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The Political Attitudes of the Various Strata in China's Society and Their Prospects for the Future


  • Xiao Gongqin


As we come to the turn of the century, we find a China that has already stepped onto a new stage of history. The year 1997 is one of epochal significance in the political life of China. The death of Deng Xiaoping, along with the successive passing away of people such as Chen Yun, Wang Zhen, Li Xiannian, Peng Zhen, and so on, in the past few years signifies, at last, the termination of the historical era in which China's political life was fully led and dominated by the generation of the veterans and elders of the Chinese Revolution. The retrocession of Hong Kong indicated that China's leaders are capable today of discoveringâoutside the boundaries of existing ideological thinking and based instead on the common sharing of a nationalist sentiment that had suffered humiliation and suppression for the past hundred yearsâa new resource for maintaining the power of coalescence of the nation as well as for upholding the legitimacy of the sovereignty of the state. Since the Fifteenth National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Jiang Zemin's standing in the Party and within the highest levels of policy and decision making in the Party and in the government has been further stabilized and secured, and the "theory of the primary stage of socialism" as affirmed by the Fifteenth Congress provided a more solid ideological-theoretical foundation for the further and broader reform of the economy along the lines of marketization, so that those in control of the government are no longer as restrained as they had been by the dogmatic constraints of traditional ideologies, and thus may be able to move away from their chronic state of hesitation with regard to economic reform; in this way, flexibility on the part of the players in the chess game of economic reform has been further enhanced and greatly enlivened.

Suggested Citation

  • Xiao Gongqin, 1999. "The Political Attitudes of the Various Strata in China's Society and Their Prospects for the Future," Chinese Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(3), pages 56-78, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:chinec:v:32:y:1999:i:3:p:56-78

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