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An insider’s in-depth exploration of village politics in contemporary rural China, among the first books of its kind in English literature
Applies a clientelist perspective to explain the state-society relationship in Chinese politics
Accessible and interesting for both China researchers and general readers keen on understanding Chinese society and Chinese political culture
Wang's book offers an empirically rich and conceptually nuanced analysis of how local state agents maintain control over village self-governance in China. His careful analysis of primary documents enables him to explicate the formal mechanisms used by members of the local state to influence village affairs. Meanwhile, his rigorous and fascinating ethnographic data enable him to elucidate the manifold ways in which informal clientelist ties between local state officials and village elites permit the former to exert control. Overall, this excellent book powerfully demonstrates the need for scholars to go beyond attention to election processes when evaluating what village democracy means in a Chinese context. It is a must-read for all serious scholars of Chinese politics and society.
—Rachel Murphy, University of Oxford
Guohui Wang's highly original, in-depth case research vividly reveals the dynamics of contemporary Chinese village politics. By combining abundant empirical data with close observation as an "insider," his book illustrates the processes and consequences of transplanting 'democracy' into rural Chinese society. Particularly for those in the West who are keen on understanding the ongoing transformation of rural China, this book is a rich and revealing source.
—Shukai Zhao, Development Research Center of the State Council, P.R. China