Strengthening the ideological and professional training of cadres is a cornerstone of the socialist modernization of the Chinese party-state. On the basis of long-term field research in Party schools, this article shows that this effort entails much more than the upgrading of existing institutions. The CCP has embarked on a simultaneous marketization, centralization and globalization that has integrated cadre training into the larger market for higher education and training. This new approach privileges China's richer areas. Poorer places such as Yunnan province struggle to meet the ever higher demands of the centre from their local budgets. The article concludes that the gap between rich and poor areas in China is about more than wealth alone. Poorer areas cannot take part in China's new, glossy socialism, and will be not only economically but also politically and administratively left behind.
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