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Modernization and Democratic Reform in China

Brantly Womack
The Journal of Asian Studies
Vol. 43, No. 3 (May, 1984), pp. 417-439
DOI: 10.2307/2055756
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2055756
Page Count: 23
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Modernization and Democratic Reform in China
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Abstract

The new materialism underlying economic modernization in post-Mao China rests on the principles of the primacy of productivity over ideology, use of incentives based on material interests, and acknowledgment of economic and social complexity. An impressive array of political reforms has accompanied the vast changes in economic policies that these principles have inspired. These include legal and constitutional reform, a decrease in public interference in the private lives of citizens, an increase in mass voice in most organizations, and a strengthening of the people's congress system. The reforms are intended to contribute to modernization by institutionalizing orderly participation by intellectuals and the masses. The capacity of such reforms to limit arbitrary power through institutional and electoral checks is rendered ambiguous by the continued hegemony of the Chinese Communist Party.

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