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Shaken AuthorityChina's Communist Party and the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake$
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Christian P. Sorace

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501707537

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501707537.001.0001

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The Comunist Party’s Miracle

The Comunist Party’s Miracle

Chapter:
(p.17) 1 The Comunist Party’s Miracle
Source:
Shaken Authority
Author(s):

Christian P. Sorace

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501707537.003.0002

This chapter offers a new perspective on the Chinese Communist Party's legitimacy based on norms, expectations, and discourse during the era of Mao Zedong that shape how the Party and masses view and interact with each other. The Party's initial response to the Sichuan earthquake seemed to reflect major changes in Chinese politics, society, and media. As scholars shifted their focus from the emergency rescue period to the long-term process of reconstruction, it became clear that the rebuilding of Sichuan would be a showcase of Party legitimacy rather than a platform for expanded civic participation. This chapter introduces the concept of discursive path dependence in order to elucidate the ways in which the Party's narrative of legitimacy predisposed it to transform the reconstruction into a utopian promise of “great leap development” (kuayueshi fazhan).

Keywords:   reconstruction, Chinese Communist Party, legitimacy, Mao Zedong, Sichuan earthquake, Chinese politics, discourse, discursive path dependence, great leap development

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