Fascist Government Structures and Ideology in China’s Political System

Prof John Fitzgerald1, Dr Egas Moniz Bandeira2, Dr Clemens Büttner3, Prof Eva Pils4

1Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia, 2Autonomous University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain, 3Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany, 4King’s College London, London, United Kingdom

Chair: Dr Clemens Büttner

Overview:

Ever since the onset of Deng Xiaoping’s “reform and opening” policies, the ideological core of the Chinese Communist Party’s regime has become blurred. Accordingly, by defining the regime as “(fragmented) authoritarian,” “(post)-totalitarian,” etc., recent explanatory models have shifted their focus away from ideology and towards the structural properties of the CCP regime. However, since ideology has long been a driving force of Chinese politics, a model that allows for a simultaneous explanation of the structural and ideological features of China’s current regime is preferable. By arguing for the applicability of fascist theory on the Chinese case (in past and present), this panel offers such a model.

In order to make this argument, the papers in this panel address the following topics: By focusing on Chinese debates about democracy and dictatorship from 1930 to 1945, Egas Moniz Bandeira highlights the fascist strand of modern Chinese political thinking. Clemens Büttner argues that the Chinese regimes of the 1930s and 2010s each turned to fascism to respond to imminent system crises, and based on Ernst Fraenkel’s analysis of Nazi Germany, Eva Pils argues that the Chinese party-state under Xi Jinping bears the marks of a “dual state” – and promotes its precepts abroad.

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