China in the 1980s: Centre-Province Relations in a Reforming by Shaun Gerard Breslin (auth.)

By Shaun Gerard Breslin (auth.)

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This will be particularly important when a province's local interests impinge on those of the nation as a whole. For example, the appointment of the former chief engineer in the Ministry of Coal, Wang Senhao, as governor of Shanxi Province represented an attempt to facilitate the exploitation of Shanxi's coal reserves for national economic development (Breslin, 1989, pp. 146-7). Wang had no previous experience of provincial administration, but was aware of the importance of ensuring a steady and cheap supply of coal from Shanxi to China's major industrial centres (and also for export).

Furthermore, Manion's (1992, p. 241) analysis of the cadre retirement system in China found that due to the sheer number of central changes being implemented at the same time, policy objectives tended to conflict with each other. In addition, policy changes were often announced and passed down to lower levels without clear objectives. This not so much allows provincial leaders leeway in policy implementation, but forces them to prioritize, interpret 30 China in the 1980s and implement as best as they see fit.

As party-state functions are so intertwined, it is natural that party officials spend the majority of their time dealing with local economic concerns rather than concerning themselves with the type of party work that would bind them to the party organization: the party organization of each place.. . will directly command local government and economic activities and very likely become the party of that place. . Consequently, the party of Zhejiang represents the interests of Zhejiang, that of Fujian the interests of Fujian, and that of a county the interests of that county.

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