China’s Changing of the Guard: Threats to Party Supremacy

Issue Date January 2003
Volume 14
Issue 1
Page Numbers 27-35
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The Chinese Communist Party is attempting to adapt itself to its changing economic and social environment. It has adopted a two pronged strategy of creating corporatist links and co-opting the new entrepreneurial and technical elites. It has redefined its relationship with society, no longer claiming to be the vanguard of the proletariat, but now representing urban elites and the broad interests of the majority of the nation. At the same time, it has seen the gradual decay of its grass-roots organizations. It now faces the dilemma common to many liberalizing regimes: will adaptation strengthen the party and enhance its popularity, or undermine its hold on power?

About the Author

Bruce J. Dickson is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. He is the author of Red Capitalists in China: The Party, Private Entrepreneurs, and Prospects for Political Change (2003) and Democratization in China and Taiwan: The Adaptability of Leninist Parties (1997), and is associate editor of the journal Problems of Post-Communism.

View all work by Bruce J. Dickson