Xiaoshan Wang

Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


Democracy--China; Political participation--China; China--Politics and government--1976-


The fundamental question raised in this paper concerns the political changes toward democracy in China from 1978 to 1991. Since the reform started in 1978, several institutional and legal changes have been introduced to improve and consolidate socialist democracy in the country. These changes, as demonstrated in the paper, have increased individual political autonomy from the arbitrary interference of the public power and brought China considerably closer to political democratization. The restoration of the people's congress system throughout the country has rationalized the political process and opened the door for limited participation and recruitment by merit. The separation of the party (CCP) and government has transformed the functions of the party from an omnipresent, micro political manager into a detached, macro supervisor, leaving the public with more space to run their own life, although the dichotomy of politics and administration is far more complex and difficult in practice. The 1982 constitution and a series of laws that followed have specifically defined the boundary of public authority and individual rights, pushing the idea of equality under the law a big step forward. It is undeniable that transition to democracy in China has moved forward several important steps during the decade despite some setbacks. Although the change is less dramatic and drastic, the progress should be recognized and given its due credit. It is important to pay adequate attention to the contextual content of democracy in today's diverse and complex world and be ready to recognize its progress.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [73]-75)


75 pages




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