The Revival of Contact Points as a Form of Party Legitimation in Contemporary China

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Xinye Wu Adam Tyson

Abstract

One important but understudied political reform under President Xi Jinping since 2012 is the revival of contact points (lianxi dian) as a means for Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cadres to establish and maintain close ties with specific constituencies. The revival of contact points has the potential to disrupt dominant patterns of patronage in China and to enhance Party legitimacy. We analyse government claims about the impact of cadre contact points on national Party discipline and personnel, as well as on grassroots poverty reduction schemes and anti-corruption initiatives. Drawing on official sources, we find that contact points are framed as pragmatic government reforms with limited connection to Party ideology. The current reforms in China combine traditional state investigative powers and bureaucratic imperatives with heavily circumscribed channels for civic engagement. Party cadres appear to be given degrees of freedom to take their own policy initiatives at contact points, which create risks, but generally serve to legitimize the CCP.

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How to Cite
WU, Xinye; TYSON, Adam. The Revival of Contact Points as a Form of Party Legitimation in Contemporary China. MJIR | Malaysian Journal of International Relations, [S.l.], v. 7, n. 1, p. 1-20, dec. 2019. ISSN 2600-8181. Available at: <https://mjir.um.edu.my/article/view/16479>. Date accessed: 11 july 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.22452/mjir.vol7no1.1.
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