Nomenklatura, which establishes Party and governmental leadership in China, is a key instrument of Communist Party control. Changes in the nomenklatura reveal shifts and strains in Chinese governmental and personnel management. This research report analyses the latest nomenklatura configuration, established in 1998, and compares it to the 1990 one. It reveals that the major thrust in 1998 was to reform state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and argues that the Party faces a difficult trade-off between maintaining political primacy and achieving economic flexibility. It shows that the changes in the 1998 nomenklatura clearly encapsulate the contradictory desires of the party-state – economic modernization through marketization combined with continued political control. Central control for some strategic SOEs now exists alongside much looser control of smaller enterprises.
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