Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 07/2009

Liberalisierung in Zeiten der Instabilität: Spielräume unkonventioneller Partizipation im autoritären Regime der VR China

Günter Schucher

June 2009

German Institute of Global and Area Studies


Liberalization in Times of Instability: Margins of Unconventional Participation in Chinese Authoritarianism

Unconventional participation is by no means regime-threatening per se, not even in an authoritarian regime like China. On the contrary, the Chinese government has been able to generate legitimacy by tolerating certain forms of unconventional participation and by lo-calizing the responsibility for solving conflicts. The current leadership in Beijing has chosen these strategies to channel protests, co-opt civic society, and avoid blame-complementary to rather repressive forms of governance. An evaluation of protest events shows that the government has succeeded in containing protests quantitatively as well as qualita-tively (that is, in terms of scope and the potential threat to the political system) through the extension of opportunities to air grievances.