Provincial government and regional development
This research uses a case study of Xinjiang to challenge China's reform by addressing the problems rooted in its partiality and regionalisation. The reform started in the field of political administration and toleration of decentralisation and marketisation in the economic sphere has generated economic prosperity in some regions. But economic reform was not necessarily accompanied by political transformation. Most characteristics of socialism have been retained, including political discretion and economic bailout. Both are regarded as major causes to economic weakness in some sectors and some provinces. The central argument for the continuation of the partial reform is decentralisation of decision-making to the local political state, enabling local government to give a "helping hand" in facilitating change. But the partiality of the reform drives local governments in those regions with political sensitivities to become a "political defender", holding back the progress of the reform there. Such unbalanced and unparalleled developments amongst the regions and institutions has create imbalances in provinces such as Xinjiang, challenging the success of China's reform overall. In politically sensitive regions, the Communist Party has retained an administrative stranglehold and development has stagnated, not only calling into question the sustainability the reforms but also potentially threatening China's unity and political stability. The thesis uses Xinjiang, which is politically very sensitive, because of its ethnicity and strategic resources, to argue this point.