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Title: Institutional development of the Chinese National People's Congress (1978-89) : intellectual perspectives
Author: Yan, Xingjian
Awarding Body: University of Hull
Current Institution: University of Hull
Date of Award: 2013
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This research focuses on the institutional development of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in the period 1978-89, which was approximately the initial decade of the Post-Mao period of Chinese politics. For the NPC, this period saw the sharpest institutional development, which thus far remains under-researched. The main research question is how and why the NPC institution has developed. In other words, the research aims to illustrate the mechanism and factors that shape the NPC’s unique institutional characteristics. This study contributes to the existing literature that focuses largely on describing how the NPC institution changes by exploring why the NPC has acquired its many particularities. The main research question is answered from a new perspective external to the institution itself, which is guided by a theoretical framework centred on the ‘reform influencers’ who had a direct linkage to, or participated in, the NPC institutional reform. It is argued that clashes of consciousness (involving Marxist intellectual ideas, liberal democratic ideas, and domestic intellectual ideas such as nationalism) played an important role in the post-Cultural Revolution political reforms. Accordingly, the primary concern of the research is how the diversified consciousness, or the ‘intellectual background’, of the reform participants has influenced the institutional development of the NPC. Empirically, this study pursues the following issues: (1) who are the reform influencers and which social groups they represent; (2) how influencers’ diversified intellectual background shaped their preference in reforming the NPC institutions; (3) how the diversified preference finally shaped the main characteristics of the NPC institution. Based on the study of four major groups of influencers associated with NPC reforms, a series of ‘principles’ are identified in the concluding chapter as being responsible for shaping the NPC’s many unique institutional characteristics from an intellectual perspective. The new perspective analysed in this thesis represents an innovative attempt to study Chinese legislative development by linking the institutional development with its external ‘environment’ – the reform influencers and their conflicting intellectual ideas. Furthermore, the empirical analysis adds new knowledge and understanding of the NPC development to the current literature by a) studying those actors (e.g. intellectual elite and wall-posters), whose linkages to the NPC institutional development have not been subject to systematic analysis; and b) examining new sources of data, including those established through interviews with NPC deputies in the 1980s and surveying the compilation of the wall-posters’ underground publications.
Supervisor: Norton, Philip, Baron Norton of Louth; Dai, Xiudian Sponsor: China Scholarship Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Politics