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Issue 55 (January 2006)
Institutionalized Rebellion: Governing Tsinghua University During the Late Years of the Chinese Cultural Revolution
During the late years of the Cultural Revolution decade (1966-1976), political life in China was dominated by contention between radical and conservative factions in the Communist Party. Mao Zedong's ambivalence, first supporting one faction and then the other, has long puzzled scholars. In this article, I suggest that factional contention was being institutionalized, creating a system that pit administrators against rebels: Veteran cadres were put in charge of the political and economic bureaucracies, while radicals were given institutional means to mobilize political campaigns against these officials, pressing Mao's radical agenda. I examine in detail the system of governance implemented at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Power was divided between veteran university officials and a "workers' propaganda team", composed of workers and soldiers drawn from outside the school, and the propaganda team was charged with mobilizing students and workers to criticize their teachers, supervisors and university officials. The result was a tumultuous system very much at odds with the conventional practice of ruling Communist parties (including the Chinese party before the Cultural Revolution), which had been guided by ideals of monolithic unity and a clear hierarchy of authority. I examine how the system at Tsinghua functioned in practice and suggest reasons why it continued to reproduce familiar problems of political tutelage and clientelism. I then consider how this system fitted into wider patterns of governance around the country during this period.
Ross Garnaut, Ligang Song and Yang Yao
Impact and significance of state-owned enterprise restructuring in China
Based on an enterprise survey conducted in 11 cities in 2002, this paper reviews the trends of privatization in China, discusses the forms of gaizhi (restructuring), analyzes the issues emerging in the process of gaizhi, especially the handling of state assets and land-use rights and re-employment, and compares the performance of firms before and after gaizhi. The study found that restructuring has become more oriented towards privatization over recent years. The so-called "loss of state assets" has occurred mainly in the form of price discounts when selling state assets. Restructured or gaizhi firms did sack more workers in the year the gaizhi took place, but subsequently they maintained a slower rate of employment reduction than pure SOEs. Gaizhi, especially restructuring with privatization, has hardened firms' budget constraint with banks, but has not been effective in hardening firms' budget constraint with the government. Gaizhi and privatization have significantly improved firms' profitability, but have not raised investment rates or labor productivity.
Judicial Independence and Judicial Accountability: An Empirical Study of Individual Case Supervision
This article explores the development, advantages and disadvantages of supervision of "final" court decisions by people's congresses, the procuracy and the courts themselves. Based on the first systematic empirical study, the article concludes that while major reforms are required, eliminating individual case supervision at this point would deny justice to tens of thousands of people every year. The politics of whether to eliminate or reform ICS - and if so how - illustrate the difficulties of China's legal reform project, why reforms in developing countries all too often fail, and why reforms based on transplants of foreign models frequently fail to take root.
Gregor Benton and Steve Tsang, Timothy Cheek, Lowell Dittmer, Geremie Barmé
Mao: The Unknown Story - An Assessment
Mao: The Unknown Story, by Jung Chang and Jon Holliday. London: Jonathan Cape, 2005. £25.00 (hardcover).
Jung Chang and Jon Holliday's biography of Mao has been marketed to a mass audience in (first) England and Australia and (later) North America. It claims to be a "myth-busting" publication that should change for ever the way the world looks at Mao. As promised, the book is full of challenges to received historical views of many of the events surrounding Mao's rise to leadership of the CCP and his governing of the PRC. The book has already received numerous reviews in the popular press and has rapidly become a best-seller. Because it will be read widely, The China Journal felt that it would be a useful service to the profession to subject the book to the scrutiny of scholars with the historical expertise to give these claims a careful evaluation. Accordingly, we divided Mao's life into four periods and asked Gregor Benton and Steve Tsang to evaluate the parts of the book dealing with the period up to 1940, Timothy Cheek to focus on the period between 1940 and 1949, Lowell Dittmer to examine the early PRC years of 1949-1965 and Geremie Barmé to comment on the Cultural Revolution decade (1966-76). In addition, we invited each of our reviewers to comment on the book as a whole and on issues relating to the writing of history and biography.
(pp. 95-139 [95-109; 109-118; 119-128; 128-139])