This book investigates the political mechanisms at work in the shadow of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and the broader ideological energies that drove these mechanisms. It proposes an interpretive approach that takes Chinese Communist Party ideas and discourse as being central to how the party formulates policies, defines legitimacy, and wields its power. The basis for this claim is that Party discourse permeates, conditions, and filters each aspect of Chinese politics. China's economic reform has been viewed as the product of naturalized historical forces with no ideological dimension, resulting in a tendency to treat Communist Party ideology as a mere formality and window dressing. The book argues that China's economic reform is a profoundly ideological undertaking that builds on and transforms the legacy of Mao Zedong. This introduction explains the research methods used for the book and provides an overview of the chapters that follow.
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