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Ideology and Social Change

Since the Third Plenum of the Eleventh Central Committee in December 1978, party reformers have been committed to channeling the increased political awareness and energies of the population into a strengthened movement for change. The tensions that have emerged during each successive wave of reform have required intervention and policy decisions at senior party levels. These sometimes have taken the form of new initiatives. At other times, tensions have precipitated a conservative response. Overall, this political process has seemed to support a gradual but forward movement of the reform program.

Modernization, by its very nature, is a socially disruptive process. In 1987, with many of the functions of the party apparatus still unclear even to party members and the question of Deng Xiaoping's successor still unsettled, the success of China's reform program was by no means assured.

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Relatively few book-length studies of post-Mao politics are available. One of the more notable is John Gardner's Chinese Politics and the Succession to Mao, the major points of which are summarized and updated in his lengthy article "China under Deng." Key official documents for much of the post-Mao period can be found in The People's Republic of China, 1979-1984, edited by Harold Hinton. A valuable survey of the period is provided by A. Doak Barnett's "Ten Years after Mao."

Harry Harding's "Political Development in Post-Mao China," in Barnett and Ralph Clough's Modernizing China: Post-Mao Reform and Development, contains useful information on the post-1978 political scene. Articles by Harding, Carol Hamrin, and Christopher Clarke in the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee's China's Economy Looks Toward the Year 2000 also are helpful in understanding the post-Mao era.

Andrew J. Nathan's Chinese Democracy skillfully analyzes the evolution of the Chinese conception of "democracy." Michel Oksenberg and Richard Bush, in "China's Political Evolution, 1972- 1982," give extensive descriptions of the Chinese bureaucracy. Melanie Manion's "The Cadre Management System, Post-Mao: The Appointment, Promotion, Transfer, and Removal of Party and State Leaders" is a good examination of the cadre management system. David S. G. Goodman's "The National CCP Conference of September 1985 and China's Leadership Changes" presents extensive data on leadership developments in the mid-1980s.

Mao's China and After by Maurice Meisner and Politics in China by James R. Townsend and Brantly Womack provide general background on the post-1978 political history of China. Barnett's older Cadres, Bureaucracy, and Political Power in Communist China and Richard H. Solomon's Mao's Revolution and the Chinese Political Culture give excellent background on contemporary Chinese politics. Also, Franz Schurmann's seminal work, Ideology and Organization in Communist China, provides clear and extensive discussion on the basic elements of the Chinese political system.

Biographies of key Chinese leaders can be found in works by David Chang, Jerome Chen, Stuart Schram, and Dick Wilson. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of July 1987