Political Mobility of County Leaders in China: The Case of Jiangsu

Bo Zhiyue

Abstract


Though Studies of China’s political elites have made substantial gains since the 1990s, most of the existing literature on local Chinese leadership has concentrated on provincial leaders, and few have attempted to analyze local leaders at lower levels. There are even fewer studies on China’s county leaders, a group of cadres that manage about 3,000 county-level units in China. This paper attempts to serve as a prolegomenon to the study of China’s county leaders as a group. It begins with a survey of cadres in a top-down approach and see how far up a county leader can go in the Chinese political system. It then focuses on a case study of county leaders in one coastal province, Jiangsu, in both a top-down approach and a bottom-up approach. It draws some tentative conclusions from this case study and highlights some issues for further investigation.

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