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Chinese Perceptions of Democracy

Final Report Summary - CHINESEDEMOCRACY (Chinese Perceptions of Democracy)

Dr. Yanhong Liu, the EU IIF project funded researcher, returned to her home institution, the Graduate School of CASS, at the beginning of 2014 after the completion of two year collaborative research with the University of Nottingham in the UK. Due to some technical reasons, the starting date of her one year integration research was postponed and began at the 20th January 2014. Although bearing the full teaching responsibility and therefore the research was conducted only part time, important progress has been made and activities were taken mainly at three aspects.

Firstly, a new round of survey targeting China’s small and medium size enterprises (98% of China’s SMEs are private enterprises) was conducted with the partial financial support from the EU and fieldwork support from the Center for Private Economic Studies (CPES) of CASS, with which the researcher has been affiliated. 1149 questionnaires were collected from 24 provinces of the mainland of China in the first half of 2014 by method of random sampling (abnormal distribution), of which 914 were effective. The purpose of this new survey was to investigate the overall economic situation of China’s private enterprises under the circumstance of economic structure change facing China, the change of which, as an important variable, is expected to explain the change of and difference between private business owners on the attitudes towards the current political system and the future of democracy in China. Two papers scheduled at the early stage were still under preparation in part due to the addition of new data, and in another due to the lack of time slots for concentrated writing.

Secondly, Dr. Liu was invited to present her findings and preliminary conclusions from her two year project at the CPES’s bimonthly workshop Rule of law and the development of private economy in China joined by dozens of academics, government officials and private entrepreneurs. The workshop was held in Beijing in the middle of November 2014, right after the Decision on Major Issues Pertaining to Comprehensively Promoting the Rule of Law was made at the fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee. Dr. Liu reviewed at the workshop the previous research on Chinese perceptions of Democracy, and her own investigation findings mainly targeting at the emerging class of private business owners in China. The commons and differences between western and China citizens in terms of perceptions of democracy, and the relationship between democracy and rule of law were analyzed and actively discussed on the workshop.

Last but not least, as the lecturers of two graduate courses, reading on public choice and public policy respectively targeting at full time postgraduates and part time CEO PhD students at GSCASS, Dr. Liu has led critical studies on western democratic political systems and open minded discussion on the prospects of western style democracy in China among students and entrepreneurs. A systematic introduction of public choice, the subject concerning economic studies of western politics, was conducted in the class and the major differences between constitutional politics characterized as the limits of public power and democracies as the exercises of public power were clarified and emphasized towards the potential intellectual and business elites of China.