BOOK REVIEW: The Party and the People: Chinese Politics in the 21st Century

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Volume 21, Number 081, 2024
Book Reviews


In his book, The Party and the People: Chinese Politics in the 21st Century, Bruce Dickson, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University, thoroughly scrutinizes China’s domestic political system and the inner structure of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Dickson largely limits his primer to the post-Mao period, with each of the book’s sections answering specific research questions: “What Keeps the Party in Power?”, “How Are Leaders Chosen?”, “How Are Policies Made?”, “Does China Have a Civil Society?”, “Do Political Protests Threaten Political Stability?”, “Why Does the Party Fear Religion?”, “How Nationalistic Is China?” and “Will China Become Democratic?”. Each question he seeks answers to sheds light on the relationship between the CCP and Chinese society. Dickson argues that the CCP has exercised unopposed authority throughout the country since 1949 despite many elite conflicts, economic catastrophes and social unrests. Nevertheless, the party has not always resorted to repressive methods to stay in power. Rather, it is the author’s main argument that the main survival policy is the party’s ability to be responsive to the demands of Chinese people. For Dickson, the repression-responsiveness dichotomy is the core strategy that made it possible for the CCP to rule China as a single party for decades.


CCP, Political Stability, Repression-Responsiveness, Leninist Principles, Democratic Procedures, Nationalism


Orhan Çifçi, “Bruce J. Dickson, The Party and the People: Chinese Politics in the 21st Century (Princeton University Press, 2021)”, Uluslararasi Iliskiler, Vol. 21, No 81, 2024. 107-109.


  • Orhan Çifçi, Assist. Prof. Dr., Department of International Security, Turkish National Police Academy, Ankara
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