Consultative Leninism: A Political Framework for Understanding Contemporary China

Steve Tsang,  Professorial Fellow, St Anthony's College, Oxford

09.Dec.2009 17.00 - 18.30
Room G.03, 20 Cromer Terrace - Leeds

Steve Tsang is a Professorial Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford, where he had previously served as Dean and as Director of the Asian Studies Centre. He has published extensively on the politics, foreign and security policy, and modern history of Greater China, including 14 books. He is interested in comparing political developments in China with that in Taiwan and Hong Kong. His latest book is Taiwan and the International Community (ed.), (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2008). In addition to his work on contemporary politics he is also researching for a biography of Chiang Kai-shek.


In this talk, which will be based on a forthcoming article, he will put forward the concept of consultative Leninism to describe the political system that has taken shape in China after the death of Deng Xiaoping. He argues that the Communist Party has made its essentially Leninist political machinery more resilient in confronting the huge social and political challenges that the current global financial crisis may unleash in China by incorporating consultative elements. Consultative Leninism has five defining characteristics:

• an obsessive focus upon staying in power;

• continuous governance reform designed to pre-empt public demands for democratization;

• sustained efforts to enhance the Party’s capacity to elicit, respond to and direct changing public opinion;

• pragmatism in economic and financial management; and

• the promotion of nationalism in place of Communism.