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Dilemmas of Reform in China: Political…

Dilemmas of Reform in China: Political Conflict and Economic Debate…

by Joseph Fewsmith

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This book connects the Deng-era of economic reform with the political climate of China. It's a long story, and Fewsmith has done his homework. Lots of interviews.

As is the case in many autocratic Communist states, political disputes often circle around ideology and personal agreements/differences. Deng comes across as a masterful political animal here instead of an economic visionary, as presented in Vogel, et al. He chose market reform as an alternative and a legitimate opposition to the Maoist fanaticism of his political opponents, and was rewarded greatly for it.

The other thing which separates Deng from his predecessor is that he didn't utterly crush his enemies like Mao once they were beaten - he let them linger on in ceremonial posts, or let them back in a reform spot if they were useful. They were very grateful for this, considering that if it were Mao's era, they'd be set up in a 'struggle session', publicly humiliated and beaten, or worse.

Committees and research groups and reform movements were political movements as much as they were economic. One of Deng's most successful plays was finding a justification for reform using Marxism as a background. Once the reformers got results, their continued power was assured.

One wonders there are parallels between these earlier struggles and the current purges of 'old-guard Maoists' like Bo Xilai. The inner workings of The Party are fascinating and terrible to behold. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
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