Journal of Northeast Asian Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 62–90 | Cite as

Totalitarianism: An outdated paradigm for post-Mao China?

  • Sujian Guo


China’s considerable changes since the early 1980s suggest the need to assess the nature of the post-Mao reform and change. Many scholars on China in recent years have not thought totalitarianism to be a useful term anymore. The article attempts to assess the validity of the totalitarian model, investigate and analyze the major changes in post-Mao China, and evalaute the significance of the changes and the nature of the post-Mao reform, so as to determine whether the post-Mao regime can still be described as totalitarian or has been transformed into something else.

The article demonstrates that the dynamic core and essential features of the Chinese communist regime have not fundamentally changed. China has just repeated the “dynastic cycle” of communist totalitarianism from Mao’s regime to Deng’s regime, though Deng’s regime has many differences from Mao’s at the operative level. The paradigm of totalitarianism, rather than outmoded, is still useful and applicable to the study of the Chinese communist regime.


Communist Regime Northeast ASIAN Study Totalitarian Regime Official Ideology Democratic Centralism 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sujian Guo
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NevadaReno

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