Cadre System in China’s Ethnic Minority Regions: A Contributor to Tensions in Local Public Relations?

The cadre system in China is an institution designed to reduce human error and improve efficiency during the policy design and implementation process. The research question of this paper is: what are the impacts of the cadre system since the early 2000s on the government–public relations in China’s ethnic minority regions, particularly in the TAR? Applying selective implementation theory and incorporating qualitative research method, this paper draws a picture of the complex influence of the institution on cadres’ decision making at work. It argues that flaws in the recruitment, evaluation, term of office and ethnic minority cadre arrangements have actively and passively encouraged controversial cadre behaviours. Together with the historical, political and demographic conditions in the TAR, the cadre system has, at times, become a problem rather than the solution to the government–public relations.


Dr Zhao obtained her PhD in politics and governance in the Asia Pacific from the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2018. She is a specialist on ethnic policy making and implementation processes in China with a particular focus on the ethnic Tibetan areas. Dr Zhao’s research interests also includes central-local government relations, think-tank competition, regional government collaboration and agency coordination in China.



The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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