Citizen Participation at the Local Level in China and Canada: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Citizen Participation at the Local Level in China and Canada

1st Edition

Edited by Andrew Sancton, Chen Zhenming


319 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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What, if anything, is similar about citizen participation at the local level in Canada and China? The answer, of course, is politically sensitive. There are many in Canada who would claim that the question is absurd. How can there be meaningful citizen participation in a country where there are significant restrictions on political activity, including on the right to form organizations with political purposes? Presenting the work of leading scholars, Citizen Participation at the Local Level in China and Canada examines how citizens in each country participate at the local level.

The book examines the development of citizen participation in local governance in Canada and China respectively. It then covers the characteristics of political culture and climate on local participation, highlighting factors especially unique to urban poor, class migration, and aboriginal and immigrant populations. The chapters also explore means of protest, demonstration, and articulation of preference by populations and issues where citizen participation has effected change such as land use, housing, urban development, and resource sustainability.

The book includes case studies that compare Canadian and Chinese communities and extrapolate interesting policy-level changes at the local level based on citizen behavior and involvement. It underscores the similarities and differences in political participation in both countries and sets the stage for the steps in the citizen participation in both countries.


"… the contributors to this book, including scholars from both countries, draw interesting conclusions from this unique comparison. Although there are significant restrictions on political participation in China, examining the similarities and differences between these two countries enables a unique discussion on topics as diverse as class migration and demonstration. The authors take a specific look at cases studies involving examples of citizen driven change of land use, housing, urban development, and resource sustainability."

Ringgold, Inc. Book News, February 2015

Table of Contents

Introduction to Citizen Participation at the Local Level in China and Canada: Comparative Cases, Andrew Sancton

The Paradox of Participation: An Overview of Public Participation and Local Government in Canada, Katherine A.H. Graham

The Development and Chinese Characteristics of Civic Participation in Local Governance: The Perspective of the Transformation of Governmental Functions, Chen Fang

Participation of the Urban Poor in Vancouver, Canada, Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly

Community-Based Poverty Alleviation: A Case Study of the Zhonghua Subdistrict in Xiamen, Ding Yu

Civic Mobilization for Environmental Protection, Yu Zhangbao

Citizen Action for Sustainable Development: Case Studies in London, Ontario, Canada, Carol Agócs and Kate Graham

Fight or Facilitate? Social Policy, Municipal Government, and Civil Society in an Economically Disadvantaged Canadian Region, Tom Urbaniak

Public Participation in Low-Rent Housing Policy: A Case Study of Xiamen, Meng Hua

Social Capital and Local Initiative Participation of Chinese Villagers: Analysis of Factors Affecting Villagers’ Participation in Village Committee Election, Hu Rong

Facilitating the Participation of Immigrant Students in Canada’s Schools, Jean Kunz

An Analysis of Urban Education Policies Pertaining to Migrant Workers’ Children, Li Xue

Newcomers to the City: Institutional and Noninstitutional Modes of Civic Participation for Newcomers in Ottawa, Caroline Andrew

Conclusion, Chen Zhenming


About the Editors

Andrew Sancton, a native of Montreal, earned his honors BA from Bishop’s University and his doctoral degree in politics from Oxford University. Most of his academic career has been spent as a professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario in London. He was chair of his department from 2000 until 2005, and was for many years the director of its local government program, which offers an MPA degree designed for local government managers. He was an expert witness in both the Toronto and Montreal court cases that unsuccessfully challenged the municipal amalgamations in those cities. Dr. Sancton is perhaps best known among municipal activists for Merger Mania: The Assault on Local Government (published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2000). His 2008 book, The Limits of Boundaries: Why City-Regions Cannot be Self-Governing, was one of five books short-listed that year for the Donner Prize for the best Canadian book on public policy. Dr. Sancton’s latest book is the second edition of Canadian Local Government: An Urban Perspective (Toronto: Oxford University Canada, 2014).

Chen Zhenming, a native of Guangdong, China, earned his honors BA from Sun Yat-sen University, his MA from Wuhan University, and his PhD from Renmin University of China. At various times he has been a visiting scholar at Ateneo De Manila University, Cornell University, Brigham Young University, Harvard University, German University of Administrative Science in Speyer, and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Most of his academic career has been spent as a professor of political science and public administration at Xiamen University in China. Since 2005 he has been the Yangtze River Scholar Distinguished Professor, a designation granted by the Chinese Ministry of Education. He has been dean of the School of Public Affairs since 2003. Previously, he was vice dean of the law school (1998–2003), chair of the Political Science and Public Administration Department (1999–2003), and director of the education division of the graduate school (1995–1998). Dr. Chen’s research interests focus on public administration, public policy, and political theory. He has been in charge of six research projects funded by the National Natural (or Social) Science Foundations. He has won 20 national and provincial prizes for his excellent research and education, and has been named Outstanding Chinese Social Scientist by Chinese media. He has published eight academic books, including Understanding Public Affairs, and many academic papers and translations. Dr. Chen has also edited a series of volumes on various subjects, including public administration and public services, public administration and political science, and classics of public policy.

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