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“To Get Rich Is Not Only Glorious”: Economic Reform and the New Entrepreneurial Party Secretaries*

  • Yan Xiaojun (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

This article examines the profound transformation market reforms have brought to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) rural grassroots organizations. Focusing on the political rise of private entrepreneurs and other economically successful individuals who recently obtained village Party secretary appointments in a north China county, the article explores their differing promotion channels, power bases, political resources and motivations to take up the CCP's grassroots leadership position. It demonstrates that the variety among the new entrepreneurial Party secretaries – from large factory owners to de facto farm managers – shaped the network resource, factional affiliation and socio-political capital they rely upon to exercise their newly attained power. It also shows the crucial role played by community-based endogenous forces in transmitting the power of economic liberalization into dynamics for the reshuffling of the Communist Party leadership at the grassroots level.

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Victor Nee , “A theory of market transition: from redistribution to markets in state socialism,” American Sociological Review, Vol. 54, No. 5 (1989) pp. 663–81

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Akos Rona-Tas , “The first shall be last? Entrepreneurship and communist cadres in the transition from socialism,” The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 100, No. 1 (1994) pp. 4069

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David Stark , “Privatization in Hungary: from plan to market or from plan to clan,” East European Politics and Societies, Vol. 4, No. 3 (1990) pp. 351–92

Sally Sargeson and Jian Zhang , “Reassessing the role of the local state: a case study of local government interventions in property rights reform in a Hangzhou district,” The China Journal, No. 42 (1999) pp. 7799

Gordon White , “The impact of economic reforms in the Chinese countryside: towards the politics of social capitalism?Modern China, Vol. 13, No. 4 (1987) p. 424

Minxin Pei , China's Trapped Transition: the Limits of Developmental Autocracy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006)

Yan Xiaojun , “The democratizing power of economic reform: revival of a representative institution in rural China,” Problems of Post-Communism, Vol. 58, No. 3 (2011), pp. 3952

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The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
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