1st Edition

Assessing the Balance of Power in Central-Local Relations in China

Edited By John Donaldson Copyright 2017
    248 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    248 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    How do we understand the evolution of central-local relations in China during the reform period? This book addresses this question by focusing on eight separate issues in which the central-local relationship has been especially salient – government finance, investment control, regional development, administrative zoning, implementation, culture, social welfare and international relations. Each chapter introduces a sector and the way the center and various local governments have shared or divided power over the different periods of China’s reform era. The balance of power is gauged dynamically over time to measure the extent to which one level of government dominates, influences or shares power in making decisions in each of these particular domains, as well as what is likely to occur in the foreseeable future. The authors assess the winners and losers of these changes among key actors in China’s society. The result provides a dynamic view of China’s changing power relations.

    1. Introduction: Understanding Central-Local Relations in China (John A. Donaldson)

    2. Central-Provincial Power Relations in the Fiscal Realm of China, 1980-2014 (S. Philip Hsu)

    3. China’s Perforated Investment Control, 1978-2013 (Yukyung Yeo)

    4. China's Regional Development Policy (Long Yang)

    5. China’s Administrative Hierarchy: The Balance of Power and Winners and Losers Within China’s Levels of Government (John A. Donaldson)

    6. Implementation: Changing Norms, Issue-Variance, and Unending Tugs of War (Jae Ho Chung)

    7. China’s Culture Policy and the Central-Local Relationship (Tse-Kang Leng)

    8. Recentralization in China’s Social Welfare Regime (Xufeng Zhu)

    9. Central-Local Interactions in Foreign Affairs (Mingjiang Li)


    John Donaldson is Associate Professor of Political Science at the School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University (SMU). Over the last decade, Professor Donaldson has authored and co-authored numerous journal and conference papers as well as other academic publications on issues such as poverty reduction and economic growth in China, the transformation of China’s agrarian system and central-provincial relations in China. John Donaldson is the author of Small Works: Poverty and Economic Development in Southwestern China (Cornell University Press, 2011). His research has also been published in such journals as World Development, International Studies Quarterly, Politics and Society, China Journal, China Quarterly and Journal of Contemporary China.

    "an informative book on the varied aspects of the relations between the local and central level with the interesting finding that the trend in recent years.is more into decentralization on the economical field while recentralization is taking place on the social field."

    Jan Jonckheere, Chinasquare

    "this book opens new venues for studies of central-local relations in China, compiling arguments that used to be separated and offering a solid base on which to draw further research. It should be a starting point for anyone seeking to understand the consequences of decentralisation and re-centralisation in post-1978 China."

    Camille Boullenois, China Perspectives