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The Transformation of Governance in Rural China
Market, Finance, and Political Authority

£29.99

  • Author: An Chen, National University of Singapore
  • Date Published: November 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107442078

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  • The outbreak of organised, violent peasant protests across the Chinese countryside from the late 1990s to the early 2000s has attracted much scholarly interest. In this study, An Chen endeavours to understand from these protests the question of the Chinese government's control in the countryside and the impact of this violent resistance on China's rural governance in the context of market liberalisation. Utilising extensive field research and data collected from surveys across rural China, the book provides an in-depth exploration of how rural governance in China has been transformed following two major tax reforms: the tax-for-fee reform of 2002–4, and the abolition of agricultural taxes (AAT) in 2005–6. In a multidimensional analysis which combines approaches from political science, economics, finance and sociology, Chen argues that private economic power has merged with political power in a way that has reshaped village governance in China, threatening to fundamentally change its political structure.

    • Explores the impact of two major tax reforms in China's rural governance
    • Draws from extensive fieldwork to provide fresh evidence and viewpoints on China's rural politics
    • Evaluates the unique trajectory of China's rural political development
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a thorough and comprehensive analysis of China's rural politics during the reform era. The author traces the effect of the dramatic changes - decollectivization, marketization, privatization, tax reforms - on the power and status of grassroots cadres. He argues that in major parts of rural China village cadres have lost both administrative as well as the redistributive power to allocate public good. The result has been a crisis of rural governance. The exception is a large group of new leaders who combine both entrepreneurial and political roles, but who also pose an implicit challenge to Party control. The book is the result of twelve years of research, using all applicable methods. The author deals skillfully with the increasing complexity of the rural political, economic, and social landscape. The rich detail of this excellent book will challenge readers but those who persist will be amply rewarded.' Thomas P. Bernstein, Columbia University, New York

    'Despite China's rapid economic development and urbanization, rural China continues to be home for more than half of the Chinese population. A keen and long-term observer of developments in rural China, An Chen has written a rich and insightful volume on how economic, financial and social changes have reshaped the nature of governance in rural China in the last twenty years. This book should be read by anyone interested in a better understanding of the foundations of Communist Party rule in China.' Dali L. Yang, University of Chicago

    'A new entry to an old debate about marketization that draws together research on political economy and rural cadres to tell us much about 'governing capacity' in the Chinese countryside.' Kevin J. O'Brien, University of California, Berkeley

    'For better and for worse, there is little governance in rural China. An Chen documents how abolishing onerous agricultural taxes has eroded - not restored - government authority, and how villagers disregard local officials with meagre resources while the officials ignore a central government that does little for them.' Samuel L. Popkin, University of California, San Diego

    'In The Transformation of Governance in Rural China, An Chen provides a persuasive and insightful study on the evolving nature of rural governance in China, based on extensive data.' The Journal of Asian Studies

    'The Transformation of Governance in Rural China is an excellent, comprehensive, and thorough analysis of the impact of marketization and economic reforms on rural governance in China. This is a timely study because the steady rise of rural collective violence calls into question the regime's governing capacity in the vast Chinese countryside.' Jin Zeng, Journal of Chinese Political Science

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107442078
    • length: 407 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • contains: 12 b/w illus. 30 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The changing foundations of Communist rule in China's rural society
    3. The 1994 tax reform and rural fiscal crises
    4. The township in the era of reform
    5. The mechanisms of political power in villages
    6. Village finance: its deterioration and consequences
    7. The abolition of agricultural taxes and village governance
    8. Transformed peasant society and realignment in rural politics
    9. Entrepreneur cadres as new rural ruling elites
    10. Prospects for China's rural governance
    Appendices
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    An Chen, National University of Singapore
    An Chen (Ph.D., Yale University, Connecticut) is Associate Professor of Political Science at the National University of Singapore and a former Senior Research Fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He is the author of Restructuring Political Power in China: Alliances and Opposition, 1978–1998 (1999). His recent publications have appeared in Politics and Society, Political Science Quarterly, Modern Asian Studies, China Quarterly, Modern China, Democratization, the Journal of Democracy, and the Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics.

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