CCP Internal Resilience – post 7 of 10

Chinese bureaucratic stability is not western bureaucratic stability

The bureaucracy can be, should be, must be, stable even if leadership is in crisis.  What keeps midlevel bureaucrats and above from collaborating for substantial change?  After all, there are leadership crises from time to time –Bo Xilai is the best known to us, but he was no midlevel, and there have been many more, back to the time of Mao.  And Bo Xilai had loyalists in Chongqing and Dalian, but no one was volunteering to go to jail with him.

CCP Internal Resilience – post 6 of 10

Decentralization and family first

Sometimes, we think of CCP governance as Xi Jinping sitting in Zhongnanhai, pushing buttons, and everyone jumps. That may be true now to some extent, but more generally, Chinese governance is highly decentralized.  A mayor owes more direct allegiance to the city Party leader, and perhaps one or two people at the provincial level, than to Xi Jinping directly.  Of course, the obligations extend all the way up and you don't want your own leader to lose face.

CCP Internal Resilience – post 5 of 10

Organization Department - Vetting and Evaluation

 

The vetting process for moving up in the hierarchy is serious and it is constant.  At a certain level of middle management, the Central Organization Department (zhongzubu) controls promotions and lateral moves and arranges annual progress reviews.  The Central Organization Department controls the top 5000 or so positions within CCP, and provincial and local organization bureaus control thousands more.  Someone is always watching, and the watching is everywhere.

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.    

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