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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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(p.148) Conclusion
Shaken Authority

Christian P. Sorace

Cornell University Press

This book has examined how the Chinese Communist Party's ideology and discourse shaped the official decisions and responses to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. It has shown how the Party's political legitimacy is negotiated through the daily encounters between cadres and people. In the earthquake zone, the Party sought to foreground its capabilities for reconstruction while also using coercive methods to maintain and rebuild the authority of its unelected rule. Furthermore, Party spirit was to be demonstrated in the cadre's ability and willingness to “eat bitterness” (chiku) and suffer alongside the survivors, which was meant to reaffirm the “intimate” relationship between the Party and the people. The book concludes by explaining what it calls “shaken authoritarianism,” whereby the Party's grip on power is fragile as a result of its attempt to control and manipulate every outcome to conform to its legitimating narratives.

Keywords:   ideology, Chinese Communist Party, discourse, Sichuan earthquake, legitimacy, cadres, reconstruction, shaken authoritarianism, power

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