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Post-Tiananmen contradictions. Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. “Asian” model. Market economics Stability Authoritarian one-party rule. The Chinese model. Encourage business Stifle political initiative “socialist market economy” Corporatism Market replaces plan

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Post tiananmen contradictions l.jpg

Post-Tiananmen contradictions

Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

Asian model l.jpg
“Asian” model

  • Market economics

  • Stability

  • Authoritarian one-party rule

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The Chinese model

  • Encourage business

  • Stifle political initiative

  • “socialist market economy”

    • Corporatism

    • Market replaces plan

    • Business publicly owned

    • Developing private sector

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  • State vs. private sector

  • Officials vs. masses (rulers vs. ruled)

  • City vs. countryside

  • Floating population vs. urban middle class

  • Rich vs. poor

  • Taiwan: independence vs. reunification

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  • Still “Communist” Party; still rhetorical continuity with liberatory project of the revolution

  • Shunkouliu (slippery jingles) as form of folk satire, de-legitimization (Link and Zhou: 108)

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  • Household registration loosened

  • Floating population: 100 million

  • Urbanization:

    • Approx. 40% urban now

    • Urban social problems:

      • Beggars

      • Crime

      • Prostitution

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Migrant labor

Gao village

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Gao village migration: causes

  • Pricing policy, local levies  economic distress

  • Population growth  surplus labor

  • Ecological pressure

  • 30% migrated by 1995

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Gao village migration: effects

  • Peasant economy (“self-sufficiency”) eroding (commodification)

  • “virtually all the young people…have gone.”

  • Exploitation and mistreatment in the city

  • But wages sent home help the village

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Gao on the new market economy

  • Township enterprises really established during commune era

  • “local state corporatism (p. 203-4; see also Potter & Potter)

  • Uneven development

    • coastal areas first

    • “pull” factor for migration

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Advertising images




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  • Some religious practices okay again; Confucianism encouraged (Meisner: 526)

  • Ancestor worship also okay again, but migrant youth losing interest

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Nationalism as civic religion (Yang Guobin)

  • Meisner sees “Chinese characteristics” as nationalism replacing socialism as emphasis; Deng: “The purpose of socialism is to make the country rich and strong.” (525)

  • Yang Guobin sees political movements as replacement of ideologies (religion) with nationalistic “civic religion”:

    • Decline of Confucianism > May 4 movement

    • Dissatisfaction with CCP, modernization > Tiananmen

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A quasi-religious movement: the Mao Craze of the ’90s

  • Among students

    • Spread from Beijing after Tiananmen, spread to “tertiary” universities

    • Both pro- and anti- Mao factions

  • Folk-religion aspect

    • Mao Zedong like Zhao Gong (Kitchen God)

    • Buttons, statues like St. Christopher medals


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Religion-based movements: Falun Gong



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Religion-based movements: Falun Gong

  • Beliefs:

    • Buddhism: wheel of life, suffering, self-cultivation

    • New age

      • Science fiction but anti-science

      • Evil forces: aliens caused human problems

    • Apocalyptic

    • Messianic

    • “a latent critique of emergent capitalist relations” (Shue)

    • Daoism: Qigong practice (exercise/meditation)

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Religion-based movements: Falun Gong

  • Social base:

    • Intelligentsia, esp. computer sci. & physics

    • Strong in Northeast

      • State sector

      • Army officers

      • Laid off workers

      • Government officials

      • Party core?

    • Overseas

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Religion-based movements: Falun Gong

  • Causes:

    • Post-Cultural Revolution cynicism

    • Cultural nationalism (Shue)

    • Spiritual hunger

    • Qigong revival

    • Mutual aid society (also found in Christian Home Church movement)

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Religion-based movements: Falun Gong

  • Why the party/state repressive reaction?

    • Challenge to its “moral hegemony” (Shue)

    • Challenge to organizational hegemony (corporatism)

    • Fear of another Boxer Rebellion

    • Fear of the “power of the weak”