On the Legitimacy of the Dengist Regime

  • Torstein Hjellum Asian Research Centre


Deng's truth-from-facts willingness to discard outmoded dogmas and his black-cats/white-cats readiness to tinker with China's basic economic institutions had led him boldly to venture where no Chinese leader - no leader anywhere in the communist world - had previously dared to go. Early on, Deng decoupled the engine of market competition (good) from the stigma of capitalist exploitation (bad) and threw open China's doors to the outside world, setting in motion a process of accelerated socio-economic development and modernization. . . . Rapid but uneven economic growth, accompanied by a deep erosion of traditional ideological norms and social controls, produced a situation high in raw entrepreneurial energy but low in institutionalized immunity to a wide variety of potential systemic disorders, ranging from rising regional inequality and uncontrolled rural emigration to a nationwide epidemic of crime, corruption, and popular cynicism. All this arguably rendered China more volatile politically than at any time since the late 1940s.'