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Title: The Chinese Communist Party's capacity to rule : legitimacy, ideology, and party cohesion
Author: Zeng, Jinghan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 9086
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis studies the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s capacity to rule in contemporary China by examining (a) its quest for popular legitimacy and (b) its search for party cohesion. In explaining the CCP’s ruling basis, a plethora of political science and economics literature has pointed to China’s economic growth. Conventional wisdom considers ideology to be obsolete and the political reform to be too limited to take any substantive effect in China. This thesis argues that ideological adaptation and the institutionalization of power succession play crucial roles in maintaining the CCP’s popular legitimacy and party cohesion. China’s economic success is certainly important, however, it also creates a fundamental dilemma of the CCP’s rule. If a communist party is not to deliver communism and class victory, why is it there at all? There is a potential contradiction between generating economic success by utilizing quasi capitalist economic policies on the one hand, and the fact that this is a communist party that supposedly justifies its rule by being the vehicle to deliver a communist society on the other. This thesis shows how the CCP has been constantly revising its ideological basis for justifying – if not legitimizing – its rule. By studying the CCP’s ideological discourses, the mechanism of ideological promotion, and their effectiveness, this thesis makes a valuable contribution to the relevant literature. In addition to ideology, the institutionalization of power succession is also crucial to the CCP’s rule. During Mao Zedong’s rule, an un-institutionalized power system had caused endless fierce power struggles within the party, which indirectly led to economic stagnation and social unrest. Thirty years of institutionalization has made leadership transitions in China more stable, transparent, predictable, and smoother now than ever before. By offering a large amount of first- and second-hand data on China’s leadership transition, this thesis shows how the institutionalization of power succession helps to maintain regime stability and legitimacy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JQ Political institutions (Asia ; Africa ; Australia ; Pacific Area ; etc.)