Taxation Without Representation in Contemporary Rural China

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 27, 2003 - Business & Economics - 282 pages
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The financial burden imposed upon the Chinese farmer by local taxes has become a major source of discontent in the Chinese countryside and a worrisome source of political and social instability for the Chinese government. Bernstein and Lü examine the forms and sources of heavy, informal taxation, and shed light on how peasants defend their interests by adopting strategies of collective resistance (both peaceful and violent). Bernstein and Lü also explain why the central government, while often siding with the peasants, has not been able to solve the burden problem by instituting a sound, reliable financial system in the countryside. While the regime has, to some extent, sought to empower farmers to defend their interests - by informing them about tax rules, expanding the legal system, and instituting village elections, for example, these attempts have not yet generated enough power from 'below' to counter powerful, local official agencies.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Central and Local States
7
Rural Society and Peasant Collective Action
13
Overview of the Chapters
17
Peasants and Taxation in Historical Perspective
20
Rural Taxation in the Late Qing and Republican Periods
25
Taxes and the Communist Revolution
31
The Primacy of Grain Procurements
36
Individual and Collective Protest and Violence
120
Incipient Social Movements?
137
Leaders Organization and Coordination
146
Potential Allies
157
Conclusion
165
Containing Burdens Change and Persistence
166
Exhortations Regulations and Campaigns
167
Letters and Visits and the Role of the Media
177

Conclusion
46
Extracting Funds from the Peasants
48
An Overview
50
The TVE Factor
68
Lack of Accountability and Brutality of Enforcement
73
Institutional Sources of Informal Tax Burdens
84
Developmental Pressures and Incentives
88
Chinas Expanding Bureaucracy
96
Muddled Finances and the Rural Funding Crisis
105
Embedded Corruption
109
Conclusion
114
Burdens and Resistance Peasant Collective Action
116
Enabling Villagers to Seek Legal Redress
190
Toward Effective Institutional Change
197
Conclusion
204
Burden Reduction Village Democratization and Farmer National Interest Representation
206
The Impact of Village Democratization on Burdens
207
Strengthening Farmer Interest Representation at the Center
224
A National Farmers Association?
231
Conclusion
239
Conclusions
241
Bibliography
253
Index
271
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About the author (2003)

Bernstein is a professor of political science and member of the East Asian Institute, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.

Xiaobo Lü is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Barnard College.