Retrofitting Leninism

78 If Leninism is the clearest vantage point from which to view contemporary China, a firmer grasp on the collapse of ... control is not surprising—it represents a concerted effort the retrofitting Leninism for the twenty-first century.

Retrofitting Leninism

Retrofitting Leninism

"Retrofitting Leninism explores the relationship between political inclusion and political control through the lens of participatory governance in the People's Republic of China. The book can be condensed into three key points. First, public participation is a prerequisite for effective administration, irrespective of how a regime is constituted. Second, a regime's ability to solicit, process, and recast public input into policy outputs is central to its political durability. Third, technological advances in communication make it easier for authoritarian regimes, particularly those with Leninist foundations, to correspond with the public and thus undercut calls for genuine democratic progress---an endogenous process of regime maintenance I refer to as retrofitting. Using archival data, media reports, and original opinion polls, I show how public inputs are incorporated into the marketing and implementation of top-down policy outputs. To unpack the interface between inputs and outputs, I focus on proposal-making and government priorities in local Chinese legislatures. Finally, to evaluate the downstream impact, I estimate the effect of open policymaking on sub-national regulation and government approval. The findings suggest that public engagement contributes to both policy stability and positive public perceptions of policy. Though instrumental, the book also underscores that inclusive authoritarianism depends on the voluntary participation of Chinese citizens, which is far from guaranteed"--

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