Villagers, Elections, and Citizenship in Contemporary China
Modern China, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 407-435, October 2001
29 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2008
Citizenship often has a rural and local origin. Although villagers' committee elections in China have heightened cadre responsiveness and drawn rural residents into the local polity, sizable obstacles to inclusion remain because electoral rules do not enfranchise villagers reliably. That villagers only enjoy a partial citizenship needs to be qualified, however, because some rural people challenge improper elections using the language of rights. Building on a rules consciousness and a sensitivity to government rhetoric that has been evident for centuries, and exploiting the spread of participatory ideologies rooted in notions of equality, rights, and rule of law, these villagers are advancing their interests within prevailing limits, forcing open blocked channels of participation, and struggling to make still-disputed rights real. Thus certain citizenship practices may be emerging before citizenship has appeared as a fully recognized status.
Keywords: China, elections, village committees, people's congresses, citizenship
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation