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Limited Renewal in China$S Elite Circulation
An Integrated Analysis of Macro and Micro Dimensions
What is the inner-logic governing the elite recruitment in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)? Does the pattern of elite turnover vary among different positions? What is the transformation trend for elite formation over time? This research project attempts to focus on China’s elite circulation in the reform era, exploring the issues of elite turnover on Marco-level and elite transformation on Micro-level. Given the perspective of regime evolution, the author argues that the adjustment of party course in 1978 was initiated and designed according to the party leader’s preference. Since the CCP was not forced to fundamentally change its party course, the intension and extension of membership adjustment would be limited to the purpose of maintaining CCP’s dictatorship. This organizational rationale led to a consistent pattern of elite circulation—“Limited Renewal”, which has guided both the elite turnover and transformation over time. At the macro-level, I anticipate that the speed, scope and mode of elite turnover would vary along different levels of positions after the early 1980’s. For the micro-level inspection of individual credentials, I expect that the technocratic transformation of party elites would lag behind that of government elites. Furthermore, there would have longstanding differences in political credentials and the degree of specialization between party and government elites. Therefore, as this research would reveal, the process of elite renewal has been restricted by CCP’s grip of power. This pattern of elite circulation has reflected the unique way of regime revolution in China, which balances between the survival prerequisite of one-party dictatorship with the functional target of economic development.
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