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Authoritarian deliberation : the deliberative turn in Chinese political development
journal contributionposted on 01.06.2011, 00:00 authored by Baogang HeBaogang He, M Warren
Authoritarian rule in China is now permeated by a wide variety of deliberative practices. These practices combine authoritarian concentrations of power with deliberative influence, producing the apparent anomaly of authoritarian deliberation. Although deliberation is usually associated with democracy, they are distinct phenomena.Democracy involves the inclusion of individuals in matters that affect them through distributions of empowerments such as votes and rights. Deliberation is a mode of communication involving persuasion-based influence. Combinations of non-inclusive power and deliberative influence—authoritarian deliberation— are readily identifiable in China, probably reflecting failures of command authoritarianism under the conditions of complexity and pluralism produced by market-oriented development. The concept of authoritarian deliberation frames two possible trajectories of political development in China: the increasing use of deliberative practices stabilizes and strengthens authoritarian rule, or deliberative practices serve as a leading edge of democratization.