Economic development and mass political participation in contemporary China: Determinants of provincial petition (Xinfang) activism 1994-2002

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid economic development has increased mass political participation in market reform China. Many electoral authoritarian regimes with a good record of economic development have experienced the growing participation of elite/middle-class citizens. Under the Chinese Communist Party regime, however, the poor mass is the main group to participate drastically more. This is because despite rapid aggregate growth, the mass have suffered extensively from excessive exploitation with high levels of corruption and inequality, which benefits many local elites. The regime has evaded authoritarian election but channeled such mounting participatory demands into an extensive petition (Xinfang) institution nationwide. As a result, the mass petition activism has rapidly increased since the early 1990s. This article finds the specific determinants of such petition activism with newly assembled data on provincial petition frequency and multiple case studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-120
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Political Science Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this