Villagers, Elections, and Citizenship in Contemporary China

Modern China, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 407-435, October 2001

29 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2008

See all articles by Kevin J. O'Brien

Kevin J. O'Brien

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science

Abstract

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

O'Brien, Kevin J., Villagers, Elections, and Citizenship in Contemporary China. Modern China, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 407-435, October 2001, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1097351

Kevin J. O'Brien (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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