The China Quarterly

Published by Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Online ISSN: 1468-2648
Print ISSN: 0009-4439
The literature on interregional disparities in China has become quite extensive, as has that on absolute poverty and its regional incidence. But most of this work deals with huge “regions” – entire provinces or even groups of provinces (“coastal” versus “western” China) – each of which is comparable, in area and population, to a good-sized country. Needless to say, there may well be large variations within such regions at any point in time, and large spatial shifts within them over time. Many studies suggest, for example, that, contrary to the “Maoist model,” relative disparities among provinces did not narrow significantly during the Maoist era. Can the same be said of disparities among counties, within individual provinces? And are the broad spatial patterns of poverty, as observed across provinces, somehow replicated in microcosm within particular provinces?
Assessment is made of the performance of the Chinese political system on the provincial level using health services and educational services data. Different administrative areas provide varying levels of educational and health services and these differentials produce variations in impact especially in the health area. Per cent of population enrolled in the regular school system is used to measure educational outputs while the number of beds per 1000 population is the health output measure. Interprovincial and urban-rural primary school enrollment rate differentials has been reduced since 1949; this has not happened at the middle-school level. The differentials are not strictly associated with economic and other cultural variables. The data show that provinces in similar economic positions spend substantially different amounts; conversely provinces with similar expenditures get different results. The data also suggest differences in the "efficiency" with which different provinces provided curative health care. Marked urban-rural and interprovincial variations in health services remained through 1973 even though the absolute level of services increased everywhere. The infant mortality rate was reduced from a pre-Liberation level of 190-200/1000 live births to a 1955 rural rate of 109.6/1000 live births and an urban rate of 1/2 that. The data seem to emphasize the role of leadership in policy successes.
Administration of New Rural Co-operative Medical System (simplified)  
In 2002, the Chinese leadership announced a change in national welfare policy: Voluntary medical schemes at county level, called the "New Rural Co-operative Medical System" should cover all counties by 2010. This article addresses the main characteristics of this system, analyses the introduction of local schemes based on our own field studies in one Kazak county of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region since 2006, and argues that the fast progressing of the local scheme and the flexibility shown by local administrators in considering structural and procedural adjustments are not the result of central directives but of local initiatives. Recentralization from the township governments to functional departments in the provincial and the central state administration is only one aspect of current rural governance. Complementary forms of locally embedded responsiveness to the needs of health care recipients are crucial in restructuring the administration and discharge of health care. These new modes of governance are different from the hierarchical control and institutionalized representation of interests of the local population.
In 1979, at about the same time that the birth control campaign received renewed impetus, China released impressive data on demographic trends. If these and other more recent data are reliable, the decline of the natural increase rate has been both belated and spectacular. Contrary to what has been assumed the birth rate would seem to have reached its peak during the 1960s (43·6 per 1,000 in 1963). After a secondary peak in the late 1960s, it then declined precipitously during the 1970s, declining by almost half (46·7 per cent) over nine years (33·59 per 1,000 in 1970; 17·9 per 1,000 in 1979). The natural increase rate was, for its part, more than halved during the same period (25·95 per 1,000 in 1970; 11·7 per 1,000 in 1979).
As a consequence of its economic reforms China is currently experiencing internal migration at an unprecedented scale. An estimated 120 million people, or more than 15 per cent of the total rural labour force in China, have for different lengths of time left their places of origin to settle mainly in urban centres. Most of them go to the southern and eastern economically booming regions, but quite a few have chosen to go to ethnic minority areas in the border regions of the People's Republic. These areas, which have often been described and perceived of as economically and culturally backward, are also subjected to new largescale in-migrations of mainly Han Chinese. Han Chinese – whether officially classified or identifying themselves as such – make up a considerable proportion of the population in most so-called minority areas in China today. A number of recent (mostly sociological) studies have contributed to knowledge of the policies and consequences of sending Han to minority areas since 1949. Especially with regard to Tibet, the actual scope of Han migration remains a hotly debated issue. However, while the number of ethnographic studies of various ethnic minorities in China has increased markedly during the last 15 years (since it became possible to do fieldwork in minority areas of the People's Republic), the Han Chinese living in the same areas have rarely been subjected to this kind of fieldwork-based study. Most researchers of ethnic minorities in China have been struck by the pervasiveness of the discourse on the Han as a more “advanced” ( xianjin ) nationality. But this discourse has not been thoroughly analysed in relation with how different groups of Han Chinese, living themselves among non-Han peoples in minority areas, reproduce, neglect, dispute or contribute to this discourse.
This research note is a case study of how human capital is developed to support the fast economic growth of Shenzhen, China. The study highlights the substantial and integrated nature of three forms of human-capital development - formal schooling, on-the-job training in the workplace, and adult education outside the workplace. Shenzhen has been singled out by the Chinese government as an important model of rapid economic development in the transition from a centrally-planned to market-oriented economy. How Shenzhen manages to meet the demand for human capital of a rapidly growing economy in transition is of great interest to policy-makers and practitioners in other parts of China and in other countries contemplating a similar economic transformation. A reverse-tracer study is used in an attempt to find out where employed workers in Shenzhen obtain their education and training, particularly exploring the extent and type of workplace training and adult education, given that pre-existing information on such training and education is lacking. The argument is organized as follows: opening with a brief description of the Chinese context and the key research questions, it goes on to explain research methods and data. Following the presentation of the findings the key features of Shenzhen's human-capital development model are summarized, relating the findings on the national debates on vocational/technical education, and comparing these with those in other countries. Finally, there is a discussion of the implications of the findings for education and training policy.
No nation begins anew – with or without a political revolution – without building upon and carrying forward selective aspects of an inherited past. Nor for that matter, is any national policy implemented without reference to past experience and accumulated resources. Despite claims of revolutionary transformation and self-sufficiency, no nation has developed a modern medical system either overnight or in isolation.
In recent years a number of visitors to China have remarked on the rather surprising preservation and even revival of the country's ancient native medical tradition. To Westerners, so accustomed to associating modern medicine with progress and scientific advance, the continued existence of this obviously prescientific art has been one of the more curious anachronisms in the new society. Moreover, for a revolutionary government so firmly committed to science and modernisation, this support and encouragement of traditional medicine has seemed paradoxical indeed.
Prior research has debated the relative importance of such factors as human capital, political capital and region in determining workers' earnings in reform-era urban China. This article argues that a main agent of social stratification in contemporary China continues to be the danwei, the work unit. Using data from a 1999 survey we conducted in three large Chinese cities, Wuhan, Shanghai and Xi'an, we assess the extent to which workers' earnings (including regular wages, bonuses and subsidies) depend on the profitability of their danwei. Results show that the financial situation of the danwei is one of the most important determinants of earnings in today's urban China. Furthermore, the importance of danwei profitability does not vary by city or by employment sector.
Until recently, few people in mainland China would dispute the significance of the hukou (household registration) system in affecting their lives – indeed, in determining their fates. At the macro level, the centrality of this system has led some to argue that the industrialization strategy and the hukou system were the crucial organic parts of the Maoist model: the strategy could not have been implemented without the system. A number of China scholars in the West, notably Christiansen, Chan, Cheng and Seiden, Solinger, and Mallee, have begun in recent years to study this important subject in relation to population mobility and its social and economic ramifications. Unlike population registration systems in many other countries, the Chinese system was designed not merely to provide population statistics and identify personal status, but also directly to regulate population distribution and serve many other important objectives desired by the state. In fact, the hukou system is one of the major tools of social control employed by the state. Its functions go far beyond simply controlling population mobility.
This article describes and analyses changes in the environment and related policy developments in the People's Republic over the past 50 years. When discussing the quality of China's environment it must be remembered that the population of the country has doubled over the past half century and the economy has grown rapidly, particularly over the last two decades. Pessimists argue that the current population of over 1,200 million has exceeded the number which can be supported at a good living standard. Despite such views, there has been some ground for optimism in recent years, with China's greater environmental awareness and increased openness, its realization that the environment can be a tool in international diplomacy, and the increasing importation of environmental protection techniques. Yet overall, China has not done enough to maintain environmental quality and has not chosen to make many environmentally friendly transport investments.
The literature on China's social stratification and mobility has discussed the roles of family background and an individual's education attainment. This article aims to extend the existing literature by examining the interplay of these two aspects in fostering a homogeneous group of scientists, the members (yuanshi) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS, Zhongguo kexueyuan). Based on biographical information and interviews with some of the CAS members, the article explores the consistent and universal role of education, while at the same time revealing the importance of family (including parental occupation and educational level), in the upbringing of these scientists. The social origins are a microscopic image of a changing society. As the first effort to look at the social origins of the Chinese scientific elite, who are important as a group which serves as indicator of the direction of change in Chinese society, this study may throw some new light on the general background of the social and political world in which the scientists have operated.
The establishment of Hainan province and Hainan Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in 1988 is the fulfilment of a long-cherished local desire for greater autonomy, which in turn has aroused great enthusiasm for the development of a Hainanese culture and the search for a Hainanese identity. Hainan is in many ways the most internationally 'open' among Chinese provinces: in the composition of its population by large groups of migrants; in the claim of foreign origin of its indigenous people; in its close ties with the communities in South-East Asia since ancient times; in the incorporation of some vocabulary from European languages into the daily speech of Hainanese villagers; in intense internationalization of its economy in the reform era; and in its position of being 'more special than Special Economic Zones' in managing its relations with the outside world. It seems inevitable that development of Hainan would be profoundly informed by extensive international interaction. Yet the delicacy of the Hainan case is that 'outside impact' means not only impact from outside China, as in the cases of other provinces, but also impact from mainland China itself. There is an indication that the process of modernization and cultural construction on the island is controlled by recent mainland migrants rather than by the native Hainanese. This article is an attempt to understand the construction of a Hainanese culture and the negotiation of Hainanese identity in this unprecedented, stimulating and intricate context.
The acceleration of economic reform in the early and late 1990s has highlighted repeatedly the importance of social welfare for maintaining economic growth, social stability and political authority. Indeed each of these decade-long goals of China's government can be seen to rest on either establishing or maintaining an accessible social welfare package. Economic growth requires further enterprise reform which in turn requires alternative forms and funding of worker social welfare. Sporadic reports of urban unrest resulting from lay-offs and loss of welfare benefits and of rural discontent resulting from the continued absence of welfare benefits suggests that social stability and political authority are dependent on the government's ability to reform social welfare provisioning. Simultaneously the process of economic reform itself has altered urban and rural socio-economic and political environments and had far-reaching consequences for welfare demand, service supply and notions of security.
Nomads and Commissars: Mongolia Revisited. By LattimoreOwen. [New York: Oxford University Press, 1962. xxiii + 238 pp. $5.75.] - Volume 14 - George Ginsburgs
In most developing countries, income inequality tends to worsen during initial stages of growth, especially in urban areas. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) provides a sharp contrast where income inequality among urban households is lower than that among rural households. In terms of inclusive growth, the existence of income mobility over a longer period of time may mitigate the impacts of widening income inequality measured using crosssectional data. We explore several ways of measuring income mobility and found considerable income mobility in the PRC, with income mobility lower among rural households than among urban households. When incomes are averaged over 3 years and when adjustments are made for the size and composition of households, income inequality decreases. Social welfare functions are posited that allow for a trade-off between increases in income and increases in income inequality. These suggest strong increases in well-being for urban households in the PRC. In comparison, the corresponding changes in rural households are much smaller.
Using data from the China Urban Labor Survey conducted in five large Chinese cities at year end 2001, we quantify the nature and magnitude of shocks to employment and worker benefits during the period of economic structuring from 1996 to 2001, and evaluate the extent to which adversely affected urban workers had access to public and private assistance. Employment shocks were large and widespread, and were particularly hard on older workers and women. Unemployment reached double digits in all sample cities and labor force participation declined by 8 percent. Urban residents faced modest levels of wage and pension arrears, and sharp declines in health benefits. Public assistance programs for dislocated workers had limited coverage, with most job-leavers relying upon private assistance to support consumption, mainly from other household members.
Criminal procedure in China had been governed by the 1979 Criminal Procedure Law (CPL 1979). This was amended in 1996 (the Amendment). The 1996 Amendment introduces an element of procedural justice into China’s criminal justice system. There are high expectations that the Amendment will better protect the rights of a suspect. The substantial improvement in the law and the symbolic values embodied in it are expected to provide an opportunity for such an improvement. However, given the ingrained pattern of practice in China’s criminal justice system, the practical impact of the Amendment in protecting the right to counsel will be limited. Efforts to amend the law will not give the rights real protection. Amending the CPL will not make the rights real unless they can be effectively enforced. While the Amendment may have laid a foundation for improvement, there is little likelihood that the legislation will bring about meaningful change in the practice of criminal defense in the near future.
Criminal procedure in China had been governed by the 1979 Criminal Procedure Law (CPL 1979). This was amended in 1996 (the Amendment). The 1996 Amendment introduces an element of procedural justice into China’s criminal justice system. There are high expectations that the Amendment will better protect the rights of a suspect. The substantial improvement in the law and the symbolic values embodied in it are expected to provide an opportunity for such an improvement. However, given the ingrained pattern of practice in China’s criminal justice system, the practical impact of the Amendment in protecting the right to counsel will be limited. Efforts to amend the law will not give the rights real protection. Amending the CPL will not make the rights real unless they can be effectively enforced. While the Amendment may have laid a foundation for improvement, there is little likelihood that the legislation will bring about meaningful change in the practice of criminal defense in the near future.
What precipitated the 2003-2006 “high tide” of petitioning Beijing and why did the tide wane? Interviews and archival sources suggest that a marked increase in petitioners coming to the Capital was at least in part a response to encouraging signals that emerged when Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao adopted a more populist leadership style. Because the presence of tens of thousands of petitioners helped expose policy failures of the previous leadership team, the Hu-Wen leadership appeared reasonably accommodating when petitioners arrived en masse in Beijing. Soon, however, the authorities shifted toward control and suppression, partly because frustrated petitioners employed disruptive tactics to draw attention from the Center. In response to pressure from higher-ups, local authorities, especially county leaders, turned to coercion to contain assertive petitioners and used bribery to coax officials in the State Bureau of Letters and Visits to delete petition registrations. The high tide receded in late 2006 and was largely over by 2008. This paper suggests that a high tide is more likely after a central leadership change, especially if a populist program strikes a chord with the population and elite turnover augments confidence in the Center and heightens expectations that it will be responsive to popular demands.
Research on rural conflict in China suggests that village leaders are sources of trouble and obstacles to justice and that aggrieved villagers have more trust in and receive more satisfactory redress from higher-level solutions than from local solutions. In contrast to this account of justice from above, evidence presented in this article from a 2002 survey of almost 3,000 households supports an alternative theory of justice from below. According to the theory of justice from below, the social costs associated with appealing to higher authorities, including the legal system, for help with local disputes tend both to discourage the escalation of disputes and to produce relatively disappointing experiences and outcomes when such routes are taken. Survey respondents indicated that local solutions, often with the involvement of village leaders, were far more desirable and effective than higher-level solutions.
This paper assesses the impact of China's accession to the World Trade Organization on its foreign trade and investment regime. While the government had begun liberalizing the Chinese economy long before joining the WTO, the accession induced regulatory, institutional and normative changes that have transformed the landscape of trade and investment in China. The profound impact of the WTO stems directly from the extensive commercial and rule commitments China undertook in its accession. Focusing on the most significant of these commitments, the paper examines their implications for Chinese constitutional law and their effect on the regulation of foreign trade, foreign investment, intellectual property rights, and domestic governance. In addition, it looks at enforcement of China's commitments through the WTO review and dispute settlement mechanisms. The paper concludes that China's WTO accession has made its foreign trade and investment regime far more liberalized and less opaque than a decade ago. More importantly, the accession has institutionalized the process of China's domestic reform externally through the force of WTO obligations. Although much uncertainty remains concerning the future direction of government policies, WTO membership ensures that the course of China's economic development will be charted within the disciplines of the WTO system.
Using interviews, leadership speeches, and archival materials, this article reviews how autonomous villagers' committees appeared in Guangxi in the early 1980s and how they were transformed into a replacement for production brigades. It also examines the preferences of various actors involved in implementing village elections, including the Party Organization Department, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and its local staff, local authorities, and ordinary villagers. The article concludes that elections were designed to rejuvenate grassroots leadership by cleaning out incompetent, corrupt, and high-handed cadres, all for the purpose of consolidating one-Party rule. But it also highlights a potential alliance between frustrated villagers and reformist elites that may yet produce a village leadership in which every cadre is held accountable in free and fair elections.
Among Chinese people's congress deputies who are active and who do not exclusively adopt the role of regime agent, many play a role reminiscent of the upright official remonstrating the emperor. Archival materials and interviews with 39 individual - legislative leaders, deputies and staff in Wuhan, Tianjin, Beijing, and Harbin during 1989, 1990 and 1991 - suggest that some deputies bring group or particularistic problems identified through their job or private life to the attention of leaders and request a response. They possess information, rather than a mandate, and the leadership has no obligation to respond if the information is incorrect or the solution is too costly. Deputies who choose this role may combine it with their usual role implementing laws and explaining policies to the citizenry. In so doing, they may recreate and redefine their role perception to alleviate role strain significantly.
The recent years have seen a proliferation of scholarship on protests and other forms of collective action in China. Important insights have been gained into how conflicts between social groups and local governments begin, which strategies and instruments protesters apply, and under which circumstances protests are likely to succeed or fail. However, comparatively little is known about the mobilizing structures and how such action can be sustained over a long period of time - in some instances over several years. Such perseverance would be remarkable even in a democracy, but it is more so in an authoritarian system where the risks of participating in collective action are higher and the chances to succeed much smaller. We address this puzzle by comparing the development of public protests in two research locations, and identify four factors we consider instrumental for overcoming the formidable challenges of sustaining collective action in China: the continuing existence of substantial grievances, the re-activation of strong social ties, the presence of unifying frames and an adaptive protest leadership. The comparison shows that especially the last factor is crucial: while the two villages were similar in all other respects, leadership in Village B was far more adaptive in Village A, which goes a long way towards explaining why collective action could be sustained twice as long in Village B.
Although many state agencies in China are designated with a function of “representing” ordinary people’s interests, they are poorly structured for that purpose. It is therefore puzzling why some of them have at times actively and effectively advocated the interests of ordinary people, even when such interests may conflict with state policies. To solve this puzzle, this paper examines a recent campaign by Chinese Disable Persons Federation (CDPF) to resist a national trend to ban the use of three-wheelers for passenger transport by many local governments. My analysis recognizes the importance of personal motivations and favorable political structure, but it emphasizes that forceful popular collective action can create both pressure and opportunity for active state advocacy. Such a pattern of mutual-reinforcement between mass organizations and their constituency has contributed significantly to the dynamics of political change in the reform era.
Trial Profile
Women's Voting Knowledge Test Scores and Change from Baseline to Evaluation Panel A. By Three Experimental Groups and One Control Group
OLS Regression Analysis of Change in Women's Test Scores Dependent Variable: Change in Women's Test Scores (%)
Change in Leaders' Test Scores, by Three Experimental Groups and One Control Group
Change in Voting Behaviour, by Three Experimental Groups and One Control Group
Officials in China claim that voting rates in rural village elections are high. Unfortunately, these rates are assumptions, not facts. The true voting rate is lower, and much lower for women. We postulate that this could be due to insufficient knowledge about their rights.The objective of this paper is to test whether women and village leaders’ knowledge about women’s voting rights affects women’s voting behavior. We report on the results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) involving 700 women in China’s Fujian and Liaoning Provinces. Villages were randomly assigned to either a control group or one of three intervention groups. One intervention provided voting training to women only, another provided training to both women and village leaders and the third provided training to village leaders only.The data show that after women received training, their scores on a test of voting knowledge increased and they more fully exercised their voting rights. When only village leaders were trained, test scores and voting behaviors were not statistically different from the control villages.
China's state sector reform process is examined through the key sector of agriculture. A preview of aggregate statistics and broader reform measures indicate the declining role of the state. However, a systematic analysis of administrative, service and enterprise structures reveal the nuances of how the state has retained strong capacity to guide development of the agricultural sector. State and Party policy makers aim not only to support the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of farmers, but also to pursue agricultural modernization in the context of rapid industrialization. These goals are unlikely to be achieved through a wholesale transfer of functions to the private sector, so the state has maintained or developed new mechanisms of influence, particularly in the areas of service provision and enterprise development.
To examine poverty on China’s campuses, we utilize the Chinese College Students Survey carried out in 2010. With poverty line defined as the college-specific expenditures a student needs to maintain the basic living standard on campus, we find that 22 percent of college students in China are living in poverty. Poverty is more severe among students from the rural or Western parts of the country. The college need-based aid program must be improved because its targeting count error is over 50 percent. Lacking other income sources, poor students rely heavily on loans and working to finance their college education.
This article examines the intensity and sources of Chinese private entrepreneurs' support for the current political system and consequently their orientation toward democracy. The study presented here is based on data from a representative sample of private entrepreneurs collected from five coastal provinces in late 2006 and early 2007. The major findings indicate that in general China's private entrepreneurs tend to support the current Party-state and, subsequently, to be in favor of the status quo. In addition, among all the factors analyzed in this study, the subjective values - such as democratic values, life satisfaction, evaluation of government policy performance, and perception of official corruption - apparently play the most decisive role in shaping private entrepreneurs' support for the Chinese-Communist-Party regime. These findings have important implications for the survival of the regime and for the role of private entrepreneurs in a potential political change toward democracy.
China’s national leaders see restructuring and diversification away from resource-based, energy intensive industries as central goals in the coming years. On the basis of extensive fieldwork in China between 2010 and 2012, we suggest that the high turnover of leading cadres at the local level may hinder state-led greening growth initiatives. Frequent cadre turnover is intended primarily to keep local Party secretaries and mayors on the move in order to promote implementation of central directives. While rotation does seem to aid implementation by reducing coordination problems, there are also significant downsides to local leaders’ changing office every three to four years. Officials with short time horizons are likely to choose the path of least resistance in selecting quick, low quality approaches to the implementation of environmental policies. We conclude that the perverse effects of local officials’ short time horizons give reason to doubt the more optimistic claims about the advantages of China’s model of environmental authoritarianism.
For some fortunate developing countries, the international flow of their human talent in the recent decade has been more of a 'reverse brain drain' than the terrible brain drain. South Korea (before it joined the OECD), Taiwan, Hong Kong, and India have all seen a significant 'brain gain.' And while UNESCO still worries that the bleeding of talent to the developed states continues, a better balance has clearly been struck. China, too, joined the group of states whose students, after going abroad to study, now find sufficient opportunity and an acceptable quality of life back home to make returning after graduation a reasonable option. Still, much debate exists over the reasons for this shift. Is it purely that these states' economies have grown, creating new jobs and opportunities for people with talent, capital, ideas and technology, or has the state played a critical role in this important change in national development?
Based on interviews and a questionnaire administered to 25 factory directors in November 1988, this study investigates factors that determine the bargaining power of large and medium-sized Chinese factories. It shows that directors of larger, higher-ranking factories are more successful in preserving autonomy and gaining concessions and exemptions from their supervisory agencies on salary and bonus pools and distribution, on tax rates, and on personnel decisions. It relates the Chinese experience to discussions of "soft budget constraints" in socialist Hungary and shows that many politically significant directors wish to maintain protected, dependent relationships with their supervisors and are hesitant to support radical ownership reforms that would decisively increase autonomy and might enhance efficiency.
Since the mid-1990s trade union leaders in Zhejiang, Guangdong, Shandong and other coastal provinces have been quietly introducing direct elections for grassroots trade union cadres, in order to nurture a stratum of grassroots trade union cadres who prioritize workers’ interests. Yet these elections have not been generalized across the country, been institutionalized through legislation or drawn droves of international observers in the way that village elections did in the 1980s and 1990s. What might have promised to be China’s ‘‘second silent revolution’’ has failed to take off. This article explores the political, structural and institutional reasons behind the piecemeal and slow spread of direct basic union elections in China. In doing so it analyses the parameters constraining the reform of the All-China Federation of Trades Unions in the direction of a more effective, worker-oriented organization.
This article explores the ubiquitous themes of loneliness, isolation and anomie in Mandopop (Mandarin Chinese language pop music). This is not to imply that people in the PRC and Taiwan are lonelier than people from other countries but, rather, that being human they experience these emotions. What is distinctive here is that Mandopop becomes a primary conduit to express feelings that are sanctioned in daily speech. The article addresses these concerns and uses in-depth interviews in Shanghai and Taipei to find out why Mandopop's themes ofloneliness and isolation are so resonant to its fans.
Recent changes in the relationships of Hong Kong and Taiwan to mainland China have presented education policy-makers in both territories with problems of reforming school curricula in areas of teaching that are important for the formation of national identity. While both territories are subject to claims that they are part of China, both have also been separated from the Chinese mainland for long periods, and in recent years their relationships with it have been undergoing fundamental changes. Hong Kong's relationship with China has become closer due to economic integration with the hinterland and the 1997 transfer of sovereignty. Taiwan's identification as a part of China, on the other hand, has become increasingly uncertain as the process of liberalization and democratization that began in 1986 has allowed sovereignty to be practised by the residents of the island and a sense of “Taiwan consciousness” (Taiwan yishi) to develop.
Is China’s public bureaucracy overstaffed? To answer this basic question objectively, one needs to define public employment in the contemporary Chinese context; survey data sources available to measure public employment; and finally, compare China’s public employment size vis-à-vis other countries. Using a variety of new sources, this article performs all three tasks. It also goes further to clarify the variance between bianzhi (formally established posts) and actual staffing size, as well as other permutations of the bianzhi system, especially chaobian (exceeding the bianzhi). A key finding is that China’s net public employment per capita is not as large as often perceived; quite the contrary, China’s public employment size per capita is one-third below the international mean. However, it is clear that the actual number of employees in the party-state bureaucracy has grown – and is still growing – steadily since reforms, despite repeated downsizing campaigns. Such expansion has been heavily concentrated at the sub-provincial levels and among shiye danwei (extra-bureaucracies).
Socio-economic Characteristics of Rural, Migrant and Urban Populations (weighted)
Dispute Outcome by Residential Status (weighted %) 
Perceived Relationship between the Three Residential Groups (weighted)
Channels of Dispute Resolution by Residential Status (OLS coeffi- cients, analytic weights)
Using data from a 2004 national survey, we examine the recent trends in the conditions of migrant workers in China. Our discussion engages the debate in the existing literature between the migrant workers as victims of China's economic growth and as a newly emerging political force with growing bargaining power. The study focuses on three dimensions of migrant workers' status: their socio-economic conditions, relations with rural and urban residents, and conflict resolution behaviour. The findings indicate that while migrant workers continue to occupy more blue-collar and service jobs than urban residents, their economic, social and political status has improved. In some areas, migrant workers show even more political activism than both rural and urban residents. Migrant workers' growing social influence is a positive development in China's political diversification.
During the past decade, the Chinese government has pursued greater engagement with a range of international legal regimes. China's expanded participation in international regimes for trade and human rights, for example, can provide deeper understanding of the factors influencing China's international behaviour. Building upon scholarly perspectives about institutional compliance with treaty texts and the influence of local conditions on China's policies and practice, this article examines China's participation in international legal regimes for trade and human rights in light of dynamics of normative engagement and the paradigm of selective adaptation. Normative tensions help explain China's policies and practices on compliance with the WTO trade regime, while the imperative of normative engagement helps explain much about China's international human rights diplomacy.
Interviews and archival research on the dynamics of cadre-mass contention show that lodging complaints is a common (and potentially effective) way for Chinese villagers to defy grassroots leaders. Even without meaningful democratization, structural changes in mass-elite relations enable villagers to resist arbitrary, predatory, and highhanded official behavior. Village cadres, who previously had enormous discretion, are increasingly frequently challenged by villagers who live outside communes and travel widely to market, who hear about defiance elsewhere, and who use the cadre responsibility system, village charters, the Organic Law of Villagers' Committees, and the Administrative Litigation Law to defend and advance their interests.
Internet service providers (ISPs) have played an important role in the Internet regulation regime of China. This article illustrates how ISPs are governed to serve the government’s regulatory goals. The task of explanation involves examining some of the most extraordinary and profound insights concerning the Internet governance, that is, the theories of Layers Principle, the End-to-end Argument and the Generative Internet. Chinese ISPs have been the dependent rather than neutral regulatory intermediaries of the government. Moreover, in addition to telecommunication carriers, the radio and TV networks affiliated to the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) are to become a new type of ISP that is capable of choking free spirit of the Internet as recently demonstrated by the far-reaching policy of “network convergence.” This article argues that the policy has a great potential to drastically alter the structure and ecology of the Internet in China.
Earmarked transfers in K county 1998-2004
shows a clear tendency in the overall picture of personnel and operating expenditure for
In order to improve the effectiveness of redistributive policies, in 2002 the Chinese government increased fiscal transfers and imposed more stringent regulations on the use of earmarked funds. This article evaluates the impact this had on K county in a north-western province. The case study finds that the misappropriation of earmarked transfers did decrease but this did not necessarily indicate an improvement in the local government's compliance in the usage of transfers. Instead, the county governments found ways to sabotage central policies by exporting fiscal burdens to the subordinate bureaus that received the earmarked subsidies. In some bureaus this was done by reducing the amount of funds allocated for operating expenses. In others it involved increasing staff numbers. These findings provide a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of using earmarked funds and internal supervisory mechanisms to achieve policy objectives in an authoritarian regime.
Comparison of Weng'an and Yuqing
Local Economic and Tax Bases
Per Capita Public Expenditure (Unit: Yuan)
Per Capita Expenditure on Public Services (Unit: Yuan)
Political Institutions, Popular Grievance and Social Stability
In the summer of 2008, two similar popular protests broke out about the same time in two adjacent underdeveloped counties in southwest China. However, they evolved along remarkably different trajectories: one incident was resolved rather quickly and peacefully by local authorities without making a stir; while the other escalated into a major, violent clash between local residents and authorities. Reports and on-site visit suggest an important cause to the disparate results of the two incidents: availability of natural resources in the second case. As comparative studies suggest, the abundance of natural resources often contribute to the occurrence of social conflicts and even civil wars by motivating the contest for resource control, creating grievance among the populace, and leading to weak political institutions. Does resource curse work in the same ways in China? This paper explores how the availability of natural resources affects social instability in China by a comparative study of the two above mentioned counties. While it confirms some of the common wisdom, it also suggests more nuanced mechanism under China’s peculiar political system, through which the availability (or lack) of various natural resources affects the style of local governance and state-society relations, which consequently shape the likelihood of social instability.
Chinese local officials frequently employ relational repression to demobilize protesters. When popular action occurs, they investigate activists’ social ties, locate individuals who might be willing to help stop the protest, assemble a work team, and dispatch it to conduct thought work. Work team members are then expected to use their personal influence to persuade relatives, friends and fellow townspeople to stand down. Those who fail are subject to punishment, including suspension of salary, removal from office, and prosecution. Relational repression sometimes works. When local authorities have considerable say over work team members and bonds with protesters are strong, relational repression can help demobilize protesters and halt popular action. Even if relational repression does not end a protest entirely, it can limit its length and scope by reducing tension at times of high strain and providing a channel for negotiation. Often, however, as in a 2005 environmental protest in Zhejiang, insufficiently tight ties and limited concern about consequences creates a commitment deficit, partly because thought workers recognize their ineffectiveness with many protesters and partly because they anticipate little or no punishment for failing to demobilize anyone other than a close relative. The practice and effectiveness of relational, “soft” repression in China casts light on how social ties can demobilize as well as mobilize contention and ways in which state and social power can be combined to serve state ends.
The paper investigates change processes regarding the managerial aspects of organizing Cultural Heritage activities in China. The focus is not on the historical and artistic meanings of archeological discoveries in themselves; nor on the technical, scientific, and methodological repercussions of conservation and restoration; nor finally on the evolution of museology per se. Rather, the core of the analysis is on new managerial problems along the “archaeological chain” (archeological discoveries, restoration, museum definition and public access to cultural heritage) posed by new professional discourse and the overall evolution of the economic and political context. The paper is based on field research carried out in Luoyang, Henan province. The micro view adopted (managing practices more than policies), and the unusual access to data (including financial figures on individual entities) represent a unique opportunity for a sort of “journey” inside the Chinese public sector.
This article traces a civil environmental lawsuit from dispute to decision to explore how environmental law works, as well as how lawyers and litigants try to work the law. Detailing ground-level encounters with a legal system promoted and carefully watched by political elites offers a fresh perspective on the ways the past 30 years of legal reforms have affected the experience of China’s court users. Amid accounts of financial stress, lawyer–client tensions and the hunt for elite allies, what emerges is a story of variation. Although plaintiffs and lawyers agree that environmental cases are hard and wringing concessions out of polluters requires remarkable persistence, the process sometimes creaks forward so that appraisals are conducted on time, help is solicited and compensation won. How Chinese courts work (and how well they work) depends on local circumstances, an insight that suggests that disaggregating expansive concepts like rule of law is a helpful way to explore complexity instead of glossing over it.
Top-cited authors
Kam Wing Chan 陈金永
  • University of Washington Seattle
Kevin J. O'Brien
  • University of California, Berkeley
Will Buckingham
  • University of Washington Seattle
Guobin Yang
  • University of Pennsylvania
Scott Rozelle
  • Stanford University