Cover: The Distribution of Power among Military and Civil Interest Groups in China, 1956-1971

The Distribution of Power among Military and Civil Interest Groups in China, 1956-1971

Published 1973

by William W. Whitson


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Analyzes Chinese politics in terms of competition among elite interest groups, or factions of the leadership. Power shifts are deduced from personnel shifts in governing positions. Individuals holding the 1400 most powerful positions in China (400 military, 1000 civil) during four specific periods were compared by field army affiliation, geographic region, Korean War participation, service branch/Ministry, function, and Party generation. More than 90 percent joined the party before 1941. The pre-1928 elders predominate in civil posts, and the second generation (June 1928-November 1931 entry) in military slots. Changes from late 1971 to October 1972 accentuated this generational difference: predominantly older generals and younger Party secretaries disappeared. Despite analysts' theories of civil/military conflict, 40 percent of top civilian jobs were held by military men in 1971, slightly fewer in 1972. Regionalism gained strength, while field army factions lost. The outcome of China's authority crisis remains in doubt.

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