chapter  2
23 Pages

Mainland China’s incomplete modernisation

WithAndreas Fulda

This chapter argues that mainland China should be seen as a key case study which illustrates the limits of conventional modernisation theory. On 11 March 2018, China’s national people’s congress—the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP's) rubber-stamp legislature—approved changes to mainland China’s party constitution to allow the abolition of term limits for incumbent CCP chairman Xi Jinping 2,958 to 2. On 17 May 1989, at the height of mainland China’s nation-wide anti-corruption and pro-democracy movement, Deng Xiaoping made the fateful decision not to allow piecemeal liberalisation and democratisation of its autocratic political system. The widely publicised milk scandal of 2008 in mainland China is a prime example of the CCP simultaneously engaging in developmental and predatory practices. Modernisation in mainland China has led to a vicious circle, where an autocratic crony-capitalist CCP has shown little concern for the establishment of a liberal democracy and invested few of its resources to strive for social equality.