The maladies of Chinese public administration

  • King W. CHOW
  • Haiyan XIAO
  • Mingyue WEN
Keywords: Chinese public administration, conservatism, optimal governance, reductionism, traditionalism


We conducted field research in China in 2010-2016 to diagnose the fundamental problems of Chinese public administration as a field of study (hereafter CPA). Our research question was ‘What are the obstacles that impede the genuine progress of CPA?’; our study shows that CPA lacks philosophical and intellectual underpinnings to justify its existence. Moreover, salvation is difficult as CPA has been suffering from three maladies, namely, reductionism, traditionalism, and conservatism, which together reinforce mediocrity. Furthermore, in order to become an indispensable field of study, scholars must strive to transform themselves so as to transform CPA. The implications for transformation of such practical examples as historical analysis and ‘optimal governance’ are discussed.