By Robert Benewick, Paul Wingrove
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Extra resources for China in the 1990s
As the reform process deepened and the more radical reformers gained confidence in the mid-I 980s the ideological frontiers were gradually pushed back and previously heretical ideas received a public amng. But labour reform has been a contentious issue and disagreements over policy have been reflected in disagreements at the ideological level. The range of views reflected in the public debate has been remarkably wide. Answers to the crucial question 'Is labour power a commodity under socialist conditions?
For example, the Ministry of Aerospace has been divided into two specialised corporations: a national aeronautics industrial corporation and a national aerospace industrial corporation. Numbers of Government employees at all levels are to be reduced by 25 per cent, while the 100000+ personnel in State Council organisations are to be reduced by approximately one-third. It remains to be seen how successful this will be, since past experience does not augur well. The revitalisation of the governmental sector has also breathed new life into the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
They were established by the Party committee at the next highest level and were responsible to that committee. In 1987, Zhao Ziyang dramatically proposed the abolition of these groups. Prior to this announcement it had been normal practice for Party members who were leading members in state administrative units, enterprises or research establishments to hold caucus meetings to discuss policy within their organisation. These groups became increasingly powerful taking over more and more work of the organisation concerned (author's interview with members of the Institute of Politics and Law,Jiangsu Academy of Social Sciences, June 1988).
China in the 1990s by Robert Benewick, Paul Wingrove