Disorientation for the New Era: Intraparty Regulations and China’s Changing Party-state Relations
Forthcoming in Rogier J. E. H. Creemers and Sue Trevaskes (eds.), Law and the Party in Xi Jinping’s China: Ideology and Organization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
24 Pages Posted: 15 May 2020
Date Written: April 20, 2020
This essay engages with a curious political and cultural moment in Xi Jinping’s China. On the one hand, CCP leaders appear to be intent on limiting law-based governance and expanding the scope of holistic, self-consciously ‘political’ discipline supervision methods; on the other hand, CCP leaders seek to provide a legal framework for the Party’s discipline inspection methods and regulate Party members’ uses of power more closely through a system of intraparty regulations. These two aims appear to be motivated by conflicting approaches to rule-based governance. Party leaders seem to be dissatisfied with formal legal processes in their project to control corruption, and yet they are building rule-based processes within the Party in order to control corruption. This essay argues that such conflicts emerge from the institutional and ideological background of China’s one-party system. They are a consequence of an attempt to exercise illiberal political leadership through a ‘modern’, supposedly rationalist, bureaucracy. Moreover, this essay identifies a more general confusion about the relationship between rules and ‘the political’, which is apparent not only in the writings of CCP ideologues but also in the scholarship of their foreign observers.
Keywords: China, CCP, illiberalism
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