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Elite Recruitment and Regime Dynamics in China: A Longitudinal Analysis




Parallel abstracts

Patterns of elite recruitment provide information about the political process and institutions in communist countries. In this paper, the author develop a concept of limited renewal, constructed based on the nature of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) regime, to describe the characteristics of elite recruitment in China's reform era. Since the CCP did not fundamentally abandon its communist feature of one-party dictatorship, but only modified the party line by redefining its policy priority from class struggle to economic construction. This logic of political survival constrains any adjustment of elite recruitment and promotion corresponding to reform policies, so as not to endanger the rule of the CCP. As revealed by a longitudinal dataset on the top Chinese leaders, the composition of Chinese political elites has renewed over time with younger average age, higher educational level and more diverse academic background, but the screening of political loyalty-institutionalized as the appointment of party position-still functions as the critical determinant for elites’ career advancement. These features of the limited dimension represent how the logic of political survival drives the CCP's elite recruitment during the reform era.


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