Although Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Though (MLM) still serves as the ideology which the People’s Republic of China (PRC) adhere to, these socialist doctrines no longer serve inspirational purposes to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and are viewed as an “ideological vacuum.” China’s attempt to establish a rapid growing economy to support the authority of the Communist regime has contradicted the Communist ideology and has thus created a reverse effect. It is certain that Chinese citizens have grown increasingly apolitical in the current era due to the exposure to market economy and Western influences. This new environment prompts the public to adopt individualism and neglect Communist ideologies such as collectivism. As Deng Xiao Ping and many other scholars blamed the ineffective political education as the major cause of this phenomenon, the assertion remains debatable. CCP now faces a challenge where it has to redefine its political ideology while fitting the socialist regime in the context of “socialist commodity economy.” The CCP’s attempt to reconcile its capitalist practices with socialist ideal results a dilemma. As uncertainties lay in the future of the Chinese political environment, this paper evaluates the failure of The Communist Party’s normative authority, and distinguishes possible alternatives and solutions.
One of the main reasons for the failure of the propaganda scheme is that the value which the Party tries to promote grossly contrasted with the actual social condition. While the Party urges the public to embrace the idea of “collectivism,” and “serving the people,” it fails to justify how socialist morality is compatible with market competition. “Jurgen Habermans has labeled this dilemma as ‘rationality crisis,’ caused by the disjunction between current practices and the original ideological tenets upon which the regime was founded.” Although CCP recognizes the need for combating moral disorder and launched the “socialist spiritual civilization” (SSC) campaign in 1997, the accomplishment is diminutive. It is obvious that political education in China is heavily emphasized, where political elements are incorporated in every curriculum, from kindergarten to university. However, the program is ineffective since these principles are not applicable in the social environment. As a result, students see no purpose in these materials except to know them well so they could obtain a decent academic record and remain competitive in the job market. Furthermore, “even party functionaries no longer take ideological work seriously, and few are interested in this specialty as a career.” The character of legitimation crisis has also surfaced besides the presence of rationality crisis. Legitimation crisis is “a discrepancy between the need for motives declared by the state and the motivation supplied by socio-cultural system.” As “harmonious society” (hexie shehui) and scientific development” continues to serve as current watchwords for CCP, they appears to be oxymoronic. The concept of harmonious society is drawn upon Confucius values, whereas the concept of scientific development aroused mainly from Deng Xiao Ping Theory, which is an emphasis on economic stability. The rationality and legitimation crisis which CCP now encounters “can be explained in terms of the antinomy between rationality and reasonableness, or between scientism and moralism. This antinomy seems to be the most visible obstacle and the most controversial policy of Chinese education.”
Another critical argument for CCP’s decaying normative authority is the corruption of government officials and therefore creating a devastating effect on the Party’s goal on rebuilding moral order. “Since the 16th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, more than 100 minster- and provincial-level officials were sentenced for corruption, an unprecedented number, according to statistics released by the Supreme Procuratorate. In 2005, 47,206 officials were...
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