University of Southern California
USC
spacer
home
about
news & features
calendar
china @ usc
resources
k 12 curriculum
contact
admin home
spacer
USC US-China Institute
youtube facebook twitter itunes weibo
spacer spacer spacer
Skip Navigation Linkshome calendar varieties of authoritarianism: comparing china and russia spacer Highlights
 
export to outlook

Varieties of Authoritarianism: Comparing China and Russia

USCI presents a talk with Thomas Bernstein.

02/10/2011 4:00PM - 5:30PM

USC Davidson Conference Center, Figueroa A & B, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free

China and Russia share traits common to authoritarian regimes: Both subordinate the rule of law to the interests of the top leaders in staying in power; both violate human rights; both, corruption is ubiquitous; and in both there is a powerful nexus between business and the state. 

The two states differ, however, in that Russia under Presidents Putin and Medvedev is a “hybrid” authoritarian regime, because of the presence of democratic institutions, such as competitive parties and multiparty elections. These are, to be sure, greatly restricted, but they are also not a facade. They are important because they suggest that in principle norms of democracy are accepted, meaning that there is a possibility, however remote at this time, of movement towards fuller democracy. In contrast, China’s authoritarian rulers disavow any intentions to move towards democracy as understood in the West, in Taiwan, Japan, or India. Their concept of democracy is essentially consultative. At the same time, China’s authoritarian rule is “soft” in some ways and in others it is “hard.” 

Another crucial difference is that, in contrast to Russia, China’s rulers derive legitimacy from their highly successful developmental efforts, which, if anything, have strengthened  Party rule. In Russia, large parts of the state bureaucracy and of business are oriented towards the extraction of resources rather than towards development.       


**************

Thomas Bernstein earned his doctorate at Columbia University. He taught at Yale and Indiana universities before returning to Columbia in 1975. He taught there for the next three decades.  He is a specialist on comparative politics, with a focus on China as well as on communist systems generally. Comparative studies include  analysis  of the collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union and China and of the two famines that each country experienced in the l930s and late l950s. Work on China includes Up to the Mountains and Down to the Villages: The Transfer of Youth from Urban to Rural China (1977) as well as book chapters on the Mao era, on growth without liberalization, democratization, and on education. Most of his recent writings have focused on various aspects of state-peasant relations in China’s reform period. Together with Professor Xiaobo Lu, he co-authored Taxation without Representation in Contemporary Rural China (2003). He also wrote a case study for the PEW Intitiative in Diplomatic Training, “The Negotiations to Normalize US-China Relations” (1988). He recently co-edited (with Huayi Li) China Learns from the Soviet Union, 1949-Present. He serves on the editorial boards of Comparative Politics, China Quarterly, and China: An International Journal.

Contact: USC U.S. - China Institute
Phone: 213-821-4382
Email: uschina@usc.edu

Sponsor(s): USC U.S. - China Institute

The USCI calendar is provided as a public service for those interested in U.S.-China relations and developments in China. For non-USC events, please check with event sponsors for additional event details.

spacer
Click here for the Support pages.
Click here for the US-China Today web magazine. USCI's magazine offers feature articles, voices, and daily news updates.
Click here for the Asia Pacific Arts web magazine. Exploring the dynamic worlds of Asian pop culture.
upcoming events
recent articles
most popular
Newsletter
To receive regular updates on events and programs, please subscribe to USCI’s free email newsletter. We will not share your name or email address with any other entity.
Sample Newsletter   |   Sign Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

arrow Login
 
Annenberg Copyright © 2007 - 2014
USC U.S.-China Institute
University of Southern California
contact us contact us