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The Plotical Structure of China

The Plotical Structure of China


The future of communism in China is unknown, as the world economy becomes more international. Communism has been in China since 1949 and is still present in the country’s activities. Presently China is undergoing incredible economic growth and promises to be a dominant power early in the next century. China’s social tradition has come under heavy pressure from forces of modernization generated in a large part by the sustained contact with the West that began in the middle of the nineteenth century. The Western incursion, not only refined China militarily but brought in its course new ideas- nationalism, science and technology, and innovations in politics, philosophy, and art. Chinese leaders have sought to preserve the nation’s cultural uniqueness by promoting specifically Chinese blends of tradition and modernity.

China has undergone several major political transformations from a feudal-like system in early historical times, to a centralized bureaucratic empire that lasted through many unpredictable changes till 1911, to a republic with a communist form of government in the mainland since 1949. Economic geography and population pressure help account for the traditionally controlling role of the state in China. The constant indispensability for state interference, whether for great public works programs or simply to keep such a large society together, brought up an authoritarian political system.

The family prevailed as the fundamental social, economic, and religious unit. Interdependence was very prominent in family relations while generation, age, sex and immediacy of kinship strictly governed relations within the family. Family rather than nation usually created the greatest allegiances with the result that nationalism as known to the West came late to the Chinese. In principle, the elite in the authoritarian political system achieved their positions through merit rather than birth or wealth. There was an examination system that provided a vehicle for recruiting talented citizens to serve the emperor, which was a valuable and unusual institution in a society characterized by personal connections. Democracy, individualism, and private property were kept carefully in check. Central state authority, however, rarely penetrated to the local level. Chinese leaders invented bureaucracy to keep the country unified and mastered the art of keeping government small. The Chinese search for a modern state began in the nineteenth century when two major sources of disorder overwhelmed the imperial institutions: domestic disintegration and foreign invasion.

Between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Chinese population had doubled and redoubled. The...

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