Remaking the CCP’s Ideology: Determinants, Progress, and Limits under Hu Jintao

Heike Holbig

Abstract


Two decades after the predicted “end of ideology”, we are observing a re-emphasis on party ideology under Hu Jintao. The paper looks into the reasons for and the factors shaping the re-formulation of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ideology since 2002 and assesses the progress and limits of this process. Based on the analysis of recent elite debates, it is argued that the remaking of ideology has been the consequence of perceived challenges to the legitimacy of CCP rule. Contrary to many Western commentators, who see China’s successful economic performance as the most important if not the only source of regime legitimacy, Chinese party theorists and scholars have come to regard Deng Xiaoping’s formula of performance-based legitimacy as increasingly precarious. In order to tackle the perceived “performance dilemma” of party rule, the adaptation and innovation of party ideology is regarded as a crucial measure to relegitimize CCP rule.

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