Federalism and Democratic Reform in China with Lessons from India
Jindal Journal of Public Policy, Volume 2, Issue 1, September 2014
128 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2015 Last revised: 21 Mar 2015
Date Written: January 1, 2015
The Chinese political fabric appears to be under great stress, with reports of nearly 200,000 “mass incidents” every year, especially from workers with labor disputes and ordinary people whose property is often seized by corrupt officials. Such incidents are fuelled by public dissatisfaction nationwide as well as the disenchantment of Chinese State policies among ethnic groups, who occupy at least a third of Chinese territory. China has so far been able to keep its peripheral communities under control (or in the case of Taiwan, to ensure a degree of restraint) through its clear willingness to use force, which has aggravated the unease. A democratic China, however, would find it difficult to adopt such a repressive posture. Drawing on Linz and Stepan and Yadav’s theoretical and empirical elaboration, the article examines the characteristics of Chinese federalism and the lessons that can be learnt from a large multinational state like India. The article suggests a dual mechanism of federalism on the Chinese mainland and confederation with peripheral communities for addressing China’s territorial and political development. A confederal arrangement for China’s peripheral communities would provide a reliable umbrella of national laws and institutions under which these communities could be brought together in the “state-nation” vision. The viability of such an arrangement hinges on the presence of a strong judiciary for third-party dispute resolution and for implementing confederal agreements.
Keywords: Federalism, India, China
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