The Three Laws of Chinese Politics

On Open Democracy, Kerry Brown writes about the three ground rules of Chinese politics which, “might shed light on the leadership process”:

The first rule of contemporary Chinese politics relates to the nature of the Chinese system, which is true to its Soviet roots in the sense of being rationalist. It follows procedures based on the notion of human perfectibility and logicalness. This is its greatest strength, because it gives everything the veneer of planning and control; but also its greatest weakness, because humans can hardly ever live up to what the system expects of them.

In practice this means that there will be a reason behind each person’s final arrival on the standing committee. In Chinese politics there is always a cause-and-effect explanation, connected usually to the dense networks and links between people, factions, groups, and social worlds.

True, even the keenest observer of Chinese politics can only imperfectly understand the ups and downs. But the first rule is that if things look odd, we just haven’t been able to look far enough under the table to work them out; if we could, everything would make perfect sense.

October 4, 2011 6:23 PM
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Categories: Politics