The PRC leadership succession and Taiwan policymaking: A case study of the 1995-96 Taiwan Strait crisis
Thesis DisciplinePolitical Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The close connections and interactions between the Taiwan crisis and succession politics, and Taiwan policy and informal politics, demonstrated that the PRC politics were not fully institutionalised. Military-driven politics played a major role, but succession politics constituted the centre of Chinese informal politics. This leadership succession problem provided the military with the opportunities to greatly influence Beijing's decision-making on events in the Taiwan Strait. The military's influence was significant largely because political control was weakened by the struggle for succession. This process was facilitated by the importance of informal politics in the PRC. In this sense, the PRC provocation of the Taiwan crisis can be largely attributed to the military's leverage in the leadership succession struggle. Although other informal political factors contributed to Beijing's Taiwan policy and decisions to launch war-games, the struggle for succession was the most important factor acting on Taiwan policy and influencing the lead-up to the Taiwan crisis. Thus, the Taiwan crisis was due to a series of internal domestic elements of which the succession crisis was the key.