How Discrimination Increases Chinese Overseas Students' Support for Authoritarian Rule

52 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2020 Last revised: 29 Jul 2020

See all articles by Yingjie Fan

Yingjie Fan

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Jennifer Pan

Stanford University

Zijie Shao

Communication University of China

Yiqing Xu

Stanford University

Date Written: June 29, 2020

Abstract

The cross-border flow of people for educational exchange in Western democracies is seen as a way to transfer democratic values to non-democratic regions of the world. What happens when students studying in the West encounter discrimination? Based on an experiment among hundreds of Chinese first-year undergraduates in the United States, we show that discrimination interferes with the transfer of democratic values. Chinese students who study in the United States are more predisposed to favor liberal democracy than their peers in China. However, anti-Chinese discrimination significantly reduces their belief that political reform is desirable for China and increases their support for authoritarian rule. These effects of discrimination are most pronounced among students who are more likely to reject Chinese nationalism. Encountering non-racist criticisms of the Chinese government does not increase support for authoritarianism. Our results are not explained by relative evaluations of US and Chinese government handling of COVID-19.

Keywords: discrimination, xenophobia, linkage, democratization, China, overseas students

Suggested Citation

Fan, Yingjie and Pan, Jennifer and Shao, Zijie and Xu, Yiqing, How Discrimination Increases Chinese Overseas Students' Support for Authoritarian Rule (June 29, 2020). 21st Century China Center Research Paper, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3637710

Yingjie Fan

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Jennifer Pan

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Zijie Shao

Communication University of China ( email )

1 Dingfuzhuang E Street
Chaoyang
Beijing
China

HOME PAGE: http://zijie-shao.com

Yiqing Xu (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

HOME PAGE: http://yiqingxu.org

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