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The Middle Class, Civil Rights and Popular Protest in Urban China

Final Report Summary - POPULARPROTESTCHINA (The Middle Class, Civil Rights and Popular Protest in Urban China)

Dr. Long Sun started his Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies (SCCS), University of Nottingham on 21st, December 2011. The school provided a shared office, computer, and other accessories to enable Dr. Sun’s smooth transition into the academic life in the UK. Meanwhile, the University organized two-month’s English training courses for all marie curie research fellows to improve their listening and speaking practice abilities.

Based on careful and detailed literature reviewing work on urban homeowners’ rights movement and self-governance in China as well as other countries, Dr Sun, collaborated with Dr. Zhengxu Wang, the executive manager of the project, formulated research hypotheses, conducted field work, published one article and completed two working papers in the past two years. The following paragraphs includes some details of the fieldwork and some main research findings.


From April 2nd to June 22nd 2012(the fifth month to seventh month), the researcher team conducted the first stage field work in Beijing, Shanghai ,Wuhan and get first-hand data and materials for further studies. Invited by the Beijing Bid Committee for Homeowner‘s Association(BCHA), one of critical informal organizations for defending homeowner’s interests, the Dr. Long Sun served as an observer and attended its sixth annual conference on April 8th. He also attended other events launched by BCHA, GOCO (Governance & Community Institute) in order to obtain opportunities to know and contact leaderships of Beijing homeowner’s right movements.

Face to face interviews were conducted with selected individuals belonging to the homeowners’ organizations, lawyer firms, researchers and media workers in Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan. In the first-stage, 25 in-depth interviews were carried out. We will ask a number of them to supply copies of some of these important archives and documents, and will fully comply with any confidentiality conditions they may choose to request on matters of political sensitivity.

From Oct 9th to Dec 21st 2012 (the tenth month to twelfth month), the research team conducted the second stage field work in Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing. During this stage of fieldwork, Dr. Sun visited institutions which had conduct sampling surveys among homeowners and urban residents to collect high-quality questionnaire datasets for meta-analysis. For participatory observation, he also attended a series of events launched by Beijing Association of Homeowner‘s Committees (BAHC),GAHC(Guangzhou), SAHC(Shenzhen), GOCO (Governance & Community Institute). In the second-stage, about 20 in-depth interviews have been carried out.

Meanwhile, with the collaboration Prof. Lei Tao at Beijign Academy of Social Science, Dr Tang Haihua at Renmin University of China, and more than 20 research assistants in China, the research team conducted sampling survey in Beijing and developed a survey dataset which included 1291 valid questionnaires.

Analysis and Outputs

Using this first-hand data and information collected from fieldwork, the research team have completed the drafts of three articles. The first paper entitled “Leadership in China’s Urban Home-Owner Movement” has been published by The China Quarterly, in volume 214, June 2013. The second paper, titled “Building a City-Wide Movement in China’s Middle Class Protests: Legitimizing Strategies of Beijing Homeowner Rights Activists” has been presented at three conferences in Singapore , China and UK, and is currently under revision for submission to a journal of Asian Studies or social movements. A third paper, “Voter Turnout in China’s Party-Controlled Election: Structural, Institutional, and Psychological Factors in Local Congress Districts” has similarly been presented at several conferences or university seminars, and is now under final revision of submission to a political science journal, such as the American Political Science review.

It is expected that the academic output from the project will help to enhance the research capacity of the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies of Nottingham University and support its further development into a world-leading centre for teaching and research on contemporary China. These research output also provide EU and European countries comprehensive and informative knowledge on the most recent development of China’s urban politics, citizens’ rights defence movement and self-governance, and local democratization, hence, will be helpful for governments, international organizations and NGOs including EU, UN, and UK governments to make relevant policies on China.