Panel #2 Dimensions of Dissent: Protest in Contemporary China

Panel Abstract: This panel explores the several dimensions of protest in contemporary China from central government strategies and distance to administrative centers to personal experience and religious influences on the propensity to oppose the party-state. The first paper considers the central leadership turnover from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping and how this influences the central party-government approach to local protest. Author Han Zhang finds that the intensity and size of protests has decreased, while the party-government has found ways to govern protests through soft preventive strategies, instead of hardline repression. The second paper investigates the geographic and economic conditions that influence citizens’ decision to participate in protests. Using the 2017 Public Satisfaction Survey, Juan Wang discovers that the distance from Beijing and provincial capitals increases the likelihood of protest. In the third paper, Scott Desposato, Gang Wang and Jason Wu show that individuals who began their undergraduate education in Beijing just before and just after the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations and government crackdown are more likely to vote in people’s congress elections, but they are less likely to participate in protests. The implication is that exposure to a social movement and state repression can continue to shape patterns of political participation long after the events. The final paper examines religion and public dissent in China. Brett Carter and Erin Baggott Carter find that religious citizens are far more likely to express their opposition to the CCP than the non-religious. The results help understand why the religious are so often persecuted in China and other authoritarian regimes.

Chair: John KENNEDY (University of Kansas)

Discussant: Kevin O’BRIEN (University of California, Berkeley)

Discussant: Sara NEWLAND (Smith College)

• Preventing Protests By Surveillance: The Changing Landscape of Protests in China

Han ZHANG (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

• Where You Live Is Where You Stand: The Geography of Protest Choice in China

Juan WANG (McGill University) and Phoebe Mengxiao TANG (Drew University)

• Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Participation After Protest and Repression

Scott DESPOSATO (University of California, San Diego), Gang WANG (Wuhan University) and Jason WU (Indiana University)

• Religion and (Public) Dissent: Evidence from China

Brett CARTER (University of Southern California) and Erin Baggott CARTER (University of Southern California)

Please note that the 2021 APSA Chinese Politics Mini-Conference has an adjusted schedule and moved to Zoom. APSA registrants are welcomed to attend. We will also project Zoom from the APSA conference room (Conference Center, Tahoma 4). For more information, see schedule and virtual plan on the website menu.)