Lessons of New Democracies for China

Lessons of New Democracies for China Many have studied whether China will democratize in the near future, but few have asked what would happen to China if China were to democratize. This paper sets out to explore this question in light of lessons from new democracies. Four lessons are drawn from new democracies. First is the importance of balancing state capacity and social power. Second is that the role of political elites can sometimes be more decisive than structural factors. Third is that culture might matter more than institutions. Fourth is the need to avoid the pitfall of economic populism. Reviewing China’s conditions through the lens of these lessons, this paper argues that factors such as state capacity, socio-economic conditions and a culture of pragmatism favor democratic consolidation in China, but the lure of “strongman” populist-authoritarianism, the tradition of uncompromising political elites and fundamentalist nationalism could sabotage a transition to democracy. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Chinese Political Science Springer Journals

Lessons of New Democracies for China

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science
ISSN
1080-6954
eISSN
1874-6357
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11366-017-9493-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Many have studied whether China will democratize in the near future, but few have asked what would happen to China if China were to democratize. This paper sets out to explore this question in light of lessons from new democracies. Four lessons are drawn from new democracies. First is the importance of balancing state capacity and social power. Second is that the role of political elites can sometimes be more decisive than structural factors. Third is that culture might matter more than institutions. Fourth is the need to avoid the pitfall of economic populism. Reviewing China’s conditions through the lens of these lessons, this paper argues that factors such as state capacity, socio-economic conditions and a culture of pragmatism favor democratic consolidation in China, but the lure of “strongman” populist-authoritarianism, the tradition of uncompromising political elites and fundamentalist nationalism could sabotage a transition to democracy.

Journal

Journal of Chinese Political ScienceSpringer Journals

Published: May 5, 2017

References

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