Marketization, globalization and administrative reform in China : A zigzag road to a promising future

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-233
Journal / PublicationInternational Review of Administrative Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


The Chinese administrative system has been periodically reformed since the early 1980s. This article mainly focuses on the reforms of the State Council, the central government of China, and then deals with the five main rounds of reform. It gives a full picture of the story of reform with its context and contents, the measures taken, the difficulties encountered and the challenges ahead. It is argued that administrative reform in China has been used to reorient the Communist state to an emerging market-oriented economy and to enhance the capacity of the government to regulate market forces and to respond to the significant impacts made by economic globalization. Given the authoritarian nature of the party-state polity of China, the authors argue that administrative reform in China has also been used as an alternative route to alleviate the crisis of governance resulting from rapid social change; however, its effects are constrained by the implications of politico-administrative apparatus. To build up a modern governing system suitable for a market economy, a proactive approach, including political or constitutional reform, should be put on the agenda. © SAGE Publications, Inc. 2007.

Research Area(s)

  • Administrative reform, Downsizing, Functional transformation, Globalization, Institutional restructuring, Market economy, Party-state regime, The State Council