The Politics of Introducing Direct Township Elections in China

China Quarterly, 2002

20 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2008

See all articles by Lianjiang Li

Lianjiang Li

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

Abstract

Based on archival sources and interviews, this paper relates the untold story behind several township elections. It shows that these experiments were largely due to a discursive opening on expanding grassroots democracy and efforts by local leaders to promote their careers by taking the lead in initiating electoral reforms. It suggests that over two decades of post-Mao reform may have encouraged a belief among some local officials that history is on the reformers' side. It also suggests that the current cadre management system may enable mid-level leaders to introduce political reforms at a lower level without seeking prior approval from their superiors. The paper argues that succession politics may re-open the door for further electoral reform and that the international community can offer protection to local initiatives by pressing the Chinese government to improve its human rights record.

Suggested Citation

Li, Lianjiang, The Politics of Introducing Direct Township Elections in China. China Quarterly, 2002, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1158474

Lianjiang Li (Contact Author)

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

Hong Kong

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