Where the Party Rules: Party-Based Authoritarianism and the Reach of the Chinese State
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CitationKoss, Daniel. 2015. Where the Party Rules: Party-Based Authoritarianism and the Reach of the Chinese State. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractIn a large number of non-democratic countries, the power of the government rests upon the effective organization of a ruling party. Today, China stands out as a successful party-based authoritarian regime. In contrast to conventional approaches, which emphasize the role of authoritarian parties in controlling elite conflict and electoral-legislative processes, this dissertation demonstrates that the party makes the regime strong at the local level. Thanks to the party, the Chinese government has a strong grip of local societies across its large realm.
Since China has ``crimson areas'', where the party is more present, and ``pink areas'', where the party is less present, the Chinese case is ideally suited for a subnational comparative analysis of party-based authoritarianism. Subnational analysis, with its strong focus on geography, demonstrates that the party is doing much more than distributing patronage, and that as a result the state is most resilient, best at extracting taxes, and most effective at implementing policy in places with high party saturation.
Historical analysis identifies contingencies of pre-1949 warfare, especially the anti-colonial struggle against Japanese occupation, as a crucial determinant for contemporary geographic patterns of party strength. The historical part of the dissertation also points to the governance techniques of differentiated governance, inherited from the imperial past, which allows China's rulers to live with the uneven reach of the party state and turn it to their advantage, instead of evening it out at all cost. Overall, this dissertation offers a new account of Chinese governance. Conceptualizing the Chinese regime as a party-based authoritarian regime directs our attention to the institutions that allow the government to achieve formidable reach throughout its territory and throughout society.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:17465073
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