February 7, 2023
10.00 a.m. - 11.15 a.m.
Seminar Room, Institute of China Studies (ICS), Universiti Malaya
CHIH-YU SHIH, Professor, Department of Political Science, National Taiwan University
Autocratic resilience calls for an explanation of not only how and why people should accept the autocrat but also how and why the autocrat should care for or fear the people. If it is in its range of capacity to rule and ease ruling with ideological governmentality, an autocratic regime would not need to respond to the population's well-being, at least to a lesser degree than the ruling elite subscribing to liberalism in a capitalist democracy. Consider the unity of the Chinese state and society into a single entity. Limiting the state's power is unnecessary and irrelevant. What, then, can assimilate the CCP into acting responsively and caring for anything except its calculated interests and the population into leaving its well-being to the CCP’s discretion? The talk uses narrative analysis to show that all references to the autocrat in the Chinese classics imply a readiness among the people to alienate abusive autocracy and cause its demise. As such, the classics inculcate reflexive autocracy. The talk will thus suggest that, in addition to the autocrat preparing the people to cooperate in certain ways, the people likewise prepare the autocrat to cooperate.