The China Quarterly

Research Article

Integrating Wealth and Power in China: The Communist Party's Embrace of the Private Sector

Bruce J. Dickson

Abstract

Is privatization in China leading to political change? This article presents original survey data from 1999 and 2005 to evaluate the Communist Party's strategy towards the private sector. The CCP is increasingly integrating itself with the private sector, both by co-opting entrepreneurs into the Party and encouraging current Party members to go into business. It has opened the political system to private entrepreneurs, but still screens which ones are allowed to play political roles. Because of their close personal and professional ties, and because of their shared interests in promoting economic growth, China's capitalists and communist officials share similar viewpoints on a range of political, economic and social issues. Rather than promote democratic governance, China's capitalists have a stake in preserving the political system that has allowed them to prosper, and they are among the Party's most important bases of support.