This edited volume assesses governance innovation and institutional change under the fifth generation of China’s political leaders headed by Xi Jinping. The configuration of long-term policy innovation without regime change requires skilled political actors who secure strategic majorities and set up coalitions to design and launch new policies. Recalibrations or reconfigurations of the governance model respond to domestic reform pressures or external shocks in order to secure regime survival. Given that most structural constraints and reform pressures do not arise out of a sudden, the thrilling question is why the political elites sometimes decide not to engage in institutional reforms despite of widespread societal support for major restructuring and why they suddenly launch institutional changes in times of relative stability. The authors address these issues by focusing on basic patterns and paradigms of governance and institutional change in China, the actors and drivers of governance innovation, as well as the impact of norms, values, and socio-cognitive orientations. This is added by some reflections on the interplay between abstract ideas, reform debates, and the making of concrete decisions as outlined by the Third Plenum on (socio-)economic reforms in 2013 and the Fourth Plenum on rule-based governance (fazhi) in 2014.
Nele Noesselt is professor of political science at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Introduction: Governance Innovation and Policy Change
Part I:Reflecting on the Field of Chinese Political Studies
1. Political Science and Chinese Political Studies—Where Is Chinese Political Science Headed?
2. Dehegemonizing the Discipline: China’s Contribution to a Pluralist Political Science
3. Decrypting Chinese Politics: Critical Discourse Analysis meets fsQCA
Elizaveta PRIUPOLINA and Fan YANG
Part II: Values, Norms, and Political Culture in Contemporary China
4. Economic Modernization and Political Attitudes in Contemporary China
5. Sino-Western Cognitive Differences and Western Liberal Biases in Chinese Political Studies
6. Top-level Design, Reform Pressures, and Local Adaptations: An Interpretation of the Trajectory of Reform since the 18th CPC Party Congress
Xuedong YANG and Yan JIAN
Part III: Local Governance Reform and Rule of Law
7. The Acrobatic Justice on the Marching Order: China’s Fourth Judicial Reform in Perspective
8. Carrots, Sticks or Alternatives? The Choice of Environmental Policy Instruments in China
9. Reinventing the Chinese “Leviathan”: Constitutionalizing Politics under Xi Jinping
Conclusion: Re-Calibrations and Re-Evaluations