The transformation of China from an all-powerful strongman-dominated political system to its current structure of collective leadership has generated new institutional rules and norms in elite politics. Over the past decade, top Chinese leaders have begun using the term "intra-Party democracy" to describe the idea that the Communist Party of China (CPC) should institutionalise checks and balances within its leadership. This development in turn has affected political dynamics and elite behaviours. This article reviews the CPC's institutional development in the reform era and discusses the challenges and opportunities that the CPC is encountering on the eve of the 18th Party Congress.


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