The selectivity and consequences of Chinese crisis management: Consolidated authoritarian capitalism as a new brand of political regime?

HAN Sang-jin

Seoul National University


LÜ Peng

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences



“Welcome to the People’s Republic of China,” declares a Chinese officer as he crisply salutes a flood of refugees from all over the world who fled to Tibet as their homes were destroyed by an end-of-time deluge. It is a line that thrilled thousands of Chinese filmgoers who  voted writer-director Roland Emmerich’s latest blockbuster “2012” the most popular Hollywood film in China. The plot panders to Chinese audiences: the giant Arks that will save humanity are both made and landed in China. When the apocalypse comes, China will save the world. At least that’s how Chinese audiences interpret this movie. For the first time that anyone can remember a Hollywood disaster movie has cast the Chinese as significant beneficial force.

The aim of this chapter is to explore some salient characteristics in the Chinese pattern of crisis management to see why China has been so successful in economic development that even a Hollywood movie  alludes that it might save the world from its economic woes in the wake of the global financial crisis; the Chinese themselves seem to be more confident after the global economic downturn. Of course, it is an exaggeration to say that China will save the world economy, but it seems quite certain that it is making a significant contribution to that end. In order to discover why we would like to focus on the specific selectivity embodied in the rules of crisis management by the party-state of China and the consequences of the institutionalized selectivity. However, the ultimate goal of the analysis is not to simply present this success as a positive development but also consider it as a possible   threat to the future of China. In this connection we want to bring up the issue of democracy[1] and citizens’ participation as important issues to be adequately addressed. For this purpose we shall examine the attitudes of Chinese elites towards democracy before and in the wake of the current financial crisis.


[1] By saying democracy, we refer to a system wherein top political leaders are selected via free and fair elections. If one accepts this thin definition, China is definitely not a democratic regime.


Download Link: Chapter 8_The selectivity and consequences of Chinese crisis management