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By S. Breslin

China within the international Political economic system considers some of the most urgent problems with the Twenty-First century: the connection among household configurations of strength and globalized construction techniques in shaping the method and implications of China's re-engagement with the worldwide economy.

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43 1999) in an attempt to build a legal rational basis of legitimacy. And after their assumption of the top positions in the leadership in 2003, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao attempted to present the CCP as a more listening party with a more open democratic system in yet another attempt to reinvent the bases of party power and secure a degree of legal rational legitimacy. But while the party continually stresses the importance of building democracy (but not liberal democracy) as one of its key tasks, three much more important pillars of party legitimacy have emerged to maintain party rule and the privileged societal position of party members.

To the second, we can add Sassen’s (1999: 159) argument that effects of economic globalisation often ‘materialize in national territories’ and that ‘the strategic spaces where global processes are embedded are often national; the mechanisms through which new legal forms, necessary for globalization, are implemented are often part of national state institutions’ (Sassen 1999: 167). Following Sassen, then, we need to investigate the impact of globalisation on the institutional balance of power within China’s governmental structures.

But while this vision of China seems to dominate popular perceptions, and has considerable purchase in some policy making arenas, there is a strong alternative understanding which sees China not as a global economic powerhouse, but instead in a position of dependency ‘in the classical sense used by the Latin American economists in the 1950s’ (Nolan 2003: 24), with a political system in crisis having reached the ‘limits of developmental autocracy’ (Pei 2002, 2006) and on the verge of an internal collapse (Chang 2002) that only a miracle can postpone (Naím 2003).

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