New Conservatism (China)
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In China, New Conservatism or neoconservatism (Chinese: 新保守主义; pinyin: xīn bǎoshǒu zhǔyì) is a school of contemporary Chinese political thought arguing for political and economic centralization and the establishment of shared moral values. The movement originated from the "neoauthoritarian" school of the 1980s and 90s, and has been described in the West by political scientist Joseph Fewsmith. Neoconservatives are opposed to radical reform projects and argue that an authoritarian and incrementalist approach is necessary to stabilize the process of modernization.
An important neoconservative document was the 1992 China Youth Daily editorial "Realistic Responses and Strategic Options for China after the Soviet Upheaval", which responded to the fall of the Soviet Union. "Realistic Responses" described the end of the Soviet state as the result of "capitalist utopianism", and argued that the Communist Party of China should transform from a "revolutionary party" into a "ruling party". The authors believed that the party should depart from the legacy of the Bolshevik Revolution and reformulate socialism according to China's particular national conditions.
The neoconservatives enjoyed the patronage of Jiang Zemin during his term as Chinese leader (1989–2003), and Jiang's theory of the Three Represents has been described as a "bowdlerized form of neoconservatism". Prominent neoconservative theorists include Xiao Gongqin, initially a leading neoauthoritarian who promoted "gradual reform under strong rule" after 1989, and Wang Huning, who became a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the Communist Party's highest executive body, under Xi Jinping in 2017.
Other than the name, the movement has no connection with neoconservatism in the United States, though, from the standpoint of philosophy, it can be identified as a form of conservative thought, albeit ideologically different from "old conservatism" (旧保守主义).
A 2018 study of schools of political theory in contemporary China identified neoconservatism, still alternatively named neoauthoritarianism, as a continuing current of thought alongside what are now the academically more prominent Chinese New Left, New Confucianism, and Chinese liberalism.
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