Collective Petition and Local State Responses in Rural China
“Collective Petitions and Local State Responses in Rural China,” in Teresa Wright, ed., Handbook of Protest and Dissent in China, Edward Elgar Publishing (2019)
18 Pages Posted: 3 May 2019 Last revised: 18 Jul 2019
Date Written: May 1, 2019
China has experienced a dramatic increase in citizen protests and civil unrest in the past two decades. As aggrieved citizens grow more assertive in their demands, government officials increasingly worry about social instability. Stability maintenance has become an obsession of the Chinese state, a focal point of attention for its political-legal apparatus—namely the party committee, the police, the courts and China’s unique petition system. This chapter draws on a unique dataset of collective petitions in a provincial capital in a largely rural province to offer a description of Chinese citizens’ collective petition activities (defined by government regulations as involving five or more people) around the time of the petitions surge in the early 2000s. Specifically, the chapter analyzes how the size of petitions, the petitioners’ social status, and the adoption of disruptive tactics influenced the way that petition officials dealt with the petitioners.
Keywords: political institutions, collective petitions, petitions, law, local government, china
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