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Popular Support for Grassroots Self-Government in Urban China: Findings from a Beijing Survey

Jie Chen, Chunlong Lu and Yiyin Yang
Modern China
Vol. 33, No. 4 (Oct., 2007), pp. 505-528
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20062682
Page Count: 24
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Popular Support for Grassroots Self-Government in Urban China: Findings from a Beijing Survey
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Abstract

Since the post-Mao reforms began, the Chinese central government has made efforts to revitalize the grassroots self-government system in urban areas in order to cope with the resulting sociopolitical changes. In 2000 the government stepped up its efforts by changing the old Residential Committee (jumin weiyuanhui, or RC) to the new Community Residents' Committee (shequ jumin weiyuanhui, or CRC) and by giving the latter more autonomy. Survey data that the authors collected in the urban areas of Beijing in 2004 indicate that most of their respondents supported the new CRCs and the current self-government system as a whole. Moreover, the authors found that urban residents' subjective orientations--such as their assessment of existing CRCs' performance, belief in democratic principles, sense of political efficacy, and life satisfaction--significantly influenced their support for the system; the type of housing complex was a sociopolitical contextual factor that also helped shape their support. These findings have important political implications for the future viability of the urban self-government system.

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