Grassroots Political Reform in Contemporary China / Edition 1
Observers often note the glaring contrast between China's stunning economic progress and stalled political reforms. Although sustained growth in GNP has not brought democratization at the national level, this does not mean that the Chinese political system has remained unchanged. At the grassroots level, a number of important reforms have been implemented in the last two decades.
This volume, written by scholars who have undertaken substantial fieldwork in China, explores a range of grassroots efforts--initiated by the state and society alike--intended to restrain arbitrary and corrupt official behavior and enhance the accountability of local authorities. Topics include village and township elections, fiscal reforms, legal aid, media supervision, informal associations, and popular protests. While the authors offer varying assessments of the larger significance of these developments, their case studies point to a more dynamic Chinese political system than is often acknowledged. When placed in historical context--as in the Introduction--we see that reforms in local governance are hardly a new feature of Chinese political statecraft and that the future of these experiments is anything but certain.
Acknowledgments vii List of Abbreviations ix Introduction: Historical Reflections on Grassroots Political Reform in China Elizabeth J. Perry Merle Goldman 1 Village Elections, Transparency, and Anticorruption: Henan and Guangdong Provinces Richard Levy 20 The Implementation of Village Elections and Tax-for-Fee Reform in Rural Northwest China John James Kennedy 48 Fiscal Crisis in China's Townships: Causes and Consequences Jean C. Oi Zhao Shukai 75 Direct Township Elections Lianjiang Li 97 The Struggle for Village Public Goods Provision: Informal Institutions of Accountability in Rural China Lily L. Tsai 117 Inadvertent Political Reform via Private Associations: Assessing Homeowners' Groups in New Neighborhoods Benjamin L. Read 149 Civil Resistance and Rule of Law in China: The Defense of Homeowners' Rights Yongshun Cai 174 "Hope for Protection and Hopeless Choices": Labor Legal Aid in the PRC Mary E. Gallagher 196 Is Labor a Political Force in China? Ching Kwan Lee 228 Between Defiance and Obedience: Protest Opportunism in China Xi Chen 253 In Search of theGrassroots: Hydroelectric Politics in Northwest Yunnan Ralph Litzinger 282 Public Opinion Supervision: Possibilities and Limits of the Media in Constraining Local Officials Yuezhi Zhao Sun Wusan 300 Notes 327 Contributors 399