The structure of high-level politics during China's reforms in the 1980s

9 October 2012



One of the major arguments concerning elite politics during the 1980s reforms posits "twin peaks politics"—that is political contention built around the two leading senior revolutionaries, Deng Xiaoping and Chen Yun. Professor Han will present an alternative analysis of political conflict, likening it to three legs of a tripod, a tripartite balance of forces, with Hu Yaobang (in 1981-1986) and Zhao Ziyang (in 1987-1989) constituting the third leg of the power tripod.

This talk will analyze how the interaction of these three forces determined the ups and downs of reform in this decade.

Professor Han Gang is one of the most distinguished Party historians in the PRC. His work has covered a wide range of post-1949 Chinese political history, but he is best known for his work on the 1970s and 1980s as the Maoist era gave way to the reform period. His eminence in this area is indicated by his selection to prepare the volume for the critical years 1977-78 in the acclaimed 10 volume History of the PRC series produced in Hong Kong. One of his major contributions in reassessing the elite politics of the emergence of reform is his reevaluation of Hua Guofeng's leadership in the early post-Mao period.

Professor Han holds appointments at East China Normal University in Shanghai, arguably the most dynamic and innovative institution in China dealing with PRC history, and the Central Party School in Beijing.


Time: 5:00pm-6:00pm

Location: Room 310, Old Teachers College, University of Sydney

Cost: FREE, rsvp essential