Anna L. Ahlers and Gunter Schubert (2013). Strategic Modelling: “Building a New Socialist Countryside” in Three Chinese Counties . The China Quarterly, 216, pp 831-849. doi:10.1017/S0305741013001045.
Models, pilots and experiments are considered distinctive features of the Chinese policy process. However, empirical studies on local modelling practices are rare. This article analyses the ways in which three rural counties in three different provinces engage in strategies of modelling and piloting to implement the central government’s “Building a New Socialist Countryside” (shehuizhuyi xinnongcun jianshe) programme. It explains how county and township governments apply these strategies and to what effect. It also highlights the scope and limitations of local models and pilots as useful mechanisms for spurring national development. The authors plead for a fresh look at local modelling practices, arguing that these can tell us much about the realities of governance in rural China today.
More information at The China Quarterly: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305741013001045
Tang, Beibei (2014). The Discursive Turn: deliberative governance in China’s urbanized villages. Journal of Contemporary China, Prepublished June, 24, 2014. DOI:10.1080/10670564.2014.918414
This article examines local governance and citizen participation in China through unstructured public deliberation. Case studies from two urbanized villages show that unstructured, informal public deliberation potentially leads to more autonomy and diverse channels for pursuing citizens’ appeals at the local level, along with increased consideration given by local government to grassroots requests relating to practical governance matters. Although taking place outside formal political institutions, unstructured public deliberation can exert influences on policy or decision-making inside government organizations through well-coordinated transmission mechanisms between the public and the local government. During this process, well-resourced community organizations and actors play a vital role through their bridging functions to produce dynamic relations of deliberative governance. This bridging role serves to deliver deliberative outcomes from the public sphere to the decision-making authorities, and it also includes the collection of feedback on policy as well as the means to negotiate for policy adjustment by facilitating a policy implementation process.
Shi, Fayong (2014). Improving local governance without challenging the State: the middle-class protest in urban China. China: An International Journal, 12 (1), pp. 153-162.
The first decade of the new century had seen an increase in rights-protection protests in urban China. The main participants of these protests were local middle-class residents who initiated protests to raise issues on specific economic and social problems as opposed to abstract sociopolitical issues. They have started to claim rights which were granted to citizens by law in principle but never actually delivered. The sociopolitical changes facilitate the emergence and success of middle-class protests, which in turn have contributed to the improvement of local governance and positively reshaped local politics. However, their influence on the macro political structure of China remains to be seen.