Economic Reform and Ideological Decay: The Decline of Ideocracy
The overriding political rationale for economic reform was the desire to rebuild the power and authority of the Communist regime. This could be achieved in part by improvements in popular welfare arising from a successful programme of economic reform. But a major shift in political ideas and institutions was also needed, not only because these had fallen into disrepute and disrepair over the previous decade, but also because they had to be brought into line with the radically different economic system which was the ultimate objective of economic reforms. In trying to re-establish their political hegemony, the CCP leadership faced two major tasks: first, to redefine the official political Ideology in such a way that it became an effective force for legitimating the CCP regime in the context of the ‘socialist commodity economy’; and, second, to re-establish the Party as a coherent and credible political nucleus of the nation in the new economic environment. I shall be discussing these two aspects of political change in this and the next chapters.
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