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David Shambaugh’s article about “The Dynamics of Elite Politics During the Jiang Era” recognizes that there were as many changes that occurred in Jiang’s era from 1980s as those that his leadership initiated during his rule. His leadership was not as strong as other…
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The Dynamics of Elite Politics during the Jiang Era
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Reading Response: THE DYNAMICS OF ELITE POLITICS DURING THE JIANG ERA David Shambaugh’s article about “The Dynamics of Elite Politics During the Jiang Era” recognizes that there were as many changes that occurred in Jiang’s era from 1980s as those that his leadership initiated during his rule. His leadership was not as strong as other marquee Chinese leaders such as Mao Zedong, but he was keen to ensure that he created an image that showed continuity with Mao and other traditional Chinese elements (Shambaugh 2). Few were the policies that he initiated but rather dwelled on adopting others from previous leaders or as they were or modifying them. The article notes that there was a transformation under Jiang Zemin in Chinese elite politics from the previous political regimes. Jiang managed to bring reconciliation and ensure that the elites are on the same book and line of thought. This is evidenced by the few personal rivals or outspoken critics of his leadership (Shambaugh 4). Largely, Jiang managed to build on the policies set by other regions well.
The manner of policymaking in the Jiang era was more of a direct deviation from the previous administration. In the process of policymaking, the leader prioritized consultation rather than imposing of particular policies. I think this approach showed the dimension that the leader wanted China to take for the sake of the future. For a leader who was criticized for not being as visionary as the others, Jiang clearly paved the way for a more liberal China that was ready to adopt the inclusive model of decision-making. By harmonizing the political elites, he was creating an open system that encouraged sharing of ideas for the development of the country. He borrowed the concepts of inclusion from other leaders who had attempted it but was keen to make it a success. That said, it shows that his focus was streamlining elite politics to accept the concepts of inclusion politics fully. He achieved this goal to a large extent in his leadership.
The composition of the political elites in Jiang Era demonstrates a mixed composition and a wealth of ideas from both the old policymakers and new entrants (Shambaugh 7). Both bear different ways of tackling problems, but critics argue that the new entrants were raw in terms of decision making and experience. However, it appears as necessary for the change in composition of the top brass of politicians so that there can be different views that achieve modern approaches. The fact that the military composition, in terms of military leaders has taken another dimension shows the desire of the leader to accord that section its independence from political affairs. The depoliticization of the military aims at achieving stability. However, the turnover in the political elites could have a bearing in the decision making as it is likely to take more time in coming up with new policies of implementing other due to disagreements. In addition, the reducing power of patronage in Jiang era is a step towards a democratic manner of obtaining political elites.
In conclusion, it is evident that there no new outright policies during the Jiang Era. However, his leadership oversaw a change in the leadership perspective by adopting a more inclusive process of decision making, a more diversified composition of the political elites and depoliticization of politics. These changes aimed at increasing stability in leadership as well as enhance the quality of decision making. It is also arguable that the leadership shifted towards a more democratic approach. Under the leadership of Jiang, the political elites became more united to engage in decision making for the development of China in all aspects.
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Shambaugh, David. "The Dynamics of Elite Politics During the Jiang Era." The China Journal 45 Jan. (2001): 1-12. Print. Read More
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