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Liberalization in Times of Instability: Margins of Unconventional Participation in Chinese Authoritarianism

GIGA Working Paper No 103

36 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2009 Last revised: 17 Aug 2012

Günter Schucher

GIGA Institute of Asian Studies

Date Written: June 7, 2009

Abstract

Unconventional participation is by no means regime-threatening per se, not even in an authoritarian regime like China. On the contrary, the Chinese government has been able to generate legitimacy by tolerating certain forms of unconventional participation and by localizing the responsibility for solving conflicts. The current leadership in Beijing has chosen these strategies to channel protests, co-opt civic society, and avoid blame - complementary to rather repressive forms of governance. An evaluation of protest events shows that the government has succeeded in containing protests quantitatively as well as qualitatively (that is, in terms of scope and the potential threat to the political system) through the extension of opportunities to air grievances.

Notes: Downloadable document is in German.

Keywords: PR China, authoritarianism, opportunity and threat, central-local relationship, unconventional participation, legitimacy, protest events

Suggested Citation

Schucher, Günter, Liberalization in Times of Instability: Margins of Unconventional Participation in Chinese Authoritarianism (June 7, 2009). GIGA Working Paper No 103. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1430809 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1430809

Günter Schucher (Contact Author)

GIGA Institute of Asian Studies ( email )

Rothenbaumchaussee 32
Hamburg, Hamburg D-20148
Germany

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