All but a handful of Chinese leaders at both provincial and central levels are members of a relatively small party elite. As party members, all leaders should share a common aspiration to achieve the goals and targets of the party. They should also adhere to the Leninist principles of party organization that bind subordinate levels of administration to the decisions of higher levels. Although the party encourages free and frank discussion during the policy decision-making process, everybody must fall in line once they have reached a decision. Adherence to the principles of democratic centralism should thus ensure a compliant local leadership at all levels. Yet from the beginning of the PRC, ensuring provincial compliance with central directives has been problematic. Fears of regional independence contributed to the first major purge after 1949 - that of Gao Gang and Rao Shushi in 1955. In the 1980s, provincial non-compliance with central directives reached new heights, and by the end of the decade, the centre’s control over some provinces was weaker than at any time since the establishment of the PRC.
KeywordsCentral Control Cultural Revolution Central Committee Central Directive Central Agent
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