The Woodrow Wilson Center Press
Popular Political Support in Urban China
Has the current political system in the People's Republic of China lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the Chinese public? On the basis of three carefully drawn surveys of Beijing residents between 1995 and 1999, the author finds that diffuse support for the current political system—based on attitudes toward institutions and values—remains strong, at least among city-dwellers, though it is gradually declining. Specific support for current political authorities, as measured by evaluations of their performance in major policy domains, is much weaker, with many citizens evaluating the authorities' performance as mediocre.
In analyzing the longitudinal data presented here, the author finds that the same set of key sociodemographic attributes and sociopolitical orientations variably influence citizens' attitudes toward the political system and their evaluations of leaders' performance. Further, the study shows that citizens' attitudes toward the system, on the one hand, and their evaluation of incumbents' performance on the other, have different impacts on forms of political participation, such as voting and contacting authorities.
What People are Saying
"This is a very impressive study on political support in China. It isremarkably well-written, one of the best examples I have seen of makingsurvey data understandable to general readers. The author bases hisanalysis on an extensive reading of the relevant literature on thetheoretical issue of support, and on findings from previous studies of democraticcountries, the former Soviet Union, and China. It will be a welcomeaddition to these various bodies of literature."-- Bruce Dickson, Professor of Political Science, George Washington University
"This manuscript is a welcome addition to the public opinion literature onChina. The application of diffuse and specific support to China isinnovative. The three surveys at three time periods are valuable indiscussing trends [of popular political support]."-- Wenfang Tang, Professor of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh
List of Tables and Figures Acknowledgments Chapter 1. Introduction Chapter 2. The Extent of Popular Political Support in Beijing Chapter 3. Relationship between Diffuse and Specific Support Chapter 4. Sources of Diffuse Support Chapter 5. Sources of Specific Support Chapter 6. The Behavioral Consequences of Political Support Chapter 7. Conclusion: Empirical Findings and Their Implications Appendix A: Reliabilities of the Diffuse and Specific Support Indexes Appendix B: Supplemental Information about the Distribution of Diffuse and Specific Support References Index