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Political and Social Control in China »

The Consolidation of Single-Party Rule

Publication date: 2024
During the past decade Xi Jinping has reasserted the Chinese Communist Party’s dominance of state and society, tightening political and social controls to consolidate the Party’s monopoly on political power in China. This volume brings leading China experts together to examine the changing mechanics of authoritarian rule in China, and the Party’s systematic efforts to neutralise potential threats. The book examines critical but little understood changes to the architecture of state, which enables more effective top-down rule and the efficient operation of an increasingly professional bureaucracy. It also explores the policies and mechanisms the Party has used to squash dissent and prevent criticisms. This volume will be of interest to anyone who wants to understand how the CCP has consolidated its rule at home and how it relates to the Party’s global ambitions for China’s great national rejuvenation.

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Australian Urban Policy »

Prospects and Pathways

Edited by: Robert Freestone, Bill Randolph, Wendy Steele
Publication date: 2024
Urban Australia confronts numerous challenges in the 21st century: climate change, housing, transport, greenspace, social inequality, and governance, among them. While state and local governments wrestle with these issues, they are continent wide and require national leadership, direction and participation. As a highly urbanised country without a national approach to urban policy, Australia is an outlier. Contributors to this book argue that that this policy gap needs to be addressed. They ask: How have productive, sustainable and liveable cities so far been enhanced? Where have aspirations fallen short or produced negative outcomes? And what approaches are emerging to challenge existing and devise new urban policy settings? In the face of ongoing crises and escalating change, the need for policy to quickly transform urban Australia is daunting. Problems, wicked in their complexity, require innovative, ethical solutions. This book offers new ideas that challenge policy orthodoxy.

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Redeveloping China’s Villages in the Twenty-First Century »

The Dilemmas of Policy Implementation

Authored by: Lior Rosenberg
Publication date: January 2024
Implementing national policies is a crucial function of the local Chinese bureaucracy and an indispensable part of Beijing’s overall state capacity. Yet the specifics of how and why local officials interpret and implement such policies have so far escaped detailed attention. In Redeveloping China’s Villages in the Twenty-First Century, Lior Rosenberg fills this gap by examining the national Village Redevelopment Program, one of China’s most significant policies of recent decades to promote rural change. Based on Rosenberg’s on-site research, Redeveloping China’s Villages in the Twenty-First Century investigates the Village Redevelopment Program’s implementation in both the industrialised county of Chenggu, in Shandong province, and the predominantly agricultural county of Beian, in Anhui province. At the book’s heart is a puzzle: the program was supposed to prioritise poorer villages, but in both Chenggu and Beian—despite being carried out in surprisingly divergent ways—it has subsidised improved infrastructure and services in already industrialised and prosperous villages, while leaving behind poorer ones. In explaining this outcome, Rosenberg elaborates on the larger economic, political and social environment in which Chinese local officials operate, as well as the pressures they face from above. He analyses the dual role played by higher-level authorities, as both policy enablers and thwarters in a system that sanctifies commandism but where the distinction between principals and agents is blurred.

Made in China Journal: Volume 8, Issue 1, 2023 »

Publication date: November 2023
The year 2023 began with a series of jolts in China, as the government abruptly rolled back its notoriously strict pandemic measures following countrywide protests in late 2022. While external popular perceptions saw China as being uniformly locked down for the first years of the pandemic, the reality was that the country’s pandemic governance was unevenly applied and varied substantially from place to place. The result was mixed—and often even contradictory—attempts to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2, with vastly differentiated experiences on the ground. While heterogeneous and fragmented governance in China is nothing new—and indeed is the basis of how most scholars understand policy implementation in the country—the pandemic nevertheless produced patterns of governance that were at times surprising, while also reinforcing previous trends. This issue of the Made in China Journal examines patterns of pandemic governance and the subjectivities associated with living through lockdown and the ever-present possibility of quarantine.

Adapting for Inertia »

Delivering Large Government ICT Projects in Australia and New Zealand

Authored by: Grant Douglas
Publication date: October 2023
Despite much learning and research over many decades, large ICT software projects have continued to experience poor outcomes or fallen short of original expectations—some spectacularly so. This is the case in the Australian and New Zealand public sectors, even though these projects operate within historically developed institutional frameworks that provide the rules, guidelines and controls, and aim to consistently improve outcomes. Something is amiss. In Adapting for Inertia, Grant Douglas questions the effectiveness of these institutional frameworks in governing large ICT software projects in the Australian and New Zealand public sectors. He also gauges the perspectives of a large number of actors in projects in both sectors and examines two case studies in detail. The main narrative to emerge is that the institutional frameworks are in a state of inertia: they are failing to adapt, owing to various institutional factors—all of which have public policy implications. Sadly, Douglas finds, this inertia is likely to continue. If there is difficulty in changing the capacity to govern, he proposes, policymakers should look to change the nature of what is to be governed.

Dilemmas in Public Management in Greater China and Australia »

Rising Tensions but Common Challenges

Publication date: July 2023
This book draws on more than a decade of workshops organised by the Greater China Australia Dialogue on Public Administration, involving scholars and practitioners from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia. Although these workshops recognised the major differences in the institutional frameworks of these jurisdictions, until recently they focused largely on the shared challenges and the diffusion of ideas and approaches. As rising international tensions inevitably draw attention to areas where interests and philosophies diverge, it is the differences that must now be highlighted. Yet, despite the tensions, this book reveals that these jurisdictions continue to address shared challenges in public administration. The book’s contributors focus in detail on these four areas: intergovernmental relations, including the shifting balance between centralisation and decentralisation budgeting and financial management, including during and after the COVID-19 pandemic the civil service, its capability, and its relationship with government and the public service delivery, particularly in health and aged care. This book is aimed at a wide readership, not only at those within the jurisdictions it explores. It emphasises the importance of continued engagement in understanding different approaches to public administration—confirming fundamental philosophical differences where necessary but also looking for common ground and opportunities for shared learning.

Chains »

Edited by: Linda Jaivin, Esther Sunkyung Klein, Annie Luman Ren
Publication date: July 2023
Speaking to the Twentieth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, in October 2022, President Xi Jinping reiterated his commitment to the ‘opening up’ policy of his predecessors — a policy that has burnished the party’s political legitimacy among its citizens by enabling four decades of economic development. Yet, for all the talk of openness, 2022 was a year of both literal and symbolic locks and chains — including, of course, the long, coercive, and often brutally enforced lockdowns of neighbourhoods and cities across China, most prominently Shanghai. Then there was a vlogger’s accidental discovery of the ‘woman in chains’, sparking an anguished, nationwide conversation about human trafficking. That was part of a broader (if frequently censored) conversation about gendered violence and women’s rights, in a year when women’s representation at the highest levels of power, which was already minimal, decreased even further. There was trouble with supply chains and, with the Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis, in August, island chains as well. Despite the tensions in the Asia-Pacific, the People’s Republic of China expanded its diplomatic initiatives among Pacific island nations and celebrated fifty years of diplomatic links with both Japan and Australia. As the year drew to a close, a tragic fire in a locked-down apartment building in Ürümqi triggered a series of popular protests that brought an end to three years of ‘zero COVID’. The China Story Yearbook: Chains provides informed perspectives on these and other important stories from 2022.

Navigating Prosperity and Security in East Asia »

Publication date: May 2023
The world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, are locked in a trade war, complicating policy choices internationally. These choices are sharper for the countries of East and Southeast Asia than they are elsewhere, because the multilateral rules-based economic order on which East Asian economic integration and cooperation is built is under threat. Economic policy has never been separate from security considerations. For decades, the national security risks inherent in economic exchange have been mitigated under a US-led system that allowed the strengthening of economic ties, including between China and the rest of the world. But economics and security are increasingly entangled in a way that is damaging to both, creating a dangerous trade-off. Now, as global uncertainties grow, the risks of international exchange—rather than its benefits—are beginning to dominate the calculus for some policymakers. Against this backdrop, how can Southeast Asian countries and US allies in Asia balance their security interests and their economic interests? And how can these countries, individually and collectively, broaden their policy options and deepen economic integration? This volume investigates the domestic and international dimensions of these questions.

More Than Fiscal »

The Intergenerational Report, Sustainability and Public Policy in Australia

Publication date: May 2023
Every five years, the Australian treasurer is required to publish an intergenerational report (IGR), which examines the long-term sustainability of current government policies and seeks to determine how demographic, technological and other structural trends might affect the economy and the budget in coming decades. Despite these lofty objectives, the five IGRs produced from 2002 have received only muted applause. Critics say that they are too mechanical, too narrow and too subject to the views of the government of the day and that they don’t provide the intended wake-up call for public understanding of looming economic, social and environmental issues. This analysis of the most recent IGR (2021) is based on a workshop hosted by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. While finding that the 2021 IGR is an improvement on the previous report (2015), the authors identify several fiscal and broader policy issues that deserve greater attention, including Australia’s structural deficit, rising inequality and the impacts of climate change. They argue that the report fails to discuss the policies required to support greater resilience against future shocks, including the case for earlier budget repair. They propose that future IGRs be prepared with greater independence, cover all levels of government, have more transparent analysis and draw upon a wider ‘wellbeing’ approach to long-term sustainability. This book aims to attract close attention from public officials and politicians and generate constructive debate in the community.

Made in China Journal: Volume 7, Issue 2, 2022 »

Publication date: December 2022
In 2020, Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping pledged to ‘transition to a green and low-carbon mode of development’, as well as to ‘peak the country’s CO2 emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060’. Xi’s pledge offered a tangible example of what has come to be known as the ecological civilisation (生态文明)—the idea of engineered harmony between humans and nature that was recently incorporated into the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. But what kind of engineering is required for sustainable transitions at this scale and pace? Through which political concepts and technical practices could such a harmonious rebalancing of China’s resource-devouring development be envisioned and achieved? This issue of the Made in China Journal addresses these questions by borrowing political theorist John Dryzek’s rereading of the Greek myth of Prometheus. Inspired by the story of a demigod who stole the technology of fire for the sole purpose of human advancement, Prometheanism describes an eco-modernist orientation that perceives the Earth as a resource whose utility is determined primarily by human needs and interests and whose environmental problems are overcome through continuous political and technological innovation. In contrast with other environmental perspectives, Prometheanism prioritises human interests and needs over those of ecosystems or the individual needs of other lifeforms. Through this framework, we asked our contributors to offer their takes on the following questions: To what extent can Xi’s dream of an ecological civilisation be understood in terms of techno-optimism and the anthropocentrism that characterise Prometheanism? What price is China paying in its effort to transition towards a heavily engineered ‘sustainable’ market utopia?
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