The Politics of Lodging Complaints in Rural China

China Quarterly, No. 143, pp. 756-83 September 1995

28 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 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

Lianjiang Li

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

Abstract

Interviews and archival research on the dynamics of cadre-mass contention show that lodging complaints is a common (and potentially effective) way for Chinese villagers to defy grassroots leaders. Even without meaningful democratization, structural changes in mass-elite relations enable villagers to resist arbitrary, predatory, and highhanded official behavior. Village cadres, who previously had enormous discretion, are increasingly frequently challenged by villagers who live outside communes and travel widely to market, who hear about defiance elsewhere, and who use the cadre responsibility system, village charters, the Organic Law of Villagers' Committees, and the Administrative Litigation Law to defend and advance their interests.

Keywords: China, protest, contention, letters and visits, petitioning, conflict

JEL Classification: K40, P30, P33

Suggested Citation

O'Brien, Kevin J. and Li, Lianjiang, The Politics of Lodging Complaints in Rural China. China Quarterly, No. 143, pp. 756-83 September 1995, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1118795

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

Lianjiang Li

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

Hong Kong

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