Hunting for Political Change

China Journal, No. 41, pp. 159-169, January 1999

11 Pages Posted: 12 May 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

Since 1989, political reforms in China have failed to make as much headway as some observers had expected. Nor has "people power" transfigured the regime. Yet, according to some, China is anything but politically stagnant. If the impetus behind political change is neither top-down reform nor bottom-up revolution, what is it? For Tianjian Shi and Murray Scot Tanner, the current political structure is still full of potential. Far-reaching political reforms (or revolution) may one day transform China, but in the meantime ordinary citizens and elites are making do. Beijing residents skillfully work the system to protect and further their interests. Members of the National People's Congress are pursuing the legislature's mission and seeking as best they can to accrue some semblance of power. The contours of Chinese politics are gradually shifting as formerly marginalized individuals take advantage of small pullbacks and little more than a slightly softened authoritarianism.

Keywords: China, National People's Congress, legislatures, lawmaking, political participation

JEL Classification: K40, K49, P20, P30, O54

Suggested Citation

O'Brien, Kevin J., Hunting for Political Change. China Journal, No. 41, pp. 159-169, January 1999, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1128987

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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