(Cambridge University Press, 2018)
For information from the publisher, please click here.
In most non-democratic countries, today governing forty-four percent of the world population, the power of the regime rests upon a ruling party. Contrasting with conventional notions that authoritarian regime parties serve to contain elite conflict and manipulate electoral-legislative processes, this book presents the case of China and shows that rank and-file members of the Communist Party allow the state to penetrate local communities. Subnational comparative analysis demonstrates that in ‘red areas’ with high party saturation, the state is most effectively enforcing policy and collecting taxes. Because party membership patterns are extremely enduring, they must be explained by events prior to the Communist takeover in 1949. Frontlines during the anti-colonial Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) continue to shape China’s political map even today. Newly available evidence from the Great Leap Forward (1958-1961) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) shows how a strong local party basis sustained the regime in times of existential crisis.
“Where the Party Rules is a work of remarkable scope, imagination, and intellectual energy. Koss traces temporal and spatial variation in the Chinese Communist Party’s penetration of society from its origins in the anti-Japanese War through subsequent decades and into the present. Tied to an explicit set of theoretical propositions, the analysis sheds surprising light on a range of essential political outcomes. The book sets a new standard for scholarship on the most essential of Chinese political institutions.”
-Andrew G. Walder, Stanford University
Daniel Koss (PhD Harvard) is Assistant Research Fellow at the Institute of Political Science of Academia Sinica, Taipei. Prior to this appointment, he was a post doctoral fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area studies.