China’s Changing of the Guard: Contradictory Trends and Confusing Signals

Issue Date January 2003
Volume 14
Issue 1
Page Numbers 73-81
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As China changes its political leadership, many analysts question whether the ruling Communist Party will be able to sustain its neo-authoritarian strategy—maintaining one-party rule through economic reforms. Political and social trends in China send contradictory signals. Signs of political renewal are mixed with evidence of decay. Whereas few question China’s impressive economic achievements since the late 1970s, many disagree as to the degree and durability of political institutionalization that the Chinese regime has achieved. Given the enormous challenges facing Beijing’s new rulers, China’s political future remains as cloudy as ever.

About the Author

Minxin Pei is Tom and Margot Pritzker ’72 Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College. In January 2021, he joined the Board of Directors of the National Endowment for Democracy.

View all work by Minxin Pei