The Political Economy of Rural Development in China, 1978-1999

By Weixing Chen | Go to book overview

6
Village Elections for Self-Government

The National People's Congress (NPC) passed the Organic Law of Villagers' Committees (Organic Law hereafter) in November 1987. According to the Organic Law, Village Committee (VC) members are chosen in popular elections, in which all adult, registered villagers have the right to vote and stand for office. The ministry of Civil Affairs decreed on September 26, 1990, that village elections must be held. Four rounds of elections for the VC have been held since 1990 in some places in China's countryside.

The central question concerning village elections is why an authoritarian regime would promote grassroots democratic reform. I pointed out in chapter 5 that village elections was a state response to the peasant challenge. In this chapter, I address the question of why village elections are just the most recent phase of governmental attempts to improve the Chinese peasants' welfare and to strengthen the state. I discuss why cunmin zizhi (villagers' self-government) is a tool of the state for reorganizing peasants and then look at political participation in historical perspective. Next, I examine the political economy of cunmin zizhi. Finally, I highlight the factors that will determine the fate of village elections.


REORGANIZING PEASANTS THROUGH ELECTIONS

The Chinese have not paid much attention to village elections since their introduction in 1990, although the West has shown a strong inter

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The Political Economy of Rural Development in China, 1978-1999
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Abbreviations xv
  • 1 - Ideology and Economic Development 1
  • Notes 26
  • 2 - A Party of Economics and Market-Oriented Communal Socialism 29
  • Notes 45
  • 3 - The Dengist Reform in Historical Perspective 47
  • Notes 68
  • 4 - The Village Conglomerate: A New Form of Political Economy 71
  • Notes 98
  • 5 - The Peasant Challenge at the Turn of the Century 101
  • Notes 117
  • 6 - Village Elections for Self-Government 119
  • Notes 134
  • 7 - A New Ideological Discourse: Deng Xiaoping Theory 137
  • Notes 153
  • 8 - Understanding the Political Economy of Development 155
  • Notes 161
  • Bibliography 163
  • Index 169
  • About the Author *
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