This week on Sinica, Kaiser welcomes back University of Michigan political scientist Yuen Yuen Ang, who discusses a recent piece in the Journal of Democracy titled "How Resilient is the CCP?" The essay examines how China's bureaucracy remains surprisingly competent and even relatively autonomous despite Xi Jinping's highly personalistic style of rule.
3:51 – Summarizing debates on Chinese governance in the current China watcher field
8:43 – Defining the concept of institutionalization and contextualizing it to China
13:39 – Explaining Xi’s bureaucratic objectives: maintaining competence but limiting autonomy
18:57 – Remaining areas of autonomy for China’s state bureaucracy
22:11 – Key areas where Xi weakened bureaucracy
26:08 – Institutionalization prior to the Xi era
29:00 – Main sources of resilience and threat under Xi’s new model for authoritarianism
31:45 – Fundamental difference between Mao and Xi
34:52 – The revival of state bureaucracy and technocrats after Mao’s death
40:13 – How do we understand the tension between expertise and ideology in Xi’s governance agenda?
46:15 – Historical roots of technocracy in the Chinese government
49:09 – The CCP’s technocratic bureaucracy as an integral source of resilience
A complete transcript of this podcast is available on TheChinaProject.com.
Yuen Yuen: Chinese drama series Zǒuxiàng gònghé 走向共和 (Towards the Republic); and Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire by David Remnick
Kaiser: Children of Earth and Sky, A Brightness Long Ago, and All the Seas of the World — a historical fantasy novel trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay