Village Elections in the PRC - A Trojan Horse of Democracy?

Since the controversial passing of the Organic Law of Villager’s Committees in 1987, direct elections for the head and members of China’s village committees have seen continuous institutionalization. Consequently, research on village elections and their effects in terms of political mobilization and “democratic assertiveness” in the countryside has gained momentum in the last ten years. This paper summarizes the main results of recent research on village elections in the PRC as presented in selected Western and Chinese publications. It focuses on the theoretical concepts and methodical approaches applied and on the hypotheses which have been derived from the case studies so far. The purpose of the paper is to mark the main issues future research has to put on the agenda, when the overall “democratic potential” of local direct elections in China is investigated


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