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Fifteenth Congress, Sept. 1997 2000 delegates representing 58 million Party members National Party Congress r+ First Plenum of Fourteenth Central Committee, Sept. 1997 193 full members, 151 alternate members Central Committee Standing Committee of the Politburo ~ ~ 44 China's Political Structure challenge to the Politburo because of its control over information and the Party's agenda were addressed in amendments to the 1987 Party Constitution. It was reduced in size from ten to four members (excluding the General Secretary) and one alternate and was made the working office of the Politburo and its Standing Committee.

152-58). On occasion, Deng Xiaoping has seemed to move betwe en the two viewpoints, giving the green light to far-reaching change, yet at crucial moments supporting the traditional viewpoint on political issues in order to preserve his economic reforms from attack. The pragmatic view was presented by Zhao Ziyang at the Thirteenth Party Congress in 1987. Zhao contended that political reform was indispensable if economic reform was to continue. In linking the two processes, he stated ' [t]he process ofdeveloping the socialist commodity economy should be a process of building socialist democratic politics'.

Other systems of thought and beliefincreasingly flooded in to fill the moral and political vacuum created by the decline of ideology: notably Christianity in the moral sphere and liberalism in the political sphere. 32 1he Decline qf Ideocracy Thus by the early 1990s, China was a radically different place from that of a decade earlier. An ever-widening gap had opened up between state and society and the effort of conservative leaders to reimpose ideological conformity after the Tiananmen crackdown was not only doomed to fail but could only serve to widen the gap still further.

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