Skip to main content
×
Home

The Rise of the Chinese Security State*

  • Yuhua Wang (a1) and Carl Minzner (a2)
Abstract
Abstract

Over the past two decades, the Chinese domestic security apparatus has expanded dramatically. “Stability maintenance” operations have become a top priority for local Chinese authorities. We argue that this trend goes back to the early 1990s, when central Party authorities adopted new governance models that differed dramatically from those of the 1980s. They increased the bureaucratic rank of public security chiefs within the Party apparatus, expanded the reach of the Party political-legal apparatus into a broader range of governance issues, and altered cadre evaluation standards to increase the sensitivity of local authorities to social unrest. We show that the origin of these changes lies in a policy response to the developments of 1989–1991, namely the Tiananmen democracy movement and the collapse of communist political systems in Eastern Europe. Over the past twenty years, these practices have developed into an extensive stability maintenance apparatus, whereby local governance is increasingly oriented around the need to respond to social unrest, whether through concession or repression. Chinese authorities now appear to be rethinking these developments, but the direction of reform remains unclear.

摘要

在过去的 20 多年中, 中国的国内维稳体系经历了大幅的扩展, 维护社会稳定成为地方政府工作的重中之重。我们提出这一趋势源于 90 年代初期党中央采取的一系列有别于 80 年代的治理模式。这一模式提高了公安部门领导在整个官僚体系中的地位, 扩大了党的政法系统对一系列治理领域的影响, 以及将社会稳定纳入到了地方干部考核体制中。我们认为这些变化是政府对 1989 至 1991 年间的事件--即天安门民主运动和东欧共产党政权的倒台--的政策回应。经过 20 多年的发展, 这些政策已经促成了一个庞大的维稳体系。在这一体系中, 地方治理的重心日益围绕着如何应对社会抗争进行, 或是妥协或是镇压。中国政府正在重新考量这一体系, 但改革的方向尚不明朗。

Copyright
Corresponding author
Email: yuhuaw@sas.upenn.edu (corresponding author).
Footnotes
Hide All
*

Both authors contributed equally to the research and writing of this article. Yuhua Wang wants to thank Bill Alford for suggestions and Alice Xie, Chenyang Lei and Yichao Cen for providing excellent research assistance. Carl Minzner thanks Xie Yue, Hou Meng and all the organizers and participants at conferences and workshops where this paper was presented for their comments. Both authors want to thank The China Quarterly editors and anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Bellin Eva. 2012. “Reconsidering the robustness of authoritarianism in the Middle East.” Comparative Politics 44, 127149.
Biddulph Sarah. 2007. Legal Reform and Administrative Detention in China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Birney Mayling. 2013. “Decentralization and veiled corruption under China's rule of mandates.” World Development 53, 5567.
Cai Yongshun. 2006. State and Laid-Off Workers in Reform China: The Silence and Collective Action of the Retrenched. London: Routledge.
Chen Xi. 2012. Social Protest and Contentious Authoritarianism in China. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Collier Ruth Berins, and Collier David. 1991. Shaping the Political Arena. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Cook Sarah, and Lemish Leeshai. 2011. “The 610 office: policing the Chinese spirit.” Jamestown Foundation China Brief 11(17), 69.
Deng Yanhua, and O'Brien Kevin J.. 2013. “Relational repression in China: using social ties to demobilize protesters.” The China Quarterly 215, 533552.
Dickson Bruce. 2003. Red Capitalists in China: The Party, Private Entrepreneurs, and Prospects for Political Change. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Dutton Michael. 2005. Policing Chinese Politics. Durham: Duke University Press.
Gallagher Mary E. 2002. “Reform and openness: why China's economic reforms have delayed democracy.” World Politics 54(3), 338372.
Guo Xuezhi. 2012. China's Security State: Philosophy, Evolution, and Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Higgott Richard. 2004. “US foreign policy and the ‘securitization' of economic globalization.” International Politics 41(2), 147175.
Hou Meng. 2013. “Dang yu zhengfa guanxi de zhankai – yi zhengfa weiyuanhui wei yanjiu zhongxin.” (The relationship between Party and political-legal institutions: focusing research on political-legal committees). Faxuejia 1(2), 115.
Lam Willy. 2012. “Chen Guangcheng shows dim prospects for political-legal reform in China.” Jamestown Foundation China Brief 12(10), 35.
Landry Pierre F. 2008. Decentralized Authoritarianism in China: The Communist Party's Control of Local Elites in the Post-Mao Era. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Liebman Benjamin L. 2013. “Malpractice mobs: medical dispute resolution in China.” Columbia Law Review 113, 181262.
Lorentzen Peter L. 2013. “Regularizing rioting: permitting public protest in an authoritarian regime.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 8(2), 127158.
Magaloni Beatriz, and Kricheli Ruth. 2010. “Political order and one-party rule.” Annual Review of Political Science 13, 123143.
Minzner Carl F. 2006. “Xinfang: an alternative to formal Chinese legal institutions.” Stanford Journal of International Law 42, 103179.
Minzner Carl F. 2009. “Riots and cover-ups: counterproductive control of local agents in China.” University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law 31, 53123.
Minzner Carl F. 2011. “China's turn against law.” American Journal of Comparative Law 59, 935984.
Minzner Carl F. 2013. “The turn against legal reform.” Journal of Democracy 24, 6572.
Nathan Andrew. 2003. “Authoritarian resilience.” Journal of Democracy 14, 617.
North Douglass C. 1990. Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance. New York: Cambridge University Press.
O'Brien Kevin, and Li Lianjiang. 1999. “Selective policy implementation in rural China.” Comparative Politics 31(2), 167186.
O'Brien Kevin, and Li Lianjiang. 2006. Rightful Resistance in Rural China. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Perry Elizabeth. 2012. Anyuan: Mining China's Revolutionary Tradition. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Qiao Shi. 2012. Qiao Shi tan minzhu yu fazhi (Qiao Shi on Democracy and Rule of Law). Beijing: Renmin chubanshe.
Shambaugh David. 2002. Modernizing China's Military: Progress, Problems and Prospects. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Skocpol Theda. 1979. States and Social Revolutions. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Stockmann Daniela. 2012. Media Commercialization and Authoritarian Rule in China. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Svolik Milan W. 2012. The Politics of Authoritarian Rule. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Tanner Harold M. 1994. “Crime and Punishment in China, 1979–1989.” PhD diss., Columbia University.
Tanner Harold M. 1999. Strike Hard! Anti-Crime Campaigns and Chinese Criminal Justice, 1979–1985. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Tanner Murray Scott. 2000. “State coercion and the balance of awe: the 1983–1986 ‘stern blows’ anti-crime campaign.” The China Journal 44, 93125.
Tanner Murray Scott, and Green Eric. 2007. “Principals and secret agents: central versus local control over policing and obstacles to ‘rule of law’ in China.” The China Quarterly 191, 644670.
Tilly Charles. 1978. From Mobilization to Revolution. Reading, PA: Addison-Wesley.
Trevaskes Susan. 2007. Courts and Criminal Justice in Contemporary China. Lanham: Lexington Books.
Tsai Kellee S. 2006. “Adaptive informal institutions and endogenous institutional change in China.” World Politics 59, 116141.
Wang Yuhua. 2014. “Empowering the police: how the Chinese Communist Party manages its coercive leaders.” The China Quarterly 219, 625648.
Weiss Jessica. 2013. “Autocratic signaling, mass audiences and nationalist protest in China.” International Organization 67(1), 135.
Whiting Susan. 2004. “The cadre evaluation system at the grassroots: the paradox of Party rule.” In Naughton Barry and Yang Dali (eds.), Holding China Together: Diversity and National Integration in the Post-Deng Era. New York: Cambridge University Press, 101119.
Xie Yue. 2012. “The political logic of weiwen in contemporary China.” Issues and Studies 48, 139.
Xie Yue. 2013. Weiwen de zhengzhi luoji (The Political Logic of Stability Maintenance). Hong Kong: Tsinghua Bookstore.
Zhao Suisheng. 1998. “A state-led nationalism.” Communist and Post-Communist Studies 31(3), 287302.
Zhou Yongkun. 2012. “Lun dangwei zhengfa weiyuanhui de gaige” (On the reforms of Party political-legal committees). Faxue 5, 57.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 40
Total number of PDF views: 666 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1182 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.