Political Research Quarterly, June 2013
44 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2007 Last revised: 5 Jul 2013
Date Written: December 26, 2011
How have local officials in China been able to break through central policy restrictions in a unitary and authoritarian political system? Why is China’s official discourse in the reform era often so conservative and unfavorable to reform? I argue the two issues are components of a signaling game between China’s central government and local officials, in which local officials know that the center may be reformist, but the reformist center imitates the rhetoric of a conservative center in order to control the pace of local liberalization. The result is a gradualist reform of “signaling left and turning right”, with glaring incongruity of speech and actions in the process.
Keywords: post-communist reform, rhetoric, signaling, propaganda, decentralization, local reform
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Huang, Haifeng, Signal Left, Turn Right: Central Rhetoric and Local Reform in China (December 26, 2011). Political Research Quarterly, June 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1031296 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1031296