Does China's Middle Class Think and Act Democratically? Attitudinal and Behavioral Orientations of Middle Class Toward Urban Self-Government

Journal of Chinese Political Science, Vol. 11, No. 2, Fall 2006

21 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2013

See all articles by Jie Chen

Jie Chen

Old Dominion University

Chunlong Lu

Old Dominion University

Date Written: January 19, 2013

Abstract

In the West, the middle class has been considered a potent agent of the sociopolitical transition toward democracy and the cornerstone of democratic rule. Does a middle class in China think and act democratically and hence serve as the harbinger of democratic change in that country? This study attempts to answer this critical question by examining the attitudinal and behavioral orientations of middle-class individuals toward grassroots self-government in urban China. It is based on data collected from a representative sample survey conducted in Beijing. The findings indicate that China’s middle class expects grassroots self-government to be formed in a democratic way; yet the middle class is critical of the currently-implemented self-government system because it is not organized as democratically as they expect, and therefore the middle class is less likely to participate in the system. These findings have significant implications for the role of the Chinese middle class in the democratization of China.

Keywords: China, the middle class, democracy, political attitudes, political participation

JEL Classification: N45

Suggested Citation

Chen, Jie and Lu, Chunlong, Does China's Middle Class Think and Act Democratically? Attitudinal and Behavioral Orientations of Middle Class Toward Urban Self-Government (January 19, 2013). Journal of Chinese Political Science, Vol. 11, No. 2, Fall 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2203593

Jie Chen (Contact Author)

Old Dominion University ( email )

Department of Political Science
Norfolk, VA 23529-0222
United States
757-683-3947 (Phone)

Chunlong Lu

Old Dominion University ( email )

Norfolk, VA 23529-0222
United States

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