Lecture #5-Elite Politics
Li Cheng & Kerry Brown First topic
Cultural MovementRed Guard movement (depends on how you define what the cultural movement
is). The argument is heavily based on your understanding of the question and how you define “Cultural
Four Generations of Chinese Leaders ***get PowerPoint for all the names for generations*
First Generation leaders (1949-76): Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Lin Biao, Liu Shaoqi, Peng Dehuai.
o Sino Japanese War
Second generation (1976-92): Deng Xiaoping, Zhao Ziyang, Hu Yaobang, Chen Yun.
o Occupied the position of authority in the cultural Revolution but most were purged esp.
Deng Xiaopeng who was purged twice
o Compared to first generation, second generation leaders was less ideological and shifted
from ideological struggle to pragmatic policies that promoted economic development.
o Less ideology and more pragmatism.
Third generation (1992-2003): Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, Zhu Rongji.
o Were born before Cultural Revolution and trained as Engineers in the Soviet Union.
o Continued the pursuit of economic development at the expense of increasing social
Fourth generation (2003-2013 expected): Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, Zeng Qinghong
o Majority of people are engineers who’s formative years in education was actually
disrupted in the Cultural Revolution and many were Red Guards
o Some were persecuted: such as Bao Xilai…His father was one of the Supreme leaders in
the First generation. He was labeled as a counter revolutionist and jailed.
o Seen as more populist than previous generation.
Dominant ideology: HU Jintao’s harmonious society
o Zeng QinghongBought houses in Australia and invested in his children overseas
Elite Politics after Mao’s death
CCP rose in power as a military organization and first generation leaders were soldiers, peasants,
and members of lower/middle class. They started as Guerilla fighters. These people were not
terribly educated but experienced soldiers from lower/middle class
From 1949-1978, political advancement was based on seniority, ideological commitment, class
o Have you suffered and fought for the party?
o Ideological commitment in Mao’s thought and Marxism (a bit arbitrary)
HOW loyal are you to chairman Mao?
o Class b/g
After Mao’s death, elite politics entered a new era…(20 years of Cultural Revolution with
tremendous suffering was brought onto the people on the grounds of ideology. By the end of it,
people were tired of ideology and its revolution.
When Deng Xiaopeng took over, there was a conscious move away from ideology to
pragmatism. “Practice as the sole of Criterion of truth” Ernie Tam
o The GLF had produced havoc and disaster, had been justified under ideology. By the end
of Cultural Revolution, Chinese people were disillusioned by ideology.
o Deng tried to move away from this which was aptly described in his saying. White cat,
black cat, it is a good cat as long as it catches mice (serve its purpose)
By invoking practice as the sole criteria for truth, Deng ended the party’s privileged claim to
o In giving up its claim to truth, the party had to rely on something else to bolster its
o The party had to demonstrate that it had the ability to deliver the goods and to improve
the standard of living for its people.
o Ideology on its own was no longer sufficient as a force of mobilization. Deng Xiaopeng
wanted to increase the tolerance for different viewpoints that was suppressed during
o If Mao had heeded the advice of Peng Dehuai for his disastrous economic policy created
by the GLF (in Lushan Conference), the famine could have been avoided or its impact
would be reduced.
CDIC was established (Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of The communist Party)
o Body within the party not independent of the party (inside of the party) that was tasked
with investigating/punishing those whose conduct was against Party Rules.
o Party leaders are scrutinized by party members at least in theory
o E.g. Party leader was charged with engaging in corrupt activities, the case would be
handled by the CDIC. It is a major case that involved a certain amount of money would
then be referred to the police.
o How effective CDIC was?
Members within this council were appointed by the party leader.
Corruption was rampant as you cannot investigate your own “boss”
o The Anti Corruption council in HK
Got rid of corruption in HK bureaucracy
Anti-corruption agencies were independent of government and any political
o Book: Melanie Manion (Corruption and why CDIC was not effective)
Rise of technocrats
o Lenist appointment personnel system.
o Between 1980 and 1986, about half a million cadres with college education occupied
leadership positions above the county level.
o Deng Xiaopeng implemented the opening of reform, and to foreign investment. You
need the technocrats to manage the country.
o Although the core of second generation was not technocrats, they were however,
willing to accept their advice.
o Zhao ZiyangEstablished think tanks
In terms of economic policies, there was a fundamental divide between
Conservatives and Reformers. On the one hand, you have conservatives headed
by Cheung yun who attributed the problems of the past to Chairman Mao’s
Reform economy within the broader communist structure. Ernie Tam
Dynamics during Deng Era
Economic conservatives vs. reformers
o In practical terms, Conservatives argued that it was necessary to revitalize state order
such as State planning Commission and to make their operation more scientific.
Markets should only exist around the planned economy and not interfere in its
o Reformers believed that there were fundamental problems with the party’s structure
o Reformers introduced market reform hence the term “integrating plan in the market
economy”, which is what China did in the 1980s. (Free market reform)
o By way of contrast, the Soviet Union got rid of planned system altogether and replacing
it with market system. China did this gradually and firstly by integrating market and
Winner take all mentality
o Because of this mentality, Conservatives would fight ferociously against reformers.
o Traditional bureaucracy (propaganda department) which was very powerful in Cultural
Revolution but the department had the mission of defending Communism against the
think tanks and intellectuals, who were very close to Zhao Ziyang, who advocated for
another set of ideologies
o The battle among elites were black and white b/c of the implicit rule, once you cave in
to pressure, you have to give up your position.