2020 年 66 巻 3 号 p. 68-85
In the 1980s, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) chose to pursue a path of “shifting to a market-oriented economy,” and since that time, it has been held captive by contradictions between the centralized politics of “one-party rule,” and Chinese society, which has been becoming increasingly diverse accompanying economic development.
Up until the beginning of the twenty-first century, people accepted “liberal democracy” to be the default form of government, and, following the Tiananmen Incident in 1989, China viewed this as a weak type of political regime existing amid the era of the “third wave of democratization.” Nevertheless, the regime of the CCP is still in place even today. As such, questions concerning Chinese politics have shifted from the question of “when and how China will democratize” to the question of “why the regime of the CCP does not collapse.”
How has the CCP been confronting the above-mentioned contradictions between politics and society, and how has it been able to maintain its rule? Some previous studies have attempted to find answers to such questions by making use of the concept of “regime resilience.” One type of political institution that previous studies have targeted for analysis in order to assess “regime resilience” is “input institutions,” which are institutions in which people are able to submit their requests to leaders. It appears that input institutions have been contributing to the maintenance of political regimes.
The CCP initiated political reforms in the 1980s, and as part of this, it positioned “input institutions” as a key issue related to such reforms. As is well known, following the Tiananmen Incident in 1989, the CCP abandoned many ideas related to the political reforms that it initiated in the 1980s. One of the few ideas that it did not abandon was “input-institution reforms.” Rather than doing away with input-institution reforms, the successive leaders of the CCP since the 1980s have been treating these as important policy issues. In this study, we focus on the decisions made by these successive leaders in this regard.
In this study, we use official documents of the CCP to trace ideas related to the input-institution reforms that CCP leaders initiated in the 1980s, 1990s, and beyond, and changes made to concrete initiatives related to such ideas, and then we discuss the aspects of “1980s Chinese politics” that current Chinese politics has inherited and the aspects that it has abandoned. Through this work, we obtain hints for thinking about how the CCP has been confronting contradictions between politics and society, and how the CCP has been maintaining its one-party regime.