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Seckington, Ian Mark (2001) Policy-making in the PRC: A study of the variations in decision-making across three issue areas; 1969-1978. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis examines the policy-making process in the People's Republic of China (PRC) between 1969 and 1978. By undertaking a study of three issue areas (agriculture, foreign policy and higher education), this thesis challenges many of the conclusions of earlier single-issue or broad band studies of the decision-making process in the PRC which failed to generate sufficiently detailed information to allow comparisons to be made regarding policy-making across issue areas. his thesis highlights variations in the decision-making process which suggest that the pattern of decision-making in each of the three issue areas under study appears to be independent of most of the developments in the other fields. Policy-making in each area appears to follow its own internal logic such that a radical upsurge in one field is not necessarily matched by a similar upsurge in either, or one of, the other areas. Furthermore, the influence of the various groups competing over policy also appears to vary, both across each area and with time. So, for example, the radical Left dominated higher education policy from 1969 to their purge in 1976, but had little influence over foreign policy during this period. his study suggest that the fundamental reason for these variations is that the senior Party leadership, and in particular Mao Zedong, made an assessment as to the possible consequences of failure for radical policies in each of the three issue areas, and that where the cost was seen as too great, the radical influence was restricted and a more pragmatic line adopted. So, for example, this research shows that throughout this period agriculture was characterised by a cyclical pattern whereby radical policies were curtailed during Spring and Autumn, periods of peak activity for agriculture. Similarly, radical activity in the foreign affairs system was stopped following the threat of a possible war with the Soviet Union in 1969.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:16

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