The End of Village Democracy in China

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    Even the world’s largest autocracy is no stranger to democratic elections, at least on the local level: Beginning in the 1980s, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began promoting the direct election of village leaders across China’s nearly 700,000 administrative villages. Villages range in size from a few-hundred to a few-thousand people, and today accommodate 37 percent of China’s population. They are, per the constitution of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), autonomous, selfgoverning mass organizations in rural areas. Following the end of collective, state-run agriculture in the countryside in the early 1980s, the party hoped that elections would produce leaders capable of implementing its new economic-reform program, and fill a power vacuum created as the state retreated from economic management.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)62-76
    JournalJournal of Democracy
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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