The Chongqing Model – Analyzing Regional Politics Since 2007
This book is concerned with a recent political campaign in the Chinese municipality of Chongqing. The former secretary of the Communist Party in Chongqing, Bo Xilai, rose to fame with his “Chongqing Model” of politics. In this campaign he combined a revival of communist propaganda with a heavy handed anti-corruption drive and several social policies. Before his spectacular dismissal in spring 2012, Bo Xilai was thought to be one of the future leaders of China. His policies had earned him a strong reputation among common and less well-off people. The “New Left”, a faction within Chinese society and within the Communist Party had elevated him to be their flag bearer and was hoping for his policies to be enacted nationwide. The progressive, “right” faction denounced the approach as a return to Maoism and a new Cultural Revolution. This book is the attempt to shed light on the real content of the “Chongqing Model”.
This work analyzes the campaigns enacted in Chongqing between 2007 and 2012, especially focusing on the propaganda and anti-corruption aspects. Using quantitative as well as qualitative methods it tries to decipher the messages and narratives being used, the possible intentions and likely consequences for the national policy environment. After Bo Xilai became the center of the biggest political scandal to shake China since the Tiananmen Incident in 1989, a thorough analysis and understanding of his work in Chongqing is more needed than ever. The factional struggle within the Communist Party is far from over and the recently appointed new leadership will likely have to incorporate many of the “New Left” approaches in order to stabilize Chinese society and keep the party in power. Understanding this mechanism and revealing how the patterns of propaganda, social grievances and the one-party state fit together, is what this book aims to achieve: Understanding the “Chongqing Model” means understanding modern Chinese politics.