Cultural determinism and institutional determinism have been the primary instruments used by the CPC to legitimate its post-1989 authoritarianism, but the latter has been much more explicitly emphasized and firmly enforced under Xi’s reign. The supposed successful response of the CPC to the COVID-19 pandemic finally provided the legitimacy it sought to propagandize its institutional advantage: the PRC’s victory and the failure of the West showed that autocracy can be far more effective than democracy in responding to crises. It is predictable that the threat to mankind’s freedom from the CPC will be greater and more aggressive in the post-COVID-19 world.
About the Speaker
Ji Zhe is Professor of Sociology at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (Inalco) and Director of the Centre d’études interdisciplinaires sur le bouddhisme (CEIB) in France. His main study areas are Buddhism and the relationship between religion and politics in modern and contemporary China. His recent publications include Religion, modernité et temporalité : une sociologie du bouddhisme chan contemporain (CNRS Editions, 2016), Making Saints in Modern China (co-edited with David Ownby and Vincent Goossaert, Oxford University Press, 2017), Buddhism after Mao: Negotiations, Continuities, and Reinventions (co-edited with Gareth Fisher and André Laliberté, University of Hawai‘i Press, 2019).
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