The Perfect Dictatorship Analysis

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Ringen, Stein. The Perfect Dictatorship: China in the 21st Century. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2016.
Liu Xia

Economically, China has done a really great job in recent years. Inspired by that, some people are looking forward to a deeper change, in other words, a revolution in politics. But Stein Ringen, an emeritus professor at the University of Oxford, finds it unrealistic. In his latest book, The Perfect Dictatorship: China in the 21st Century, Ringen warns that people should not expect too much from a party-state. He claims that the state is far from a good regime, for it is still a “dictatorship”, or a “controlocracy”(p. 170).

Ringen coins the term “controlocracy” to describe China’s unusual political system. He also puts
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He argues the party-state has “one single supreme determination”, which is “its own perpetuation” (p. 3). Besides, the party serves people merely as a result of insecurity. In fact, Ringen believes, all improvements, including public services, modernity, quality of life, etc. (pp. 148-149), will not add to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s …show more content…
3), so the leaders decided to do something to comfort people. Since Deng Xiaoping took power in 1978, he launched a series of reforms to reward the crowd (p. 119). On the other hand, the party-state still could turn its back on people if necessary, even at the cost of its achievements. In 1989, for example, the national protests and a call for democracy made the leaders feel insecure, so they asked the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to deal with the citizens (p. 4). Thus, Ringer has provided convincing evidence to show that the state is always committed to its regime, as opposed to its people.

Regarding the second question, Ringen does not answer it directly. Instead, he presents three hypotheses: “the triviality hypothesis (the state is for itself only)”, “the welfare hypothesis (the state is for the good of the common people)”, and “the power hypothesis (the state is for an ideological mission)” (p. 58). Indeed, the party-state might not fit perfectly to any of these ideal models, yet we can still test it and find some

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