From the debates over revolutionary strategy in the 1920s to the conflicts over reform in the recent era, intra-elite conflict over the best (or correct) way forward for the revolution has almost been a defining characteristic of CCP politics. Although both the intensity and consequences of such conflict have been less dramatic in the 1980s than during the period of ‘Mao in command’, intra-elite disharmony has nevertheless had a profound impact on China’s evolution. Whilst there was a general consensus in 1978 that the Maoist political-economic system needed to be overhauled, there was no such agreement on specifics, or on the ultimate destination of the reform process. As the decade progressed, the requirements of maintaining a semblance of elite cohesion and keeping opposition to the reforms to a minimum meant that short-term political considerations were frequently placed above longer-term economic rationality.
KeywordsEconomic Reform Cultural Revolution Reform Process Revenue Sharing Central Leader
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