Breaking the Mould: In Search of a New Politics

  • John Gardner
Part of the China in Focus Series book series


In 1978 the Chinese leadership, under the increasing influence of Deng and his supporters, began to search for political arrangements which would mesh with, and support, the technocratic strategy of economic development to which they were committed. Just as they wished to replace the mobilisational style of development favoured by Mao with a more conservative and institutionalised one, so, too, they hoped to reform the political system into one in which changes should be implemented in an orderly manner, free from the arbitrary and often violent twists and turns which had characterised the political process from the Great Leap onwards, and especially since the Cultural Revolution began in 1966. To this end, therefore, they began to talk at length of ‘socialist legality’. They also intended that the new arrangements should give more rights to ‘the masses’ and hence ‘democracy’ was a word that was much invoked. For the leadership it meant that the Party and government should be more responsive to public opinion, and that ‘the masses’ should be given institutionalised means by which they could supervise, criticize and, to a limited extent, choose their leaders.


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    D. S. G. Goodman’s, Beijing Street Voices: The Poetry and Politics of China’s Democracy Movement, (London: Marion Boyars, 1981).Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    Joint Publications Research Service, Translations on People’s Republic of China no. 534, (26 June 1979), p. 6.Google Scholar
  3. 27.
    R. Garside, Coming Alive! China After Mao (London: André Deutsch, 1981), pp. 102–8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Gardner 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Gardner

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