resilience – post 4 of 10

Career path, messaging, and training

 

The exams to be accepted for a civil service position take place each spring.  These exams are difficult, and determine one’s career path.  In some years, only about 2% of the college students taking the exam are passed.  Those who pass enter an elite system with lifelong benefits and obligations.

CCP Internal Resilience – post 3 of 10  

A history lesson

One place to seek answers to CCP stability is within Chinese history. This might contain a key to understanding what forces shape relations between the imperial center and the bureaucracy.  In current form, what binds millions of cadres to the Central Committee, or the Politburo, or the General Secretary? Perhaps dynastic history can be a model.

CCP Internal Resilience – post 2 of 10

CCP intraparty authoritarian resilience - no more

In 2003, Andrew Nathan proposed four reasons for authoritarian resilience in CCP.  The four reasons speak to both forms of resilience – resilience against the people and resilience to disruption from inside CCP.  Nathan was reflecting on political developments during the term of Deng Xiaoping and the more or less orderly transitions since.    

Some Notes on CCP Internal Resilience

“Authoritarian resilience” was the explanation in the west for CCP stability post Tian’anmen.  We can distinguish two meanings of CCP resilience over time.  The first describes resilience with respect to the Chinese people. How does the single party authoritarian, if not autocratic, state maintain legitimacy over time? What keeps angry or dissatisfied people out of the streets?

There is another resilience, and that is resilience internal to CCP. What keeps cadres loyal to the system they joined years ago?

Brief Note on the Trade Shootout

It is no surprise to anyone familiar with Chinese thinking on foreign policy or negotiating practice that China is  balking at changing its laws to reflect what the American negotiators apparently thought had been previously agreed. From the Reuters article -

 In each of the seven chapters of the draft trade deal, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war: Theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation.

One can marvel at American stupidity, if that is what is involved; or simply invoke the negotiating principle that no items are agreed to until all items are agreed to. One can call it Chinese perfidy, but that would simply imply that the Americans are so uninformed about Chinese negotiating tactics that they should not be in the same room with their counterparties at all.  To paraphrase Harold Washington on politics, trade negotiations ain't beanbag.

So let's get past the propaganda and posturing. This below is what no negotiating is going to change.  It is at the heart of some American thinking on the trade battle.

For prior posts in this series, see Whither Xi? Whither CCP? Whither China?

 

Whither China post #9 – Question 7 – So no democracy, no resilience; heavy challenges. Now what?

We looked at authoritarian resilience, modernization theory, the contrapositive to modernization theory, and threats to innovation, and came up short in two ways - on the need for a democratic transition and the inevitability of a growth slowdown without democracy.

This is not to say that high levels of growth can continue or that protests will cease. The question then turns to the current challenges in China – what is happening?  A version of Minxin Pei’s Trapped Transition is likely, although I think there are necessary updates to his view.  It is Mr. Xi who is leading China into a trap.