Protest Leadership in Rural China

China Quarterly, No. 193, pp. 1-23, March 2008

39 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2008 Last revised: 6 Apr 2009

See all articles by Lianjiang Li

Lianjiang Li

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Faculty of Social Science

Kevin J. O'Brien

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

Date Written: August 30, 2007

Abstract

Rural protest leaders in China play a number of roles. Among others, they lead the charge, shape collective claims, recruit activists and mobilize the public, devise and orchestrate acts of contention, and organize cross-community efforts. Protest leaders emerge in two main ways. Long-time public figures initiate popular action on their own or in response to requests from other villagers; ordinary villagers evolve into protest leaders when efforts to seek redress for a personal grievance fail. Rural officials sometimes attempt to co-opt or buy off protest leaders, but more often turn to repression. Although cracking down may inhibit further contention, at other times it firms up the determination of protest leaders and makes them more prone to adopt confrontational tactics, partly by enhancing their popular support, partly by increasing the costs of withdrawal.

Keywords: China, protest, contention, rural, radical flank effect

Suggested Citation

Li, Lianjiang and O'Brien, Kevin J., Protest Leadership in Rural China (August 30, 2007). China Quarterly, No. 193, pp. 1-23, March 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1104435

Lianjiang Li (Contact Author)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Faculty of Social Science ( email )

Hong Kong

Kevin J. O'Brien

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

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
233
Abstract Views
1,334
rank
129,655
PlumX Metrics