Marketization and Democracy in China: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Marketization and Democracy in China

1st Edition

By Jianjun Zhang


278 pages

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pub: 2009-12-15
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Since China began an era of market reform three decades ago, many Westerners believed that, political liberalization and, eventually, democracy would follow. However, contrary to Western expectations, China remains an authoritarian country and the communist party is still in power, even though the country has witnessed rapid economic growth and its people have become richer.

In Marketization and Democracy in China, Jianjun Zhang questions whether China’s market reforms have created favorable social conditions for democracy, whether the country’s emerging entrepreneurial class will serve as the democratic social base, and the role of government in the process of transition. Based upon a careful analysis of two regions—Sunan and Wenzhou —the two prototypical local development patterns in China, Zhang finds that different patterns of economic development have produced distinct local-level social and political configurations, only one of which is likely to foster the growth of democratic practices. The results suggest that China’s political future is largely dependent upon the emerging class structure and offer a warning on China’s development: if market reforms and economic development only enrich a few, then democratic transition will be unlikely.

Marketization and Democracy in China will be of interest to scholars of Chinese politics, political science and development studies.


'Dr Zhang's book has a very clear thesis, and looks at a further dimension of this issue of partial democratisation and participation in major decision-making in China' - Kerry Brown, Asian Affairs, March 2009

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Part 1: Development Patterns and the Evolution of Property Rights 2. Emergence of the Two Development Patterns 3. Changing Power Relations 4. Privatization of TVEs Part 2: Class Structure and Elite Relations 5. Polarized versus Equalized Class Structure 6. Elite Relations in Sunan 7. Elite Relations in Wenzhou Part 3: Political Consequences 8. Top-down versus Bottom-up Business Associations 9. Controlled versus Competitive Village Elections 10. Conclusion

About the Author

Jianjun Zhang is Assistant Professor in the Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, China.

About the Series

Routledge Studies on China in Transition

The spectacular economic development of China has raised many questions about its future. China in Transition participates in the intellectual developments by focusing on social, political and cultural change in the China of the 1990s and beyond. Drawing on new research from scholars in Asia, Australia, North America and Europe, this series is invaluable in monitoring reform and interpreting the consequences for China, its neighbours and the West.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / International / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies