The Dynamics of Factions and Consensus in Chinese Politics

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The Dynamics of Factions and Consensus in Chinese Politics

By Lucian W. Pye
RAND, 1980
250 pp.
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Commissioned by RAND, this is an interesting study of factionalism in the Chinese leadership, based in part on interviews with emigrés from the PRC. The author contends that, as of last year, "it was widely recognized" (presumably by the Chinese, certainly not by Western China-watchers) that there were four basic factions in the Chinese Party. The first two either benefited from, or were not injured by, the Cultural Revolution. The last two were rehabilitated, along with Deng Xiaoping, after the purge of the Gang of Four. Since it is the last two who are now in commanding positions, it is significant that they are divided about the prospects for implementing Deng's "Four Modernizations." The so-called restoration faction is pessimistic. It believes that China can expect only limited help from Japan and the West and that Deng is encouraging romantic views about the actual economic choices available to China: what China really needs is not more decentralization and the development of market forces but tighter controls and greater economic discipline. Deng's so-called practice faction, on the other hand, believes that most of what went on before was disastrous for China and that entirely new practices are called for. One may conclude that there remain enormous bureaucratic opposition to, and skepticism about, Deng's economic experimentation.