Dancing with Diversity?
The Evolving Party-Society Nexus in Urban China
Rapid market transition in post-reform China has created various socioeconomic spaces that fall beyond the Leninist mode of control by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and thus constitutes a formidable challenge to its ruling capacity. This article examines the evolving adaptations of the CCP and the rise of a new form of Party-society nexus in urban China. We found that Party organisers have been fostering a spatial strategy in the context of ‘disorganised urban socialism’. By spanning institutional and sectoral gaps, engaging so-called ‘floating party members’, and developing community-based service networks, the Party has deliberately combined a specific social mechanism with the Leninist logic of organising. We conclude with a broader discussion of the possible scenario and political implication of CCP’s organisational consolidation from below.
Brødsgaard, Kjeld Erik 2018. ‘China’s Communist Party: From Mass to Elite Party’. China Report 54 (4): 385-402. https://doi.org/10.1177/0009445518806076.
Cao, Yuanzheng, et al. 1999. ‘From Federalism, Chinese style to Privatization, Chinese Style’. Economics of Transition 7: 103-131. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0351.00006.
Chen, Feng, and Gong Ting 2007. ‘Party versus Market in Post-Mao China: The Erosion of the Leninist Organization from Below’. Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics 13 (3): 148-166. https://doi.org/10.1080/13523279708415356.
Cunningham, Edwards, Tony Saich and Jesse Turiel 2020. Understanding CCP Resilience: Surveying Chinese Public Opinion Through Time. https://ash.harvard.edu/files/ash/files/final_policy_brief_7.6.2020.pdf. (Accessed on 20 May 2021).
Dickson, Bruce 2008. Wealth into Power: The Communist Party’s Embrace of China’s Private Sector. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511790706.
Dickson, Bruce 2016. The Dictator’s Dilemma: The Chinese Communist Party's Strategy for Survival. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Ding, Yuanzhu 2008. ‘Community Building in China: Issues and Directions’. Social Sciences in China XXIX (1): 152-159.
Giddens, Anthony 1991. Modernity and Self-identity. London: Polity Press.
Gore, Lance 2010. The Chinese Communist Party and China's Capitalist Revolution: The Political Impact of Market. London and New York: Routledge.
Harding, Neil 1996. Leninism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
He, Yiting 2017. ‘lun zhongguo gongchandang de ziwo gaige’ (On Self-reform of the CPC). Qiushi: CPC Central Committee Quarterly 9 (4): 47-48.
Heberer, Thomas and Christian Göbel 2011. The Politics of Community Building in Urban China. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
Howell, Jude 2016. ‘Adaptation under Scrutiny: Peering through the Lens of Community Governance in China’. Journal of Social Policy 45 (3): 487-506. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0047279415000884.
Jeong, Jong-Ho and Taehee Yoon 2020. ‘From Gray to Red: Party Building and the Transformation of Beijing’s Zhejiangcun’. Journal of Contemporary China 29 (126): 934-949. https://doi.org/10.1080/10670564.2020.1744391.
Jiang, Zemin 2002. On the ‘Three Represents’. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.
Jin, Meng 2005. ‘Yangguang yizhan: shequdangjian xinmoshi’ (Sunshine Station: New Model of Community Party Building). Renmin Luntan (People’s Forum) 1: 60-61.
Jowitt, Kenneth 1975. ‘Inclusion and Mobilization in European Leninist Regimes’. World Politics 28 (1): 69-96. https://doi.org/10.2307/2010030.
Krauss, Ellis S. and Robert J. Pekkanen 2010. The Rise and Fall of Japan’s LDP: Political Party Organizations as Historical Institutions. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1468109912000102.
Laliberté, André and Marc Lanteigne 2008. The Chinese Party-State in the 21st Century: Adaptation and the Reinvention of Legitimacy. London and New York: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.1017/s030574100800132x.
Lardy, Nicholas 2014. Markets over Mao: The Rise of Private Business in China. Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Lee, Ching Kwan and Zhang Yonghong 2013. ‘The Power of Instability: Unraveling the Microfoundations of Bargained Authoritarianism in China’. American Journal of Sociology 118 (6): 1475–1508. https://doi.org/10.1086/670802.
Li, Youmei (ed.) 2007. Yangguang yizhan: Lujiazhui shequdangjian de shizhengyanjiu (Sunshine Station: An Empirical Research on Lujiazhui Street Office Party Community Building). Shanghai: Shanghai Daxue chubanshe (Shanghai University Press).
Lin, Shangli 2000. Shequ dangjian yu qunzhongluxian (Community Party Building and Mass Line). Shanghai: Shanghai daxue chubanshe (Shanghai University Press).
Liu, Chunrong 2006. ‘Social Changes and Neighborhood Policy in Shanghai’. Policy and Society 25 (1): 133-155. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1449-4035(06)70130-8.
Liu, Chunrong 2018. Shequ zhili yu zhongguo zhengzhi de bianjigexin (Community Governance and Marginal Innovation in Chinese Politics). Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe (Shanghai People’s Press).
Liu, Shaoqi 1981. ‘Lun dang’ (On Party). In Liu Shaoqi xuanji (Liu Shaoqi Selections). Beijing: Renmin chubanshe (People’s Press), pp. 314-370.
London, Jonathan 2017. ‘Varieties of States, Varieties of Political Economy: China, Vietnam, and the Making of Market Leninism’. In Carroll, T. and Jarvis, D.S. (eds.). Asia after the Developmental State: Disembedding Autonomy. Cambridge University Press, pp. 388-428. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316480502.016.
Ma, Yili (ed.) 2008. Shanghai minzheng, 1978-2008 (Civil Affairs in Shanghai, 1978-2008), Beijing: zhongguo shehui chubanshe (China Society Press).
Mandel, Ernest 1970. ‘Leninist Theory of Organization: Its Relevance for Today’. International Socialist Review 31 (9), December. https://www.marxists.org/archive/mandel/196x/leninism/index.htm (Accessed on 25 August 2020).
Nathan, Andrew J. 2003. ‘Authoritarian Resilience’. Journal of Democracy 14 (1): 6-17.
Nee, Victor 1989. ‘A Theory of Market Transition: From Redistribution to Markets in State Socialism’. American Sociological Review 54 (5): 663-681. https://doi.org/10.2307/2117747.
Oi, Jean. C., and Scott Rozelle 2000. ‘Elections and Power: The Locus of Decision-Making in Chinese Villages’. The China Quarterly 162: 513-39. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0305741000008237.
Perry, Elizabeth J. 2013. ‘Cultural Governance in Contemporary China: Re-orienting Party Propaganda’. Harvard-Yenching Institute Working Papers. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11386987 (Accessed on 3 April 2021).
Perry, Elizabeth J., and Sebastian Heilmann 2011. Mao’s Invisible Hand: The Political Foundations of Adaptive Governance in China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1sq5tc6.
Pieke, Frank N. 2012. ‘The Communist Party and Social Management in China’. China Information 26 (2): 149-165. https://doi.org/10.1177/0920203x12442864.
Qiu, Suqin, Wang Yunzhi, and Shi Jing 2016. ‘Shanghai Pudong Lujiazui jiedao yangguang yizhan de shehuhua zhuanxing.’ (Social Transformation of Sunshine Station of Lujiazhui Street Office in Pudong). Shanghai dangshi yu dangjian (Shanghai Party History and Party Building) 10: 43-46.
Read, Benjamin L. 2012. Roots of the State: Neighborhood Organization and Social Networks in Beijing and Taipei. Stanford: Stanford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0305741012001348.
Rigger, Shelley 1999. Politics in Taiwan: Voting for Democracy. London: Routledge.
Scott, James 1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. https://doi.org/10.30541/v39i1pp.76-78.
Selden, Mark 1971. The Yenan Way in Revolutionary China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. https://doi.org/10.1177/000944557300900206.
Selznick, Philip 1960. The Organizational Weapon: A Study of Bolshevik Strategy and Tactics. Glencoe, IL: Free Press
Shambaugh, David 2008. Chinese Communist Party: Atrophy and Adaptation. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Shevchenko, Alexei 2004. ‘Bringing the Party Back In: The CCP and the Trajectory of Market Transition in China’. Communist and Post-Communist Studies 37 (2): 161-185. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.postcomstud.2004.03.002.
Tang, Wenfang 2016. Populist Authoritarianism: Chinese Political Culture and Regime Sustainability. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1537592717000822.
Tang, Yanwen and Liu Chunrong 2019. Zhaohui caogen: shanghai juweihui zizhijiayuan yanjiu (Bring the Grassroots Back In: A Study of Residents Committee Self-Governance in Shanghai). Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe (Shanghai People’s Press).
Thornton, Patricia M. 2012. ‘The New Life of the Party: Party Building and Social Engineering in Greater Shanghai’. China Journal 68: 58–78. https://doi.org/10.1086/666580.
Thornton, Patricia M. 2013. ‘The Advance of the Party Transformation or Takeover of Urban Grassroots Society’. The China Quarterly 213: 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0305741013000039.
Townsend, James R. 1967. Political Participation in Communist China. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Walder, Andrew G., Bobai Li, and Donald J. Treiman 2000. ‘Politics and Life Chances in a State Socialist Regime: Dual Career Paths into the Urban Chinese Elite, 1949 to 1996’. American Sociological Review 65 (2): 191-209. https://doi.org/10.2307/2657437.
Walder, Andrew 1986. Communist Neo-Traditionalism: Work and Authority in Chinese Industry. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/68.2.672.
Walder, Adrew (ed.) 1995. The Waning of the Communist State: Economic Origins of Political Decline in China and Hungary. Berkeley: University of California Press. https://doi.org/10.1177/002190969803300407.
Wang, Shaoguang and He Jianyu 2004. ‘Associational Revolution in China: Mapping the Landscape’. Korea Observer 35 (3): 485-532.
Xi, Jinping 2017. The Governance of China II, Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.
Yan, Xiaojun, and Jie Huang 2017. ‘Navigating Unknown Waters: The Chinese Communist Party’s New Presence in the Private Sector’. China Review 17 (2): 37-63.
Yan, Yunxiang 2010. ‘The Chinese Path to Individualization’. British Journal of Sociology 61 (3): 489-512. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-4446.2010.01323.x.
You, Ji 1998. China’s Enterprise Reform: Changing State-Society Relations after Mao. London: Routledge.
Yu, Ang and Chengzuo Tang 2018. ‘Mobilized to Take a Vanguard Role: Communist Party Members’ Participation in the Community Building Campaign’. SocArXiv. 7 October. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/6khja.
Yu, Keping 2011. ‘A shift towards Social Governance in China’. East Asia Forum Quarterly: Governing China 3(2). https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2011/09/09/a-shift-towards-social-governance-in-china/ (Accessed on 12 August 2018).
Zhang, Han 2015. ‘Party Building in Urban Business Districts: Organizational Adaptation of the Chinese Communist Party’. Journal of Contemporary China 24 (94): 644–664. https://doi.org/10.1080/10670564.2014.975957
Zhao, Dingxin 2009. ‘The Mandate of Heaven and Performance Legitimation in Historical and Contemporary China’. American Behavioral Scientist 53: 416-433. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764209338800.
Zheng, Yongnian 2010. The Chinese Communist Party as Organizational Emperor: Culture, Reproduction and Transformation. London and New York: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11366-012-9210-6.
Zhou, Heling 2002. Jiedu kunhuo: Shanghai dangjiuan de shencengci tiaozhan (Interpreting Puzzles: The Deep Challenges of Party Building in Shanghai). Shanghai: Shanghai Jiaotong daxue chubanshe (Shanghai Jiaotong University Press).
Copyright (c) 2021 Chunrong Liu, Yanwen Tang
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.