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date: 22 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Chinese political leadership has been transformed from a generation of revolutionaries under Mao Zedong to a generation of economic reformers under Deng Xiaoping, and further to a generation of technocrats under Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. For Mao and Deng, ideologies were vital in political terms. For Jiang and Hu, policies are more important. Scholars of Chinese political leadership have employed various research methods such as case studies and statistical analyses to study individual leaders and groups of elites from different angles. Their research has resulted in a large body of knowledge on Chinese political leadership but has in the meantime also generated a lot of controversies with significant practical implications. Future scholars should not only continue to pay attention to political leaders at the central and provincial levels but also break new grounds on studies of government and party officials at lower levels as well as of transfers between business sectors and political offices. They would contribute to the development of the subfield if they could better conceptualize a factionalism model and find more relevant empirical indicators.

Keywords: Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, winner-takes-all, power balancing, factional politics

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