The ‘New Authoritarian’ Debates

  • Michael Twohey
Part of the Studies on the Chinese Economy book series (STCE)


The origin, tenor and collapse of the debates on new authoritarianism (NA) in China in the late 1980s have been amply documented and disputed. The debates are said to have been rooted in discussions that began in 1986, to have been initiated in Shanghai, to have been halted because of the central leadership’s campaign against ‘bourgeois liberalization’, to have emerged again because of the failure of reformers to eliminate the dual-track price system, and to have broken down completely during the student demonstrations in 1989.1 NA’s theoretical inception is said to be rooted in Zhao Ziyang’s theories2, in Deng Xiaoping’s theories3, in a combination of Zhao’s and Deng’s theories,4 in the theories of Su Shaozhi,5 and in the views of the so-called ‘Princelings’ (Taizidang).6


Positive School Strong Authority Cultural Debate Negative School Mass Industrialization 
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© Michael Twohey 1999

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  • Michael Twohey

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