What analyses of factional politics of China might miss when the market becomes a political battlefield : The telecommunication sector as a case in point

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-92
Journal / PublicationChina Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


The end of the Deng Xiaoping era in 1997 prompted the Chinese party-state to proceed toward more oligarchic politics. To date, scholars have generally adopted factional politics as a key to understanding the intraparty competition among top leaders who are categorized into different factional groups, such as the princelings, the Shanghai gang, the tuanpai, the mishu party, and the Tsinghua clique. One dimension that attracts scant attention, however, is how the emergent bureaucratic market has penetrated and intervened in contemporary factional politics. In question is a small circle of powerful bureaucratic bourgeois who are children, close relatives, or protégés of top political leaders. Using the telecommunication sector as a case in point, the present article explores the facade of the vibrant market of family conglomerates and patron-client networks that are also actively involved in jostling for political power.