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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”. In Liberal Democracies.

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Political Participation

A passive citizenry?

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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”

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In Liberal Democracies

  • Voting in elections is only one of the activities of political participation.

  • Institutional context, especially the party system, has a clear impact on electoral or other forms of political participation.

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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?"

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In Mainland China

  • From ``mobilized” political participation to ``optional” political participation”

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``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.

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``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”

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``Political Participation in Rural China” (1988)

  • In general, males, with ``good" class origins and some education, who were strong, skilled, and in their working prime, participated at higher rates.

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Participatory Activities in Mainland China

  • Some common political activities in a democracy, such as donations for opposition parties or voting for government leaders, do not exist.

  • Other forms of activities, like reporting to the ``letters and visits offices" or utilizing patron-client relations, would be rare in a liberal democracy.

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  • Complain through the bureaucratic hierarchy

  • Complain through political organizations

  • Complain through the trade unions

  • Complain through deputies to local people’s congresses

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Adversarial activities

  • Write letters to newspaper editors

  • Write letters to government officials at higher levels

  • Complain through the ``letters and visits” bureaus

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  • Use connections

  • Send gifts to bureaucrats in exchange for help

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  • Slow-down on the job

  • Whip up public opinion in work units against leaders

  • Organize a group of people to fight against leaders

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  • Strike

  • Participate in demonstration

  • Sue bureaucrats in court

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Political Participation in Beijing (Shi 1999)

  • Peculiarities about Beijing:

    • Capital of the PRC

    • Per capita GDP US$3,060 (2001)

    • 61 institutions of higher education, with total enrollment of 340,000

    • 2,328,000 residents have had at least some college education

    • 1.28 million CCP members

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Explanatory variables of political participation

  • Education

  • Political interest

  • Political efficacy

  • Political knowledge

  • Civic skills

  • Party mobilization

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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

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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

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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

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Shi (1999)’s Conclusion

  • Beijing residents have become more politically sophisticated and more assertive in the articulation of their interests

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Compared with TW & HK

  • traditional orientation

    • moral government

    • moral leader

    • state precedes over individual

    • elitism (better educated)

    • paternalism

    • stability above pluralism

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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

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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