Political Liberalization Without Democratization: Pan Wei’s Proposal for Political Reform
After the three great waves of democratization in the world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries,1 observers eager to see the termination of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) monopoly of power have been frustrated by China’s slow progress toward a Western-style multiparty democratization. The pressure for political reform has, indeed, been increasing inside China. However, the direction political reform has taken and the way it is discussed in China is rather different from the democratization that has been pushed by many outside pro-democracy activists. In fact, many Chinese government officials and some Chinese intellectuals do not believe that the Western style of democracy is a feasible or, for that matter, desirable option for China, at least in the foreseeable future. Instead, they have looked upon political liberalization without democratization as an alternative solution to many of China’s problems related to the extant authoritarian system. Pan Wei’s argument for building a rule-of-law regime is a representative work of this group of Chinese intellectuals.