Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
population is now close to 50 percent Han Chinese, and garrisons of
Han Chinese troops are stationed all over Tibet.
Roughly paralleling the structure of the government is the CCP
itself, which controls the appointments of all important Chinese
leaders and dictates policy direction to the government. The most
important central levels of the CCP (which nationwide claims more
than 50 million members) are, in ascending order of power, the Party
Congress, the Central Committee, the Politburo, and a small group
within the Politburo called the Standing Committee, which is the
core clique of China's dictatorship. As with the highest levels of
government, appointments to the Politburo and the Standing Commit-
tee are matters of factional struggles, political infighting, and personal
relationships rather than democratic election.
The Chinese Communists claim to have achieved a revolution in
China in 1949, but many aspects of their rule are quite reminiscent of
imperial Chinese governance. As outlined above, the structure of their
government is essentially based on imperial models. Like the Ming
and Qing dynasty emperors, the Chinese Communists have made
Beijing their capital, and it is certainly no accident that some of their
City of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Until his death in 1976, Mao
Zedong was essentially the emperor of China, and millions of Chinese
grew up making obeisance before his portrait and wishing him “ten
thousand years” (wansui) every day. As Kenneth Lieberthal has
pointed out, both the imperial system and the Communist system,
which the Chinese learned from the Soviets, “utilized ideology to but-
tress the legitimacy of the system, and held that the leaders embodied
the correct ideology, leaving no room for private, individual interests
or for organized opposition to the state” (Lieberthal 1995, 157). Like
their Confucian predecessors from the dynastic era, the Chinese Com-
munists today claim that their ideology and their topics obviate any
need for their subjects to enjoy authentic, participatory democracy.
They are convinced that they, and not the Chinese people, know what
is best for China. Just as the gentry of late imperial times secured social
elite status by studying for and passing examinations on the official
national orthodoxy (Cheng-Zhu Neo-Confucianism), today's elites,
the cadres (Communist functionaries), secure their status because of
their familiarity with, and adherence to, state orthodoxy (now
Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought and the Thought of Deng
Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin). Instead of reading the Four Books and
the Five Classics, China's elites are now required to read and regurgi-
tate the works of Marx, Lenin, Mao, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin.
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