Changing approaches in the control of cadres in the People's Republic of China since 1949

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

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  • Kwok Ping CHOU


Awarding Institution
Award date7 Oct 1997


1949 witnessed the establishment of the largest bureaucracy in the history of China. In the past, the central government maintained a minimal contact with the locality. Thus a large state mechanism was not needed to penetrate into the level below the county. Communist China differed from the past governments in the sense that it recognized the necessity of organizing the masses to join the united front, to participate in class struggle and to develop the national economy. This resulted in the rapid expansion of the bureaucracy. To ensure that the party and state cadres do not deviate from the policy laid by the party centre, the Chinese Communist Party has built up a systematic control mechanism over the cadres. It is the "control of cadres" which forms the main area of study of this dissertation. Control on the party and state cadres is carried out when cadres are recruited and evaluated and when reward/ punishment are administered. The control on such a large bureaucracy is unprecedented in the history of Chinese history. Owing to the size 3f the bureaucracy, effective control is difficult. Numerous trials and errors in the implementation of control policy have caused several shifts in the approaches of controlling cadres since 1949. In the Maoist era, Chinese leaders believed that effective control on cadres could be achieved by motivational reform under the influence of the Chinese tradition, Soviet practice and the Chinese Communist party's own experience. After the death of Mao and the downfall of Gang of Four, the sufferings during Cultural Revolution and the need of economic reform convinced the Chinese leaders that motivational reforms were not adequate to maintain effective control. There must be well-established organizations, legal system and procedures of work. This perception paved the way for the rise of structural reform, evidenced by the separation of the party from the government, the reform of the bureaucracy, the restoration of two supervisory organs, (namely Central Commission on Discipline Inspection and Ministry of Supervision), the strengthening of the National People's Congress, and the refinement of a legal system. This does not mean, however, that motivational reform is totally abandoned in the post-Mao era. In case the Chinese Communist Party faces challenge to its rule, motivational reform will be reasserted to solicit political loyalty from cadres.

    Research areas

  • China, Communist leadership, Zhongguo gong chan dang