China's Party Congress: Power, Legitimacy, and Institutional Manipulation

China's Party Congress: Power, Legitimacy, and Institutional Manipulation

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Guoguang Wu
Cambridge University Press, 9/18/2015
EAN 9781107082021, ISBN10: 1107082021

Hardcover, 382 pages, 22.8 x 15.2 x 2.2 cm
Language: English

Nominally the highest decision-making body in the Chinese Communist Party, the Party Congress is responsible for determining party policy and the selection of China's leaders. Guoguang Wu provides the first analysis of how the Party Congress operates to elect Party leadership and decide Party policy, and explores why such a formal performance of congress meetings, delegate discussions, and non-democratic elections is significant for authoritarian politics more broadly. Taking institutional inconsistency as the central research question, this study presents a new theory of 'mutual contextualization' to reveal how informal politics and formal institutions interact with each other. Wu argues that despite the prevalence of informal politics behind the scenes, authoritarian politics seeks legitimization through a combination of political manipulation and the ritual mobilization of formal institutions. This ambitious book is essential reading for all those interested in understanding contemporary China, and an innovative theoretical contribution to the study of comparative politics.

1. Introduction
China's Party Congress as the theatre of power
2. Institutions manipulated, legitimacy ritualized
a theory of authoritarian legitimization
3. 'Meeting for unity and victory'
the political art of running the Party Congress
4. Between political principle and the practice of power
the making and remaking of the Party platform
5. Norms versus operations
Party constitution in political configuration
6. Elections as instruments of autocracy
the essence and nuisance of formalistic voting
7. Conclusion.