In his first term (2012-2017), Xi Jinping's signature domestic policy was an anti-corruption campaign that targeted political enemies and venality in public office. The anti-corruption work has continued in his second term while being superseded in domestic political importance by a campaign to "Sweep Away Black and Eliminate Evil (2018-2020)."On the surface, the campaign to Sweep Away Black and Eliminate Evil is an anti-crime campaign that focuses on the "black and evil forces"of organized crime and their official protectors, but its scope extends well beyond the ganglands to target a wide range of social and political threats to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Drawing on interviews with government officials, police and citizens as well as analysis of policy documents, this paper argues that the campaign is a populist initiative designed to bolster CCP legitimacy and serve as a mechanism of social control. Like the Chongqing prototype that inspired it, however, the campaign harbors a dark side that could undermine the contemporary Chinese social contract in which people are willing to sacrifice personal freedoms in exchange for security and material benefits.
|Journal||Issues and Studies|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|