You are on page 1of 24

Political Participation

A passive citizenry?

Political Participation

``actions undertaken by ordinary citizens that are intended, directly or indirectly, to influence the selection of government personnel and/or the policy decisions they make”

 Institutional context.In Liberal Democracies Voting in elections is only one of the activities of political participation. especially the party system. has a clear impact on electoral or other forms of political participation.  .

Totalitarian Model of Political Participation Citizens were involved in politics only when mobilized by the party-state to implement policies already made.  The author of ``Political Participation in the USSR" (1979) suggested that his book might as well be subtitled ``How and why do Soviet politics involve the people?"  .

In Mainland China  From ``mobilized” political participation to ``optional” political participation” .

``Political Participation in Communist China” (1967) ``mass line” emphasizes direct contact between cadres and masses as the surest means of eliciting popular participation and keeping political leaders in touch with popular demands  In broadest terms. Communist mobilization of the masses has politicized an apolitical population.  .

``Citizens and Groups in Contemporary China” (1987)  ``Chinese citizens do in fact regularly pursue their interests with a repertoire of tactics tailored to these constraints” .

with ``good" class origins and some education. males. who were strong.``Political Participation in Rural China” (1988)  In general. participated at higher rates. and in their working prime. . skilled.

would be rare in a liberal democracy. like reporting to the ``letters and visits offices" or utilizing patron-client relations. such as donations for opposition parties or voting for government leaders.  . do not exist.Participatory Activities in Mainland China Some common political activities in a democracy.  Other forms of activities.

25 0.28 0.32 0.19 .87 0.Five Participatory Modes Mean score Appeals Adversarial activities Cronyism Resistance Protest 1988 0.04 0.34 0.22 0.16 0.05 1996 1.

Appeals Complain through the bureaucratic hierarchy  Complain through political organizations  Complain through the trade unions  Complain through deputies to local people’s congresses …  .

Adversarial activities Write letters to newspaper editors  Write letters to government officials at higher levels  Complain through the ``letters and visits” bureaus …  .

Cronyism Use connections  Send gifts to bureaucrats in exchange for help …  .

Resistance Slow-down on the job  Whip up public opinion in work units against leaders  Organize a group of people to fight against leaders …  .

Protest Strike  Participate in demonstration  Sue bureaucrats in court …  .

328.000 residents have had at least some college education  1.060 (2001)  61 institutions of higher education.28 million CCP members  .Political Participation in Beijing (Shi 1999)  Peculiarities about Beijing: Capital of the PRC  Per capita GDP US$3. with total enrollment of 340.000  2.

Explanatory variables of political participation Education  Political interest  Political efficacy  Political knowledge  Civic skills  Party mobilization …  .

Political efficacy  Internal efficacy: beliefs about one’s own competence to understand and participate in politics External efficacy: beliefs about the responsiveness of governmental authorities and institutions to citizen demands  .

Shi’s findings in Beijing General level of education increased from 1988 to 1996  People became more concerned with politics and governmental affairs  Internal efficacy became stronger  Frequency and intensity of political activism increased  .

Shi’s findings in Beijing Both adversarial activities and protest increased substantially between 1988 and 1996  Government activity and education became increasingly important in influencing the level and intensity of political participation  .

Shi (1999)’s Conclusion  Beijing residents have become more politically sophisticated and more assertive in the articulation of their interests .

Compared with TW & HK  traditional orientation moral government  moral leader  state precedes over individual  elitism (better educated)  paternalism  stability above pluralism  .

Traditional orientation  People with traditional orientation tend to be: less educated  older  living in villages and towns  employed in blue-collar jobs   fairly consistent across the 3 societies .

Effect on political participation education is a most important factor  the impact of political interest is far more pronounced in TW & HK  Party membership in ML  HK: more individually-based  traditional orientation has the least influence  .