The Party Elite and China's Trajectory of Change

China's path of political and economic change has diverged sharply from the experience of virtually all other state socialist regimes. Distinguishing it are its rapidly growing economy and expansion of higher education, deep engagement with the world economy and radical shift towards educational attainment in Party recruitment. These signs of political revitalisation portend a quiet transformation of China's elite, and may reinforce a stable evolution towards effective and less authoritarian forms of government. The greatest threat to this scenario would be state sector reform via privatisation that leaves large percentages of state assets in the hands of elite families.