Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Some discussion on how lower officials influence the elite players:

For the provinces, the
most direct way to influence policies is direct lobbying through the factional
network, which results in particularistic benefits to selected localities. The
other main way is simply non-compliance a la Lieberthal. Rampant non-compliance
will at times force a policy change. They also lobby for policies at the annual
meetings on various issues, but I think much of that masks particularistic

For the ministries and commissions, they also have considerable agenda power.
It is a complicated relationship that the central bureaucracy has with the top
leaders. On the one hand, they watch for political signals from the center
when they propose policies. On the other hand, they have considerable leeway
on the finer details of the policy that can move the policy dialogue in a given
direction. The top leaders mostly jsut care about the net outcome of a
particular policy.

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Sunday, July 20, 2003

A discussion on elite politics:

Interesting. I agree with the declining sympathy that the central
government now has toward the local government. It shows if you look at
the career trajectories of those in power today. Most of them have spent
the bulk of their careers in the center, with only a smattering of local
administrative experience. Jiang and Zhu only presided over Shanghai for
a few years each. Zhao Ziyang, on the other hand, worked in Guangdong for
decades before being promoted to the center. Wen and Hu both worked in teh
West, and I think that partly explains the at least outward emphasis on
Western development. But even they have spent much of the past decade in
the center. Wen has been in the center since the mid 80s, while Hu has
been in the center since the 14th Party Congress.

However, the 16th PC did see the promotion of many cadres with rich local
administrative experience to the PSC, Wu Guanzheng, Huang Ju, and Li
Changchun, and also Jia Qinglin. Although they are in different factions,
they could form a powerful bloc lobbying for more local autonomy and less
central restriction. My friend who works in the Central Committee tells
me that time is ripe for a round of "fang." If the political pressure on
decentralization increases, it will be interesting to see if the
institutionalization effort by the central bureaucracy in the past decade
will hold up (eg. taxation, banking, auditing centralization).

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