Populist Authoritarianism: Chinese Political Culture and Regime Sustainability

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Oxford University Press, 2016 - Political Science - 220 pages
Populist Authoritarianism focuses on the Chinese Communist Party, which governs the world's largest population in a single-party authoritarian state. Wenfang Tang attempts to explain the seemingly contradictory trends of the increasing number of protests on the one hand, and the results ofpublic opinion surveys that consistently show strong government support on the other hand. The book points to the continuity from the CCP's revolutionary experiences to its current governing style, even though China has changed in many ways on the surface in the post-Mao era.The book proposes a theoretical framework of Populist Authoritarianism with six key elements, including the Mass Line ideology, accumulation of social capital, public political activism and contentious politics, a government that is responsive to hype, weak political and civil institutions, and ahigh level of regime trust. These traits of Populist Authoritarianism are supported by empirical evidence drawn from multiple public opinion surveys conducted from 1987 to 2014. Although the CCP currently enjoys strong public support, such a system is inherently vulnerable due to its institutionaldeficiency. Public opinion can swing violently due to policy failure and the up and down of a leader or an elite faction. The drastic change of public opinion cannot be filtered through political institutions such as elections and the rule of law, creating system-wide political earthquakes.
 

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Contents

1 Chinese Political Culture and Regime Sustainability
1
2 Authoritarian Regime Sustainability
20
3 Nationalism and Regime Sustainability
42
4 Interpersonal Trust and Regime Sustainability
58
5 Political Trust in China and Taiwan with Joseph Yingnan Zhou and Ray Ou Yang
74
6 RegimeInspired Contentious Politics
100
7 Individual Dispute Resolution
118
An Experimental Study with Yang Zhang
134
A Preliminary Theoretical Discussion
152
Appendices
167
Notes
191
References
197
Index
213
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About the author (2016)


Wenfang Tang is Professor of Political Science, Chair of Chinese Culture and Institutions, and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Iowa

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