How will the Biden administration work with, or against, China? We look at the views of his Cabinet nominees to get an idea.
Radical Mind, Moderate Action: Workers’ Mobilization during Industrial Restructuring in China
The Center for Chinese Studies at UC Berkeley presents a talk with Xi Chen from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Xi Chen, Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Even in an authoritarian regime, ideological hegemony is seldom complete, and subordinate groups often harbor harsh criticisms of the ruling class. Absent a revolutionary situation, however, their radical thoughts can only inspire moderate forms of claim making. This paper seeks to explain how radical ideas inspire moderate action, which may paradoxically help to maintain the political domination. Empirical evidence is drawn from a project on workers’ mobilization during industrial restructuring in China, which includes more than 640 interviews of former employees of eighty-one enterprises in Hunan province. In the past two decades China carried out one of the most radical privatization plans among all former socialist countries. Although state workers have long been regarded as the “leading class” in the socialist regime, they proved surprisingly incapable of defending their interests when they were abandoned by the state. Their weakness is sometimes attributed to their acceptance of core values of the market and the state. The paper finds that a large portion of the group actually rejected such values, and blamed their difficulties on the state. Although their deep grievances against the state contributed to numerous collective protests, such protests were almost always moderate in their action and limited in their goals. The paper therefore suggests that rather than through ideological domination, the Chinese state has maintained its rule primarily through defining the boundary of acceptable forms of claim making.
Joshua Goldstein talks about his new book looking at the history of the recycling industry in China.
Jennifer Pan examines how China's major social assistance program, Dibao, has been used to quell dissent.