Grassroots Participation and Repression in Contemporary China

The China Journal, Forthcoming in Jan. 2018

25 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2017 Last revised: 10 Aug 2017

Diana Fu

University of Toronto

Greg Distelhorst

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: August 9, 2017

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Fu, Diana and Distelhorst, Greg, Grassroots Participation and Repression in Contemporary China (August 9, 2017). The China Journal, Forthcoming in Jan. 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3003614

Diana Fu (Contact Author)

University of Toronto ( email )

Toronto
Canada

Greg Distelhorst

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.gregdistelhorst.com

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