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An Anatomy of the Chinese Selectocracy


E2016002                                                            February

Yang Yao
The National School of Development and CCER, Peking University


The Chinese regime is a self-contained polity that is best described by selectocracy --- that is, a polity that selects officials by a centralized mechanism. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the selectorate; it is not just an organization, but more importantly, it is part of China’s constitutional setup. The Chinese selectocracy is built on both China’s long tradition of meritocracy and the CCP’s own history. Its selection process is open, competitive and meritocratic. Effectively aided by other institutions,such as the People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultation Conference, the Chinese selectocracy can accommodate the idea of plurality and balance of power. As a result, it can be positioned as a legitimate and even liberal polity. The misunderstanding of the Chinese regime has been mostly caused by the “democracy narrative” that precludes the legitimacy of any form of governance other than democracy.China needs to construct a New Narrative that is commensurate with the spirit and practice of the Chinese selectocracy.

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