'Fragmented authoritarianism' - the facilitator behind the Chinese reform miracle: A case study in central China

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Abstract

Although it maintains an authoritarian power structure, China has been widely perceived as one of most decentralized nations in the world in terms of government spending. The concept of 'fragmented authoritarianism' has figured largely in academic discussions of China's regime. It raises the question of how such apparently opposed states - 'fragmentation' and 'authoritarianism' - co-exist. In particular, how can so many important economic and political reforms have been launched in a milieu of fragmented authoritarianism? An analysis of an intergovernmental jurisdiction reform launched by city leaders suggests that fragmented authoritarianism facilitated the reform miracle. Fragmentation supplies the room and space for reform and change, while authoritarianism provides the power and authority for leaders to launch such reforms. That is why China has been able to remain united through a process of dramatic change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-13
Number of pages10
JournalChina Journal of Social Work
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • fragmented authoritarianism
  • intergovernmental relations
  • jurisdiction reform

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