Chinese Politics

Chinese Politics Final Papers

Aberle, Connor. 2016. Comparative Analysis of Indonesian and Chinese Nationalist Youth Groups

Nationalist youth groups look starkly different in China and Indonesia, yet there are similarities between these groups in different time periods. The social role Chinese and Indonesian youth groups play and their tactics have been documented prior to this paper. The change in youth groups over time is not frequently studied, however. This paper compiles and compares the history of nationalist youth groups in Indonesia and China and compares the tactics of youth groups from these two countries. Youth groups from each of these nations were instrumental to their revolutionary history, and in times of political tumult youth groups from both cases adopted more violent tactics. The political direction of these countries diverged in the past with Indonesia under violent competition for who gets to rule the country. The legacy of instability perpetuates the violent paramilitary role of youth organizations in Indonesia. In China, the consistency of the Chinese Communist Party rule and the lack of legitimate political rivals enables nationalist youth groups there to be a docile mouthpiece for the party in power. The commonality between these two cases throughout history is the political power each achieve: Indonesian groups gain power through violence and Chinese groups gain power through connections and lobbying their government.

Algrant, Isabel. 2018. Resistance, Dissidence, and Trust: A study of forms of resistance and trust in rural China

This paper discusses two reasons the government tolerates dissidence in China. A combination of government strategy and rural trust dynamics provide the government leeway in how they react to acts of resistance in rural areas. This paper will discuss how government strategy and trust dynamics interact and play off of each other to create stability even in the face of public dissent.

Asher, Mattison. 2015.  Income Disparity in Rural China

China’s economic growth in the past thirty years has been nothing short of miraculous. While the rapid growth in China has been a tremendous asset for the country, the growth has come at a hefty cost. As GDP has risen in China, income disparity has become a prevalent problem. A question that researchers have failed to examine is why income disparity is also raising within inland rural China. Because of policies that favor cities for development in rural areas and the restructuring of agricultural policy, income inequality is growing throughout inland China and the problem is being exacerbated by the favoritism of local officials for the already established unprofitable SOEs.

Bennett, Zachary. 2018. The Endurance of China’s “Democratic Parties”

Despite China’s status as a one-party state, there are eight legal non-CCP parties.  These parties typically appeal to China’s intellectual class.  The CCP has allowed these “democratic parties” to survive because these parties do not pose a threat to the CCP’s power and because the CCP believes that these parties can assist it in ruling China.  These factors have maintained the existence of the democratic parties during the Hundred Flowers Campaign, the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Square protests, and the present day.

Buckingham, Erica. 2018.  Analyzing Alliances: Chinese Involvement on the Korean Peninsula

This paper analyzes Chinese involvement on the Korean peninsula.  It seeks to explain why China is so invested in Korea, and what role it plays in inter-Korea relations. Beginning with a historical look at Chinese influence in Korea from the Sui through Qing Dynasties, this paper then examines three more recent cases where China’s relationship with Korea has changed: the Korean War, the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Korea in 1992, and the Kim Jong Un era.  After explaining the circumstances of these cases and examining the results, this paper concludes that Chinese involvement in Korea is motivated by the need to address regional security threats and the desire to grow economically.

Canfield, Jonathan. 2018. Alignment of Southeast Asia: Comparative Analysis of China and Japan’s Differing Strategies of Investment and Security

 Southeast Asia has played an increasingly greater role in redirecting the influence of large powers like China and Japan to the region. This paper seeks to uncover why China and Japan’s methods of engagement with Southeast Asia differ on security and investment, despite sharing similar policy goals rooted in cooperation and outreach. Even though China has surpassed Japan’s investment with a Sino-centric approach to infrastructure, known as the Belt-and-Road Initiative, China’s security ambitions have limited its ability to advance ties. Japan, however, has continued to deepen bilateral and multilateral relations through its inclusive security framework and ‘quality’ investment projects. As such, Japan has largely offered a favorable and alternative model to Southeast Asian countries, while amplifying concerns of China’s security presence and economic governance. 

Carroll-Cabanes, Alexander.  2018. Protesting Marginalization: The Contentious Politics of Chinese Migrant Workers

China’s economic growth in the past four decades can be largely attributed to the cheap labor provided by the more than 280 million rural migrant workers. Despite their contributions, migrants are excluded from the social and political environment of the cities they occupy. Nonetheless, they have been able to devise adaptive forms of protests that have proven successful in improving their living and working conditions. This paper will point to the hukou system and the lack of social networks as reasons for the marginalization of Chinese migrant workers. This marginalization paired with a suppressive authoritarian regime has limited their ability to participate in contentious politics to improve their conditions. Lastly, through two case studies, a 2004 Pearl River Delta labor strike, and a 2003 incident involving the death of Sun Zhigang, this paper will illustrate the methods that migrant workers have used to adapt to their situation and overcome their limitations.

Carrillo, Devon. 2016. Music’s Influence on Chinese Politics

Over the course of human history music has been a source of entertainment as well as an art form. Some cultures use music during religious ceremonies or for specific traditions. Others tend to just listen to music for pleasure or even create it. Today music has evolved into a source of entertainment that has many aspects to it. Music can be used as a source of information for example. An artists expressing themselves through song maybe about a particular issue that is going on in our society. Artists use their work in order to relay a particular message about something. Now what happens when the government gets involved? During the 1900’s to the present, China’s government has manipulated music in order to promote particular political agendas. When first thinking about this question it was quite puzzling, because how exactly could music influence politics?

Carter, Princeton. 2018. Tibetan Gentrification

This paper uses gentrification theory to analyze the process of development in Tibet and explain why the level of public protest in Tibet has been declining in recent years even as Han populations in the region continue to grow.

Chen, Jonathan Zhuo. 2016. Governmental Embedment in Profit and Non-Profit Sectors: Case of China.

China has enjoyed thirty years seemingly unstoppable high speed economic growth. During the new Xi Era, Chinese government starts a reform aimed at anti-corruption and contractionary welfare provision policy to combat economic and social challenges. This paper seeks to explain why different types of government embedment in two provinces results in different societal and economic reaction to the reform. By examining Guangdong and Liaoning, two provinces in China, this paper concludes, that a state-in-society embedded mode is the key for economic development and societal betterment, that the extent of governmental embedment with the society in private for profit sectors, must balance the level of embedment in non-profit sectors. A highly embedded for profit sector without strong embedded non-profit sector would create social tensions. A highly embedded non-profit sector without strong embedded for-profit sector would create non-sustainable economy and fiscal failures.

Chong, Bryan. 2018. Party Politics in Hong Kong: The Decline of Democracy

Alliances, betrayals, and convergences — with a history marred by splits and fractures, Hong Kong’s opposition camp of pan-democrats have struggled to maintain a united front against Beijing and its pro-establishment allies in the city’s legislature. This paper details and dissects this path of disintegration of the pan-democrats through studying three crucial elections in Hong Kong’s political history since its return to China in 1997, and concludes that the various parties in the pan-democratic bloc started to differ in both methodology and ideology.

Dreyfus, Daniel. 2016. The Rise of Gambling in Macau since 1999.

Following its handover to China in 1999, the former Portuguese territory of Macau saw its gambling industry rapidly become the largest in the world, with total gaming revenue peaking at roughly $45 billion in 2014. Most accounts of the industry’s growth in this period have focused on the introduction of the Individual Visit Scheme in China, which allowed Chinese tourists to visit Macau without a tour group beginning in 2004, and the liberalization of gambling, which allowed multiple companies to operate casinos in Macau rather than a single government-sanctioned monopoly. In this paper, I argue that developments prior to 1999, namely the industry’s modernization by the STDM monopoly and increasing Macau’s real-estate space via land reclamation, were essential for the industry’s long-term growth and that liberalization was beneficial, but not essential for that growth.

Ellis, Joey. 2016. The Fluctuating Growth of the Chinese Film Industry.

As China’s economy has increased rapidly over the last two decades, the domestic film industry has been of particular importance. Since enacting market reforms the Chinese Communist Party has made various attempts to modernize the industry and consequently film has since been transformed from a political product to that of a cultural product. While many of these reforms have benefitted the film industry as a whole, there still are many challenges the CCP needs to face in order for the market to reach its full potential.

Feldstein-Nixon. Max. 2018. Marx Was a Capitalist? Innovation in Authoritative China

Since China began liberalizing its economy in 1978, it has experienced what is commonly referred to as an economic miracle, achieving 10% growth year-in-year-out for decades by revamping itself a labour-intensive, export-driven “factory” for the developed world. After three decades of manufacturing driven growth, Xi Jinping and the CCP are looking to pivot once more, this time towards a consumption and service-oriented economy they hope will guarantee greater stability, albeit at lower growth rates. This paper explores how the authoritarian Chinese government is fostering a type of innovation and economic growth that economists generally associate with neoliberal market economies.

Greenberg, Elisa. 2016. Women in China: Holding up the Sky, or Crumbling Under its Weight?

In 1968, Chairman Mao Zedong of the then-nascent Chinese Communist Party (CCP) proclaimed that “women hold up half the sky.”  This bold statement is consistent with the communist ideology, which is rooted in the idea of fundamental equality.  One would think that the CCP would therefore prioritize equality on all fronts, including gender equality.  However, there is decidedly not gender equality in China.  The reason for this contradiction can be traced back to the role of the Party.  The CCP exercises direct and indirect control over the gender equality movement in China.  It does so by constraining the movement in order to preserve China’s social and cultural norms, while also selectively promoting equality in ways that serve the Party’s interests.

Guo, Sasha. 2016.  Panda Diplomacy: China’s Adorable Weapon

With the rapid growth of China economically and militarily, the world is watching China closely to see if it will have a peaceful or turbulent rise to power. Realizing that the negative perception foreign countries have of China severely hinders its foreign policy, China has, in recent decades, begun focusing on its public diplomacy. In addition to spreading Chinese culture and language in the government initiative to improve foreign perceptions of China, there is one secret, unexpected weapon that China has: The Giant Panda.

Kim, Daniel. 2016. PRC Foreign Policy and DPRK Nuclear Weapons: Limits of Influence and the Importance of Potential Refugee Crises

How does China, or the People’s Republic of China (PRC), attempt to influence North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), on issues like the DPRK’s nuclear weapons development? How has the DPRK resisted China’s influence on the issue? How has China responded to this resistance, why is China’s foreign policy towards the DPRK failing, and what allows the DPRK to act against China’s interests? This paper surveys the modes of influence that China holds over the DPRK and vice versa, with a focus on the DRPK’s ability to continue its nuclear weapons program despite China’s stated foreign policy interests—namely, that the DPRK cease its development of nuclear weapons—and despite China’s relative and absolute geopolitical advantages over the DPRK. Indeed, China not only has the upper hand in terms of GDP and trade volume, but also holds leverage over the DRPK in the form of trade and humanitarian/resource aid (primarily food and oil). The threat of China’s withdrawal from any of these exchanges, as well as the threat of Chinese sanctions on the DPRK, should provide China the leverage that it needs to coerce the DPRK into adopting China’s stated foreign policy goals. Yet, the DPRK has resisted China’s agenda by furthering its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capabilities. The DPRK has been able to do so by leveraging the threat of coercive engineered migrations of its own population into China should the DPRK regime collapse or significantly destabilize. Although China is significantly constrained in its ability to influence the DPRK on its nuclear weapons program, Beijing could engage in high-level negotiations, implement more (albeit calculated) sanctions, reduce aid, and conduct other punitive measures against the DPRK to increase pressure on Pyongyang while still avoiding regime collapse. However, given the DPRK’s desire for “asymmetric nuclear deterrence,” the strategy most likely to convince the DPRK to end its nuclear weapons development is a Chinese-brokered U.S.-DPRK non-aggression pact or peace treaty.

Murtha, Katherine. 2016. Manufactured Minority Media: Moral or Malicious?

China has seen a coexistent growth of nationalism and rising acceptance of ethnic minorities by the government in recent years. While nationalism generally results in an ostrascization of ethnic minority groups, China has not followed this global trend. This paper examines how the state-sponsored media portrays ethnic minorities in a positive light in order to present both a unified and benevolent China on the global stage. The propaganda further serves to create a monolithic Han identity within China, and through that promote a nationalist agenda.

Razak, Faizan. 2018. Urban-Rural Income Inequality as a Result of the Chinese Growth Model

China’s incredible economic growth rate has been the subject of discussion for several years, as it has successfully been able to establish itself as a global economy that is competitive with developed countries such as the United States. However, as GDP has risen, income inequality between urban and rural households has increased drastically as well. This essay will look at how policies that have driven GDP growth have simultaneously contributed to income inequality, and how these policies are a part of an institutionalized urban-preferential system and have made it difficult for rural workers to adjust to the new market economy.

Scarth, Heidi. 2018. Chinese Economic Expansion and Colonialist Allegations

This piece provides a close examination of the effects of Chinese foreign direct investment in Africa.   This newfound economic relationship between China and Africa has raised some concerns internationally because it seems to be creating dependency and edging out Western influence.  This piece weighs arguments for and against this economic interaction being an example of colonialism, and since China cannot be classified as either colonialist or not colonialist, provides insight into the concept of Chinese neocolonialism. 

Wang, Zena Sihua. 2016. Crisis of ideology: A study on polarizing effect of economic growth in China.

This paper provides an explanation for ideological cleavage in China based on theoretical analysis and empirical evidence. The ideological cleavage is a direct result of economic pragmatism since Deng’s reform in economy. However, the correlation between ideological cleavage and economic growth is weaker than expected. The most important factor is not the level of income, but rather the level of education and the place people live in. The growth in income does not automatically translate into a more democratic, liberal and non-traditional society. The real catalysts are education and location. However, The peculiar political and cultural environment in China may impede the process of translation. Xi’s campaign on ideology may further impede this process. However, the result will not be clear until we are able to analyze a more recent public opinion survey.

Zhang, Haoran. 2018. National Media Coverage of Local Anti-PX Protests

Why does an authoritarian regime allow the media to report anti-PX protests and even express sympathy towards protestors in some cases? More importantly, why do some local anti-PX protests receive central media coverage while others do not? By conducting a case analysis of three anti-PX protests in China (2007 Xiamen anti-PX protest, 2011 Dalian anti-PX protest, and 2012 Ningbo anti-PX protest), this research paper argues although the Chinese central government frequently uses the state media’s coverage of local anti-PX protests to identify social grievances, discipline and monitor local government officials, and strengthen central authority, strict media censorship is applied again in politically sensitive times, such as the CCP National Congress and the Arab Spring, in order to prevent potential protest diffusion.