Party Modernisation and Bureaucratic Reform in the Era of Xi Jinping
Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard
It has become abundantly clear that notions of Party modernization and Party reform in China cannot be understood from a Western perspective. Modernisation and reform are not about instituting political pluralism and multiparty elections. In the name of reform the Party is in fact consolidating its rule by way of top-level design, not grass-roots pressure. However, this does not mean that change is not taking place. The CPC is in fact streamlining and reforming its bureaucracy. New rules and regulations are adopted that call for accountability and transparency in governance. However, these bureaucratic reforms are initiated in order to strengthen Party control rather than loosen it. What China and the world are witnessing is not a reversal to the Deng Xiaoping era after the weak rule of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao. It is in fact a centralization and strengthening of Party rule which reaches back to the 1950s and, with its synthesis of Marxism and Confucian elements, it reaches even further back in Chinese history.