Elements and Channels of Bottom-Up Feedback in Contemporary Chinas Political System

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-7-56-63
A. Karneev (andrei_karneev@mail.ru), 
National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20, Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation. 
Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (IDV RAN), 32, Nakhimovskii Prosp., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Received 20.04.2021.

Abstract. The Year 2021 is significant because of the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CCP). This is a plausible opportunity to review the accomplishments of the ruling party in the last decades, especially in the period of the current leadership headed by Xi Jinping. As China under Xi is edging closer to its ultimate aim of “the Great Renaissance of the Chinese Nation”, its relations with the US, the current hegemon of the world order have experienced a severe downturn. Seen against the backdrop of hina’s deteriorating relations with the US and the West in general in recent years, the public opinion in the country has generally shifted towards anti-western and patriotic sentiments. There is in the international media, as well as in academia, a widely accepted image of China under Xi Jinping as a country where there is significantly less space for pluralistic discussions, different opinions and independent voices. Critical opinions arguably have been effectively muted, and the realm of liberal freedoms has shrunk probably to the levels of the start of the reforms’ era or even earlier times. An ongoing debate on the issue of interaction between the government policies and public opinion is important to a better understanding of the evolution of the Chinese polity. Does the system block all the critical voices from below and allow the information flow only top-down? Or should we probably pay more attention to the concrete efforts by the governments at different levels to stimulate and legitimize the grass-roots reactions to government policies? In this article we take a look at whether there are still vibrant channels through which common people can voice their opinions, and whether the state keeps those channels of feedback working. The overall impression is that the above-mentioned image of the resurgent totalitarianism in China’s political system seriously underestimates the complexities of contemporary PRC, the country that is searching for its own China-centered methods and channels of activating citizens’ political participation.

Keywords: CCP’s 100th anniversary, the era of Xi Jinping, information space politics, public opinion, “the mass line”, citizens’ complaints and suggestions, citizen feedback, the role of the Internet, “whole-process democracy”


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For citation:
Karneev A. Elements and Channels of Bottom-Up Feedback in Contemporary Chinas Political System. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 7, pp. 56-63. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-7-56-63

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