The Changing Political and Governance Architecture in China
The changes in China in the past thirty years have been not only economic but also political. Although there have been setbacks and sometimes even reversals, there has been a more or less clear tendency of moving away from “totalitarianism”. This tendency is shown in 1) reshuffled state-society relations, whereby the role of the state has decreased and the role of society has increased; 2) accelerated decentralization and devolution within the state; 3) gradually emerging checks and balances within the state and over the state by the people on a legal basis; 4) the institutionalization of limited terms of power holding and the peaceful transfer of power; 5) an ideological reconfiguration, whereby the concept of socialism and the mission of the party have been redefined; and 6) the growing independence of a citizenry with increasingly diverse values and life styles. There is strong momentum for the political evolution to continue. However, there is still uncertainty as to where it will end, and this future end partly depends on how the outside world engages with China.
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