Taxation without Representation in Contemporary Rural China

By Ong, Lynette | The China Journal, January 2004 | Go to article overview

Taxation without Representation in Contemporary Rural China


Ong, Lynette, The China Journal


Taxation Without Representation in Contemporary Rural China, by Thomas P. Bernstein and Xiaobo Lu. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. xviii + 282 pp. US$70.00 (hardcover).

This book is an excellent resource on the distribution of political power and financial responsibilities in rural China and the authority of local officials vis-à-vis the central government and peasants. It also examines the effectiveness of village democracy in reducing unjustified taxation burdens, and explores the question of whether peasant uprisings and incipient rural democratization are sowing the seeds for widespread political liberalization. Overall, the book illuminates the relationship between fiscal decentralization, central-local government relations, peasant tax burdens, rural regional disparities and village democracy-interrelated subjects that too often have been studied in isolation.

Bernstein and Lu suggest that the taxation problems have historical roots. In Imperial China, like today, the regime was unable to design, implement or enforce an equitable taxation system and had to rely heavily on informal, ad hoc ways of financing that gave rise to widespread corruption. Then as now, unjustified taxes became the single most important instigation or catalyst to popular rebellion, known as guanbi minfan (officials driving the people to rebel). During the Maoist years, though taxation was less of a cause of rural discontent, planned industrialization gave rise to an urban bias in policies that extracted resources from the agricultural sector. In particular, the central procurement of grain at state-set prices that were often below market prices and the sale of industrial inputs to farmers at high state-determined prices created a "scissors effect" that discriminated against the rural sector. This "hidden burden" continues until today.

The fiscal decentralization initiated in the early 1980s made local governments responsible for balancing local budgets based on revenues and expenditures, which stimulated local development by allowing local governments to keep their surplus revenue. In doing so, local governments concentrated resources in developing township and village enterprises (TVEs) at the expense of agricultural development, and frequently resorted to off-budget funding to finance the provision of essential public services, such as education and health care. Studies by economists and a recent World Bank report by Christine Wong provide evidence that regional disparities and uneven development have been exacerbated, since poor provinces that run chronic budget deficits fail to provide basic infrastructure, while rich provinces are able to play a developmental role using the revenues from local enterprises. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Taxation without Representation in Contemporary Rural China
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.