The Politics of Industrial Reform

  • Gordon White


The political territory of industrial reform differs substantially from that of agriculture. As Chinese commentators often point out, urban/industrial reform is more complex and thus politically more difficult than its rural counterpart. The term ‘complex’ here refers not only to diversity, but also to the threatened interests and potentially uncooperative attitudes of the denizens of this sector. The political significance of industrial reform is arguably much greater than that of agricultural reform. The political credibility of the regime depends heavily on industrial performance, both in enhancing national power and raising mass living standards. Moreover, state industry has become the material base of the Party/state itself, providing the main source of state revenues; in 1980, for example, 83 per cent of government revenue derived from industry and 82 per cent from the state sector (SSB 1990: pp. 209–11). Industry also creates the working class which, in both theory and practice, has constituted a crucial base of political support for the CCP.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 9.
    For example, see the reservations expressed by Dong Fureng, interviewed in China Daily 30 December, 1987, p. 4.Google Scholar
  2. 12.
    For an overview of different opinions on this issue, see Liu Guoguang and Zhao Renwei, ‘The share system, a new task in changing ownership relations’, Jingji Ribao (Economic Daily) 2 November 1985, in SWB 8110.Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    Zuo Mu, ‘On the contract management responsibility system’, People’s Daily, 15 June 1987.Google Scholar
  4. 25.
    Zhang Xuehu, ‘A fatal knock at the door — exploration and analysis of unemployment in China’, Gongren Ribao (Workers’ Daily) 28 September 1988, pp. 1–2, in FBIS 197.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Douglas Gordon White 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon White
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Development StudiesUniversity of SussexUK

Personalised recommendations