Grassroots Participation and Repression under Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping
The China Journal
Posted: 20 Jul 2017 Last revised: 13 Nov 2017
Date Written: October 30, 2017
This study examines changes in grassroots participation and repression under the Chinese leaders Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping. Under Xi, the Party-state has launched political campaigns against a range of grassroots activists and organizations. This entails a shift in state repression from fragmentation to consolidation, and it has resulted in less room for contentious participation. However, institutionalized political participation — activities by ordinary people aimed at changing government behavior through official channels — has persisted. The Hu administration presided over the development of new institutions of public participation, and there is little evidence for their decay. Despite important breaks from the past under Xi, there are noteworthy continuities in the institutions that enable grassroots participation.
Keywords: China, political participation, repression, contention, authoritarian institutions, leadership
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