Part of the Politics and Development of Contemporary China book series (PDCC)


Neo-authoritarianism is a subject of hot debate among Chinese scholars in the late 1980s and has been quietly endorsed by the CCP. Neoauthoritarianism refers to an enlightened autocracy: a strong leader adopts undemocratic measures to enforce economic development. Law and order are maintained, according to the will of the ruler, as crucial conditions for modernization. This political blueprint has been in part justified by the economic miracles of the “Four Asian Tigers,” namely Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore. Some Chinese scholars argue that neo-authoritarianism is a necessary stage as China transits from a traditional autocracy to liberal democracy.1 The discourse on neo-authoritarianism died down at the turn of the century, but has resurfaced since Xi Jinping assumed the leadership of the CCP in 2012. The first section of this chapter examines the theoretical roots of neo-authoritarianism. The second section discusses the debates among Chinese scholars on neo-authoritarianism, and then it explains the transition from neo-authoritarianism to neo-conservatism. The last section of this chapter explores relationship between neoauthoritarianism and official ideology and its impacts on political changes.


Economic Reform Liberal Democracy Chinese Scholar Political Stability Political Thought 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© He Li 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • He Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Merrimack CollegeUSA

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