July 26, 2015

"In the past, there was at least some separation between party and government roles, but it seems that the line is blurring dramatically."

Foreign Affairs The CCP and its ruling Politburo Standing Committee have always been the ones in charge, but they have been amassing greater control over policymaking and even implementation. By Christopher K. Johnson and Scott Kennedy

'It leaves one wondering: Does the Chinese government matter anymore?

'Given the Chinese Communist Party’s more direct role in governance, China's political system appears to have shifted from what experts have called "fragmented authoritarianism" to just plain authoritarianism. This trend is unmistakable, but there is still much to learn about how this evolving system operates in practice across different policy spaces and regions.

'The United States can respond in a number of ways. One option is to nudge governance in China back toward the government. Washington could warn Chinese officialdom of the dangers of hollowing out its government institutions and inhibiting sufficient consultation across the bureaucracy. And it could continue its old habit of engaging Chinese officials only in their government capacity, although that may be inadequate for learning about official policy.

'Another option would be to engage and promote the further development of nonstate actors that deliver public goods and offer accountability, such as NGOs. It is hard to see how China can avoid the middle-income trap and achieve social stability without creating a favorable environment for these groups to mature.'

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