From revolutionary regime to normal governance: China's long march toward political reform

James Hsiung

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The author analyzes the post-2003 transformation of China from a revolutionary Communist regime into one of "normal governance" (a term Premier Wen Jiabao coined in 2003), placing the change in a comparative framework pioneered by Crane Brinton in his monumental study of the four classic revolutions (French, English, American, and Bolshevik). Crane Brinton found a universal pattern that he called the Thermidorean reaction, a surprisingly early return to normalcy. In borrowed medical language, he likened it to convalescence following the fever of the crisis stage of revolution. However, it is difficult to identify this stage in the Chinese Revolution. The author traces the long, convoluted course of the Chinese Revolution through four generations of leadership, from Mao Zedong to Deng Xiaoping to Jiang Zemin to Hu Jintao, to identify the start of the Thermidorean reaction in China.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)29-45
    Number of pages17
    JournalAsian Affairs
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Apr 1 2009


    • Dengist legacy
    • Marketized economy
    • Normal governance
    • Revolution from above
    • Socialism with Chinese Characteristics
    • Socialist harmony
    • Thermidorean reaction

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Political Science and International Relations
    • Law


    Dive into the research topics of 'From revolutionary regime to normal governance: China's long march toward political reform'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this