Papers on Domestic Politics II

9:00 am – 10:45 am
Room 4

  • Chaired by Olga Adams
  • Konstantinas Andrijauskas, “Physical Infrastructure and (Re-)Making of ‘Chinese Tibet’ after 2008”
  • Mugur Zlotea, “Street Propaganda Posters and Traditional Depictions of the China Dream”
  • Olivia Cheung, “When Chinese Communist Party Elites Disagree: Factional Model-Making in Chinese Politics”
  • Albert Trofimov, “Trends in the Development of Modern Budget Legislation in China and Russia”

Konstantinas Andrijauskas, “Physical Infrastructure and (Re-)Making of ‘Chinese Tibet’ after 2008”

Ever since the famous legend that ascribed the rise of Buddhism in Tibet to a series of monasteries built on the plateau’s crucial sites in order to subdue its omnipresent demoness, control of this exceptionally forbidding region has been associated with man-made structures, including peculiar architecture (e.g. dzong fortresses) and increasingly physical (esp. transportation) infrastructure. This important lesson was not lost on various China-based regimes that have increasingly developed lasting supremacy there since the mid-Qing dynasty. It was only the People’s Republic, however, that managed to establish comprehensive territorial sovereignty over the plateau by using decidedly modern means of overcoming major geographical and political obstacles through technology-based and social engineering tools respectively. Based on an inter-disciplinary theoretical approach about space as a social construct, mirroring power relations, most famously represented in the works of Michel Foucault and David Harvey, this paper analyses the complex processes of using physical infrastructure in order to claim, control, and “attach” to itself one of the People’s Republic’s most important and contentious regions since the 2008 Tibetan unrest. The comparative qualitative analysis of the most representative case studies of physical transportation, communications, and energy infrastructure built throughout this period (Golmud–Lhasa–Shigatse Railway, Zangmu dam, road network in disputed border areas, and the “grid management system” in Tibet’s urban areas) shows that Beijing’s decades-old “attachment” strategies on the plateau have indeed entered a new phase characterised by the introduction of high-tech tools and their “internationalisation” beyond the internationally agreed-upon borders, thus mirroring the developments in neighbouring Xinjiang.

Mugur Zlotea, “Street Propaganda Posters and Traditional Depictions of the China Dream”

The China Dream concept, although central to the current political discourse, has been defined in a rather vague manner as national rejuvenation, a strong country, and a prosperous people. However, in order to make it come true, become a common and unified dream of the whole nation and have the people understand and assume it, the concept needs to be explained in a more detailed manner, by fusing the party ideology with elements familiar to the target audience. Since Chinese tradition has also been identified as one of the key elements of the Chinese Dream, the present paper focusses on the use of tradition in street propaganda posters as an attempt to successfully convey the message to the masses. Based on photos taken by the author during his visits to various places in China, from 2013 up to the present, it will analyse the themes, the symbols, and the selection of the traditional elements employed in the street posters, to better understand the role of tradition in the contemporary political context and its expected contributions to the fulfilment the China Dream.

Olivia Cheung, “When Chinese Communist Party Elites Disagree: Factional Model-Making in Chinese Politics”

This paper introduces “factional model-making” as a theoretical framework to analyse the public expression of critique against the Party line by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cadres. It is posited that cadres aligned to factions cutting across the Party-state hierarchy cultivate local areas into “models” in order to promote contentious political ideas marginalised by the Party line. This paper consists of four sections. The first section contextualises the research agenda in the ongoing “institutions versus factions” debate in the scholarship of post-Mao elite politics. The second section introduces the theoretical framework of factional model-making. It also offers a comprehensive overview of the practice of factional model-making under CCP rule. The third section applies factional model-making to analyse how the Party’s Left––an eclectic combination of hardliners, military leaders, princelings, and Maoists––joined forces in making the Nanjie Model, in order to promote agricultural recollectivisation, question the legitimacy of the market reforms, urge the CCP to be faithful to communism and to put Mao front and centre in the policy process from the early 1990s to 2010s. Based on the findings of the case study, it is concluded in the final section that factional model-making ensures a competitive policymaking process. The dynamism of political contention under factional model-making far exceeds the Party’s prescribed norms of democratic centralism and intra-Party democracy. Although factional model-making has been suppressed under Xi Jinping, it is predicted that it will recur in the future, possibly in a disruptive form, when the political climate loosens.

Albert Trofimov, “Trends in the Development of Modern Budget Legislation in China and Russia

The Russian and Chinese legal systems have a special historical and legal connection, that’s why it’s interesting enough to study public finance law of these states nowadays.
1. The budget legislation of Russia and China is the legal basis for creating multi-level and complex budget systems. Chinese system (unitary state) is a multi-stage system, consistent with its territorial division. The budget system of Russia is also filled with budgets of various levels: federal, regional, local. In this regard, a certain similarity is found. However, it is important to mention that in Russia and China the concept of “local budget” has a different content, which is predetermined by the difference in their legal nature.
2. The complex organisation of two budget systems is evidenced by the number of different structural elements, each of which has its own publicly significant task (function). At the central level, China’s budget system includes major state budgets and various extra-budgetary funds. The Russian counterpart, along with the federal, regional, and local budgets, also includes the budgets of state extra-budgetary funds. Both budget systems have social insurance funds as an integral part of the systems. This indicates a special attitude of the legislators to the issue of financial provision of social insurance.
3. The budget legislation of Russia and China is aimed at ensuring the unity of each of the budget systems.
4. At the present stage, the budget systems of both Russia and China do not include in their structure funds related to private finance.

Event Timeslots (1)

Room 4