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Coalitions of the Weak: Elite Politics in China from Mao’s Stratagem to the Rise of Xi (expected April 2022 from the Cambridge University Press) inquires how leaders of one-party autocracies sought to dominate the elite and achieve true dictatorship, i.e. governing without fear of internal challenges or resistance to major policy changes. Through an in-depth look of late-Mao politics informed by thousands of historical documents and data analysis, this book uncovers Mao's strategy of replacing seasoned, densely networked senior officials with either politically tainted or inexperienced officials. The book further documents how a decentralized version of this strategy led to two generations of weak leadership in the Chinese Communist Party, creating the conditions for Xi Jinping's rapid consolidation of power after 2012. This book finally outlines the policy and political implications of repeating Mao's weak coalition strategy as Xi Jinping contemplates life-time tenure as the leader of China.
Victor Shih is an expert on the politics of Chinese banking policies, fiscal policies, and exchange rate, as well as the elite politics of China. He was the first analyst to identify the risk of massive local government debt, and is the author of “Factions and Finance in China: Elite Conflict and Inflation.”
Shih is an associate professor of political economy and the Ho Miu Lam Chair in China and Pacific Relations. He is currently engaged in a study of how the coalition-formation strategies of founding leaders had a profound impact on the evolution of the Chinese Communist Party. He is also constructing a large database on biographical information of elites in China.
At GPS, Shih teaches courses including Financing the Chinese Miracle, Chinese Sources and Methods, Chinese Politics and Political Economy of Authoritarian Regimes.
Prior to joining UC San Diego, Shih was a professor of political science at Northwestern University and former principal for The Carlyle Group.