Rejuvenating Communism

Youth Organizations and Elite Renewal in Post-Mao China

Subjects: Asian Studies, China, Political Science, Political Behavior and Public Opinion
Open Access : 9780472902941, 206 pages, 9 illustrations, 6 tables, 6 x 9, February 2023
Paperback : 9780472055579, 206 pages, 9 illustrations, 6 tables, 6 x 9, February 2023
Hardcover : 9780472075577, 206 pages, 9 illustrations, 6 tables, 6 x 9, February 2023

Open access version made available with the support of The Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies (LRCCS)
See expanded detail +

How the Chinese party-state attracts young officials to renew its elite

Table of contents

List of Figures
List of Tables

Chapter 1: Introduction
    Overview of the Argument
    Political Youth Organizations in Contemporary China
    Seeing like a Young Cadre
Chapter 2: Becoming a Student Cadre
    Student cadres at the center of the student-management apparatus
    Commitment is rewarded

Chapter 3: Student Leaders as a Rogue Minority
    Student leaders’ narrowing social circles
    Cultivating their Party Spirit
    The “bureaucratization” of student cadres

Chapter 4: Sponsorship Networks in Elite Universities
    Clientelism at Peking University
Chains of sponsorship ties in elite universities    
An elite within the elite: the political career of student leaders from Peking University and Tsinghua University

Chapter 5: Starting a Political Career on Campus
The Counselor System    
Counselors as officials in training
Starting a political career outside the university

Chapter 6: Youth League Officials as Future Party-state Leaders
The perfect reserve cadres    
Cultivating a role as leaders-to-be

Chapter 7: Towards a Diffuse Allegiance to the Party-State
Each posting entails diverse personal ties
Turnover and the multiplication of personal networks

Conclusion: Commitment and Allegiance



Working for the administration remains one of the most coveted career paths for young Chinese. Rejuvenating Communism: Youth Organizations and Elite Renewal in Post-Mao China seeks to understand what motivates young and educated Chinese to commit to a long-term career in the party-state and how this question is central to the Chinese regime’s ability to maintain its cohesion and survive. Jérôme Doyon draws upon extensive fieldwork and statistical analysis in order to illuminate the undogmatic commitment recruitment techniques and other methods the state has taken to develop a diffuse allegiance to the party-state in the post-Mao era. He then analyzes recruitment and political professionalization in the Communist Party’s youth organizations and shows how experiences in the Chinese Communist Youth League transform recruits and feed their political commitment as they are gradually inducted into the world of officials. As the first in-depth study of the Communist Youth League’s role in recruitment, this book challenges the assumption that merit is the main criteria for advancement within the party-state, an argument with deep implications for understanding Chinese politics today.

Jérôme Doyon is a China Public Policy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ash Center of Harvard Kennedy School.

"Doyon has produced a first-rate study that not only offers a persuasive conceptual framework on how the Party renews itself through a complex system of youth recruitment and retention, but also raises thought-provoking questions on some of the key contentious issues in Chinese elite politics." 
The China Quarterly

- Stanley Rosen