- Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by David S.G. Goodman
Chapter 2: Ideology of the Chinese Communist Party
This chapter presents perspectives for discussing the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by reviewing the history of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the arguments raised in previous academic works examining the CCP’s ideology. As a preliminary step, the functions of ideology in politics, especially under authoritarian regimes, will be discussed. Ideology is defined as ‘a set of beliefs, especially the political beliefs on which people, parties, or countries base their actions’ (Collins COBUILD 2006: 718). Governments, especially authoritarian governments that lack ‘rational-legal authority’ as proposed by Max Weber, tend to place importance on ideology as an inexpensive tool with which to cloak their ‘coercive power’ or ‘utilitarian power’ in a veil of ‘normative power’ (Etzioni 1961) and thus avail themselves of a normative justification of authority. The CCP has also consistently established ideological work as one of the pillars of its rule and shown dedication to instilling official ideologies in its subordinates to claim normative power. The importance of ideology under the CCP’s rule has been emphasized in previous studies on Chinese politics. Franz Schurmann, in the introduction to his renowned work Ideology and Organization in Communist China, wrote, ‘China is like a vast building made of different kinds of brick and stone. However it was put together, it stands.
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