This book examines the relationship between the Communist political elite and the largely anti-Communist intellectual elite during the decade of reform (1977-1989). The author, who was a participant in these events, shows how the Deng Xiaoping regime precipitated a legitimacy crisis by encouraging economic reform while preventing political reform, and how the intellectual elite used this situation to increase its own power. The book also offers a theoretical model to explain how a political resistance movement could gain power in a nation that does not have a well-developed civil society. The concept of 'institutional parasitism' shows that rather than developing separate institutions, the anti-Communist intellectuals occupied state structures from which oppositional activity was carried out. The book will be of interest to both scholars of China and students of comparative Communism.
"...an impressive book. It is both well-written and well-structured. It is also a work of true scholarship, and constitutes a largely successful blend of deep theorizing and detailed empiricism. His appendix on methodology is refreshingly honest and sensitive." Leslie Holmes, American Political Science Review "...addresses one of the most important issues in contemporary China...Ding's analysis is intriguing and should be seriously examined. It is a refreshing rejoinder to the often simplistic and culturally narrow concept of 'civil society' recently used in examining the origins of Spring 1989...engrossing reading." Lawrence Sullivan, China Journal "There have been several good studies done recently on political elites in post-Mao China. This book is a valuble contribution to this growing literature ... Ding's work is groundbreaking. It documents in great detail how the counterelites in China have gone about their work and is a significant contribution to the study of behavior." Steven J. Hood, China Review International