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Political Participation in the Chinese Countryside

M. Kent Jennings
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 91, No. 2 (Jun., 1997), pp. 361-372
DOI: 10.2307/2952361
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2952361
Page Count: 12
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Political Participation in the Chinese Countryside
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Abstract

The topic of grass-roots participation in China has acquired special interest in light of the local economic and political reforms introduced in the post-Mao period. This paper explores some major modes of participation, issues motivating participation, and the determinants of participation. The findings are based on interviews held in early 1990 with probability samples drawn from four countryside counties. The analysis emphasizes three modes of "autonomous" participation: cooperative actions, voicing opinions to cadres, and contacting representatives. Participants pursued selective and collective goods and were strategic in combining particular modes with particular problem areas. Determinants of participation included traditional resource model predictors but also unique predictors in the form of holding a second occupation, being a party member, and residing in a specific county. Local activists appear to be using new and traditional methods in moving toward more proactive, collective, and strategic forms of behavior.

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