The Battle of Ideas and Discourses Before Democratic Transition: Different Democratic Conceptions in Authoritarian China

International Political Science Review, Forthcoming

40 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2014

See all articles by Jie Lu

Jie Lu

American University; American University - School of Public Affairs

Tianjian Shi

Duke University

Date Written: July 12, 2013

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, we propose a theoretical framework to examine popular democratic conceptions in societies with limited experiences of democratic politics. Second, following this framework, we use new survey instruments to investigate the origins and consequences of popular democratic conceptions in mainland China, with particular emphasis on how the Chinese government indoctrinates its people with a guardianship discourse on democracy to disguise its authoritarian nature. Using national survey data, this paper demonstrates that the Chinese government has effectively taken advantage of its regulated education and media systems, as well as its lingering Confucian and Leninist traditions, to promote and indoctrinate its people with the guardianship discourse. A majority of Chinese citizens indeed understand democracy following this particular discourse and, thus, perceive the Chinese government as more or less a democracy.

Suggested Citation

Lu, Jie and Shi, Tianjian, The Battle of Ideas and Discourses Before Democratic Transition: Different Democratic Conceptions in Authoritarian China (July 12, 2013). International Political Science Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2482016

Jie Lu (Contact Author)

American University ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

American University - School of Public Affairs ( email )

Washington, DC 20016
United States

Tianjian Shi

Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

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