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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: November 2012

4 - When and Why Institutions Contribute to Authoritarian Stability: Commitment, Monitoring, and Collective Action Problems in Authoritarian Power-Sharing


[We] failed to institutionalize and legalize inner-Party democracy … we drew up the relevant laws but they lacked due authority. This meant that conditions were present for the over-concentration of Party power in individuals and for the development of arbitrary individual rule and the personality cult in the Party.

Communist Party of China, Resolution on Party History (1949–81)

When an artful and bold man is placed at the head of an army or faction, it is often easy for him, by employing sometimes violence, sometimes false pretenses, to establish his dominions over a people a hundred times more numerous than his partisans. He allows no such open communication that his enemies can know, with certainty, their number and force. Even those, who are the instruments of his usurpation, may wish his fall; but their ignorance of each other's intentions keeps them in awe, and is the sole cause of his security.

David Hume, Of the Original Contract

Xi Jinping, the presumptive successor to Hu Jintao as the “paramount” leader of China, will assume that post with an authority that may appear curiously circumscribed for a dictator. He will be expected to serve no more than two five-year terms and be accountable to a set of institutions within the Communist Party of China that carefully balance two major political coalitions as well as regional and organizational interests within the Chinese political system (Li 2010).

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The Politics of Authoritarian Rule
  • Online ISBN: 9781139176040
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