Konstitutionalisierungsprozesse in der chinesischen Staatstheorie

Top-Down-Orchestrierung institutioneller Reformen

  • Nele Noesselt (Autor/in)
  • Ulrike Gansen (Autor/in)
  • Martin Miller (Autor/in)
  • Jonas Seyferth (Autor/in)


Since taking office, China’s fifth generation of political leaders with Xi Jinping at the center has made significant efforts to rebuild the party-state. While phenomena such as (oscillating) processes of centralization and personalization have been ever present in Chinese reform politics, governance reforms under Xi Jinping display distinct features that mark a significant departure from previously observed patterns. Drawing on an institutionalist theoretical framework and data from key speeches and documents on reform decisions, our analysis discovers an approach to reform that heavily relies on overriding dysfunctional state structures by formalizing and constitutionalizing ad-hoc (informal) institutional arrangements. While this approach deeply affects the formal backbone of the Chinese governance system and deactivates elements of the post-Mao reform consensus, the Party leadership, on a rhetorical level, offers multilayered narratives of continuity in order to generate legitimacy for reform measures. These findings suggest that reform politics under Xi Jinping are not to be conceived of as just another cycle of temporary adaption but rather as directed towards a transition to a new stage in the Chinese state-building process, which also indicates the emergence a new sub-type of hybrid regimes.



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China, fifth generation, governance innovation, institutional change, reform politics, Xi Jinping