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A Post-Mortem Analysis of China’s Township Elections

Andersson, Patrik (2016) ACET35
Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University
Abstract
Since the late 1990s county party committees in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have experimented with semi-competitive township elections. The central government in Beijing encouraged such initiatives, hoping to use township elections to restrict the power of the county party secretary in appointing township leaders. However, these experimental elections were never institutionalized, and as of 2016 there are no signs of any new breakthroughs. The purpose of this study was to answer the question “why were China’s experimental township elections not institutionalized?” The thesis relied primarily on a textual analysis of Chinese and Western case studies. It took an institutional perspective, applying concepts from both Rational Choice... (More)
Since the late 1990s county party committees in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have experimented with semi-competitive township elections. The central government in Beijing encouraged such initiatives, hoping to use township elections to restrict the power of the county party secretary in appointing township leaders. However, these experimental elections were never institutionalized, and as of 2016 there are no signs of any new breakthroughs. The purpose of this study was to answer the question “why were China’s experimental township elections not institutionalized?” The thesis relied primarily on a textual analysis of Chinese and Western case studies. It took an institutional perspective, applying concepts from both Rational Choice Institutionalism (RCI) and Historical Institutionalism (HI) to interpret and analyse data. The thesis found that the township elections failed because they challenged the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) core governing principle of “the party manages the cadres,” a principle that places power over cadre appointments in the hands of the higher level party committee. By producing cadres that were slightly more independent from the party committee at the next higher level, the elections threatened the traditional patron-client relations between county party secretaries (yibashous) and their subordinates at the township level. (Less)
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author
Andersson, Patrik
supervisor
organization
course
ACET35
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
China, Township elections, Rational Choice Institutionalism, Principal-Agent model
language
English
id
8889410
date added to LUP
2016-08-25 10:46:44
date last changed
2016-08-25 10:59:31
@misc{8889410,
  abstract     = {Since the late 1990s county party committees in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have experimented with semi-competitive township elections. The central government in Beijing encouraged such initiatives, hoping to use township elections to restrict the power of the county party secretary in appointing township leaders. However, these experimental elections were never institutionalized, and as of 2016 there are no signs of any new breakthroughs. The purpose of this study was to answer the question “why were China’s experimental township elections not institutionalized?” The thesis relied primarily on a textual analysis of Chinese and Western case studies. It took an institutional perspective, applying concepts from both Rational Choice Institutionalism (RCI) and Historical Institutionalism (HI) to interpret and analyse data. The thesis found that the township elections failed because they challenged the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) core governing principle of “the party manages the cadres,” a principle that places power over cadre appointments in the hands of the higher level party committee. By producing cadres that were slightly more independent from the party committee at the next higher level, the elections threatened the traditional patron-client relations between county party secretaries (yibashous) and their subordinates at the township level.},
  author       = {Andersson, Patrik},
  keyword      = {China,Township elections,Rational Choice Institutionalism,Principal-Agent model},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {A Post-Mortem Analysis of China’s Township Elections},
  year         = {2016},
}