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Mandate of Heaven in Chinese Politics

Legitimacy in Chinese politics

The state of legitimacy formulates a theory of domination that is an essential aspect of China’s history. The patterns and history of legitimacy shaped Chinese politics. The citizens of the country comply when they are subjected to brutal coercion from the government. Such brutality entails high resistance, low efficiency, and increased cost of surveillance. The state needs to generate genuine cooperation to make the state power look legitimate to the rulers and those ruled. Legitimacy is a belief engraved to the led that the political institutions that have been formed are the best consensus that revolves around the right to rule (Goldstein). The Mandate of Heaven is a rational feature that conceptualizes the base of human compliance and the sociological matrix. A charismatic legitimacy must have the qualities set as administrative principles and judicial logarithm. Therefore, a state must ensure that they have the pragmatic outlook of the theorized revolution that their citizens thrive on seeing as a reality.

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State legitimacy became necessary when the Western Zhou Dynasty came to formalize performance legitimacy. The fundamental change in Chinese history began in the 20th century. The dimensions of legitimacy as posed by the performance analogy wan not centralized during the Shang Dynasty compared to Western Zhou or later dynasties. The people of Shang used to worship a plethora of nature gods, Heaven, Di (high god), and ancestors. The Shang used to see the rulers as the high god and people with divine power (Goldstein). Such people practiced divination by channeling their communication links with religious forces in every decision they made. Charismatic and traditional forms of legitimacy dominated the Shang state. However, the Zhou people eliminated Shang Dynasty in the 11th century. Western Zhou had about 65,000 people before the Shang conquest, and their military had a less internal conflict. Shang military had more internal conflicts hence making them weaker. The Shang Dynasty, together despite their weak army, was the constant threat posed to the Zhou by the Shang aristocrats and their ambitious family members.

The Zhou leaders improvised dictation styles and historical circumstances that exerted impactful pressure on Chinese history. The Mandate of Heaven (tian ming) concept justified the Zhou rule. According to Zhou Dynasty, the augmentation was that Shang rules had sacred bestowment from Heaven. Zhou posited that Heaven had passed the Mandate into Zhou Dynasty because the Shang had sinister leadership schemes (Goldstein). The Zhou Dynasty, at the time of the Mandate of Heaven, had assertions that they could conquer the Shang state because they had the Mandate from Heaven. The Shang people were promised sound treatment if they submitted to the Zhou rulers, and if they ceased, they would be punished severely. The Chinese people were attracted to the Mandate of Heaven because it had transparent propaganda that adequately synchronized with the purpose of the time. Zhou people promised to educate its citizens on the best ways of leading. Zhou Dynasty established the proclamation against wine drinking that had contributed to corruption cases and Shang’s downfall.

Zhou rulers realized that the Mandate of Heaven was precarious, and they knew the ideologies contained in its clauses would govern the state towards positivity. According to the Chinese political concept, the Mandate of Heaven was an essential ideology that the Zhou rulers created. The mandates drew their outlook from the earthly lessons and precedented a philosophical argument. As much as the Zhou Dynasty preached about the Mandate of Heaven, it emphasized proper conduct among men. The teachings were centered on Confucius’s realism during autumn and spring (Rashkova). The Warring States (480-221 BCE) canonized from a foundation of legitimacy in imperial China. The concepts contained in the Mandate of Heaven enabled China to conceptualize its traditions with humanity and rationalism. These concepts put china at par compared with divergent societies. The core ideology of the Mandate of Heaven was that a ruler should influence Heaven’s moral conduct no matter how their leadership skills are inadequate. When Heaven is not happy about a ruler, it will signal the state through the formation of a natural disaster. Natural disasters range from floods, earthquakes, drought, and epidemics. Before modernity, the legitimacy of the conditions was derived from divine sources as a structure for forming performance dimensions.

Chinese History Performance

Performance-based performance shaped people’s understanding of power in Chinese culture. Since the Western Han Dynasty, rulers’ views and the state society have shaped the empowerment of China’s economy. Chinese people became the most important thing that every ruler wanted to ensure was comfortable. When the ruler did not achieve their mandate well, they would lose the power to be their leader (Rashkova). The pressure of the society and the state at large put constraints on Chinese emperor roles because they were subjected to perform. An emperor needed to fulfill moral principles as prescribed in the Confucian teachings. The government had to function to meet government administration, lead a defensive state, abide by the public orders, be responsible for people’s welfare, control irrigation projects, construct roads, and provide relief during natural disasters. An emperor was subjected to many years of educational classics in the Confucian classes, calligraphy, and statecraft.

According to Confucian teachings, an emperor must be ready to take the consequences of tasks and take action. In China, an emperor should be willing to take charge of their activities and accept the faults of their responsibilities. Some self-accusations looked like edicts of propaganda, but the emperor would assume responsibility for legitimizing their performance. The citizens of China judged their ruler in terms of performance aspects (Rashkova). At times, disasters and famines were signs of unfit rule or insight about an evil ruler waiting for the following dynastic change. The mentality caused various rebellions to be experienced in China because their culture glorified the revoking of rulers deemed unfit due to natural circumstances.

Performance Legitimacy Politics after Mao

The arrival of Western imperialism wiped out China’s last dynasty. Between the 19th and the 20th century, China had sociopolitical transformations that saw Mao’s regime end. Despite outperforming Mao’s era, the rivals faced a state of legitimacy based on the Mandate of Heaven ideology. The Maoists used communist ideology, and charisma enabled the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to have blind faith. China had charismatic legitimacy and high ideological expectancy to the extent that Mao enjoyed the regime. However, the enjoyment came to an end when ChinaChina experienced a three-year famine (Rashkova). The famine period was between 1959 and 1961, and then a cultural revolution came between 1966 and 1976. Millions of Chinese citizens died during Mao’s era. During this period, people still believed in Mao’s regime, and they trusted that the tragedies were the necessary suffering needed to take them to paradise.

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The Chinese economy nearly collapsed after Mao’s death due to extreme impoverishment. This forced Deng Xiaoping to advocate for reforms in the state. The reforms entailed having the Chinese people have the right to access information. The ideology of these rights opened Chinese citizens’ rights, and it also made them shatter from trusting in Mao and CPP type of leadership. During Deng Xiaoping’s advocacy, the government of china evolved into a performance-based authoritarian regime from an ideology-based revolution. Mao’s regime shaped the transformation of state legitimacy and enabled the performance schedule legitimacy (Rashkova). The transitioning of people within the Chinese boundaries had mixed reactions government’s new regime. Some thought change was not meant for their culture, while others thought change was inevitable and suitable for their country.

Resistance Reemergence for Legitimacy

The resistance to legitimacy was met with a rough background. In 1980, reforms deepened, and the Chinese government advocated for an open door policy whereby everyone, including those from overseas, would account for the direction to be taken. The propaganda of superiority and state socialism was not persuading people that change is good. To curb the heat from the people, the government freed the political environment and advocated for free speech from the Chinese people. Deaths emanating from the famines, atrocities of the Cultural Revolution, and people who suffered during the Anti-Rightist Campaign became the new talk of the land. Many Chinese nationals stopped believing in communism, which led to the emergence of the criterion of state legitimacy in the mid-1980s. Many novels released in the mid-1980s became popular because they acted as the protagonist (Glanville). The change in state legitimacy and faith shifting did not affect the top echelons of Chinese dynasties.

When China started its reforms in the 1980s, many Chinese officials were revolutionary veterans that had joined CCP back in the 1920s. The veterans had fought many battles and seen many deaths of their loved ones. This experience made them contribute immensely to CPP idealisms. At the time of the reforms, the Chinese economy was poor as compared to Taiwan or South Korea. Most people attributed the poor economic outlook to Mao’s regime. Many of the veterans believed that communism would help the country to attain legitimacy. The discrepancy that exists between society and the state formed the basis of state legitimacy (Glanville). Chinese opened up, and people questioned the performance of Mao’s government. Some proposed that the country should employ Marxism interpretation to promulgate the nation. As much as the citizens were seen as people who would spearhead positivity, loyalists of the CPP saw their ideologies as logical hegemony. Many citizens were repressed because the CPP’s top officials believed that communist ideology was the best.

CPP top officials used ideological means to attack unorthodox political ventures. In 1983, the Anti-Spiritual Pollution Campaign and the Anti-Bourgeois Liberalization published articles that attacked the views of anti-Marxists. The reports provided insights to the Chinese nationals to study the pieces of propaganda brought by the state officials. The citizens glorified the articles because they no longer trusted communist ideologies. The attacks looked counterproductive, and the publishers were termed respected heroes (Glanville). The Chinese society teamed up, and the state-society deteriorated due to the tension that surrounded them. Inflation soared in 1980, and many Chinese officials became corrupt. The problems continually became gigantic, thereby forcing the economic vector of the nation to face declination. Urban china started political protests in 1989 with the pro-democracy movement making various twists that ended in bloody confrontations. The army and Beijing nationals fought, and many people died while others remained wounded.

In 1989, china experienced a decline in ideological legitimacy as many students also joined in challenging the morals of the economic terms. Since the historical background of the performance legitimacy had its roots rekindled in cultures, it forced a shift in state legitimacy. The student wanted the government to respond to the protests. They also wanted the government to prescribe to Chinese cultures. However, the government viewed the students as antagonistic beings because they were challenging the regime that had high morals of communist ideology (Zhao). The Chinese government resorted to canceling the authorities of various movements and controlling the legal dimensions of such groups. Some groups were silenced through a tight mode of securing what they termed as ensuring there is an authority in state legitimacy. The security enforcers confronted Beijing residents, and it led to a bloody fight. Both sides of the government and its citizens died in the process, while others ended up with serious wounds.

Post-1989 Legitimacy Revival

The military fights that happened in 1989 made the Chinese nationals have less confidence in their government, but it saved the regime. The top officials were aware that t would keep them but shatter certainty, and after the repression, they promoted Li Peng and Yao Yilin because they played critical roles in saving the regime. The CPP veterans also announced Zhu Rongji, Jiang Zemin, and Li Ruihuan in Beijing to high posts in the government (Zhao). Zhu and Jiang were party secretaries, while Li Ruihuan was a mayor in Tianjin. The promotions were meant to give the Chinese nationals hope after the repression happened. The government employed economic performance, moral performance, and defense of national interest to legitimize their rule. To sort out the students, the Chinese government embarked on initiating patriotic campaigns around university campuses in 1989. The goal of patriotism campaigns was to persuade students to support the government in spearheading national interest.

The younger generation assisted the government in raising nationalistic consciousness that helped it against the anti-United States and anti-Japanese protests. The nationalism limited the Chinese government from facing the autonomy of the foreign policies. It also distracted the CPP leadership from economic development. In 1990, the Chinese government shifted its interest from nationalism. Most veterans had passed on or retired by the late 1990s, which brought in a new wave of market-oriented ideology. This made the younger generation shift the state of legitimacy to economic performance (Rocca). During the reforms from the younger generation, the Chinese government welcomed unorthodox views to evade previous blunders. The use of police force was reduced, and public interest in economic empowerment became first on their schedule.

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The government remodeled performance-based legitimacy since top officials developed economic empowerment that was crucial in stabilizing state power. The government focused on market-oriented reforms and modes of preventing high inflation. Inflation affects people’s daily lives, and when the government focuses on evading it, the nation becomes an effective bureaucracy. Many top officials even started behaving like intellectuals to drive the country to a better future. For example, Zhao Ziyang, who was the general secretary of CPP, advocated for clean money. Zhao knew that corruption had long-term consequences, so he decided to revoke such ideologies within the government and its citizens. However, the market reforms in china widened between dynasties and the poor, thereby bringing tension. Many riots and protests made people shed a lot of blood. It was a significant embarrassment to the international community and the government’s top officials.

The CPP held the 4th Plenary Session in September 2004 to create a harmonious society. The session was to develop state policies that could help underprivileged Chinese nationals. For instance, China abolished agricultural taxes and provided farming subsidies. The government also implemented a one-child policy to regulate the population. It also launched the Western China Confucian culture to establish a socialist republic. The CPP congress is usually filled with slogans to boost anti-corruption, solve environmental problems, enhance harmony in society, and diminish any form of disparities that emanate from regional economics (Rocca). People are psyched up when such sessions are oriented towards their needs. The government gets minor riots during such reforms because some fundamental ideologies address and solve the Chinese problems. However, Hu Jintao constantly preaches the concept of Sinified Marxism. Sinified Marxism advocates for good governance, and According to Hu, the government can still do more to meet the Chinese requirements.

China’s Political Devolvement

The performance legitimacy pushes the top officials in China to work and have morals of leadership in the society. The perception of authoritarian regimes works less diligently for the people, and the political system has moved away from such ideologies. Everywhere the Chinese officials are, they look for ways of advancing their governance and improving their economy. The Mandate of Heaven has found new meaning as being superficially substantive. It has taken china literally 15 years to turn from being poor into a center of economic growth. Most urban centers and the coastal regions have sprung up into financial hubs that even the nationals could not dream about back in the 1980s. However, the performance legitimacy has brought the political crisis in waiting. Performance legitimacy used to work well during china’s imperialism because Confucianism backed it up. In the current world, communist ideologies that the CPP spearheads are more of a liability than a source of legitimacy. The government has continually struggled to stand up as a source of legitimacy but cannot popularize people’s expectations.

The state’s role is limited because of the performance legitimacy in imperial china. Because of the ideologies posed in the Mandate of Heaven, China continually experienced social problems, and the government blamed them. The Mandate of Heaven influenced Dynasties, and later on, it was the background ontology that was used in most arguments more so to rate the level of performance legitimacy (Rocca). Many governments were formed as a result of glorifying the ideologies of the Mandates of Heaven. Some governments led to the loss of lives because they entailed forceful evictions. Cultural Revolution is influenced and stabilized by the basis of legitimacy. The durability that China is enjoying today started when the ideologies of the Mandate of Heaven were tabled. The legality is also a blessing to the Chinese people because their economy has boomed, and the country is among the developed nations.

Work Cited

Glanville, Luke. “Retaining The Mandate Of Heaven: Sovereign Accountability In Ancient China”. Millennium: Journal Of International Studies, vol. 39, no. 2, 2010, pp. 323-343. SAGE Publications, Web.

Goldstein, Warren S. “The Mandate Of Heaven On Earth: Religious And Secular Conflict In China”. Journal Of Religious And Political Practice, vol. 3, no. 1-2, 2017, pp. 25-45. Informa UK Limited, Web.

Rashkova, Ekaterina R. “Constitutionalizing Power: How Do Rules Legitimize The Executive?”. Slovak Journal Of Political Sciences, vol. 17, no. 2, 2017, pp. 202-221. Walter De Gruyter Gmbh, Web.

Rocca, Jean-Louis. “Elizabeth J. Perry, Challenging The Mandate Of Heaven. Social Protest And State Power In China”. China Perspectives, vol. 2004, no. 3, 2004. Openedition, Web.

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Zhao, Dingxin. “The Mandate Of Heaven And Performance Legitimation In Historical And Contemporary China”. American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 53, no. 3, 2009, pp. 416-433. SAGE Publications, Web.

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