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China Scholarship Digest #28: October and November 2023 Publications

Articles published in October and November 2023

71 journals scanned

138 articles from 38 journals found

Chinese Studies

Journal of Contemporary China

"Post-Mao reforms ranging from de-collectivization to the abolition of agricultural taxes have eroded the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) control over the rural periphery. However, with an agenda to strengthen the CCP’s all-around control over the economy and society, the Xi Jinping era saw a reversal of the long-term trend. We argue that Xi’s high-profile anti-poverty campaign from 2015 to 2020 consisted of massive Party building attempts and served as an important strategy for the Party to repenetrate the rural periphery...we show that by injecting human and financial resources into poverty regions, the CCP reinvigorated its previously underfunded and demoralized grassroots organs, expanded rural Party member recruitment, and enhanced the Party’s intervention in village affairs. Therefore, despite its seemingly economic nature, Xi’s anti-poverty campaign may lead to the long-lasting effect of Party power consolidation in the countryside. This finding suggests that authoritarian regimes can use campaigns with appealing policy goals to advance broader political agendas and enhance authoritarian resilience."

China Quarterly

"In contrast to Western platforms, which are dominated by crowdsourced labour, China's food-delivery platforms rely heavily on outsourced couriers to provide high-quality services. The conflicts emerging from outsourced labour relations have been inadequately examined. Based on extensive fieldwork in south China, this study reveals an intriguing fact: the outsourcing model frequently triggers yet largely conceals couriers’ strikes. This study uses the work regime approach and labour bargaining power theory to analyse the complex dynamics created by the platforms. By scrutinizing state institutions, relationships among various organizations and workplace interactions, this study finds that the platform firms have dominant power but that inherent tensions exist between outsourcing platform firms, outsourced agencies, human supervisors and workers, forming a regime that this study calls “contentious despotism.” Importantly, labour conflict is alive and potentially enduring in China's gigantic platform economy."
"Many scholars have used local Chinese county gazetteers for historical and socioeconomic analyses, yet little research has examined the completeness of coverage or the biases in reporting that characterize the compilation of these gazetteers. In this paper, we provide a novel source for studying Chinese political movements and local history under the communist regime after 1949: the internal-discussion drafts of county gazetteers (xianzhi pingyigao)...we find evidence of serious data manipulation and a tendency to underreport historical events in the published editions. Our research evidently demonstrates the process of historiography editing and reveals how local history is presented through the lens of government public documents in China."

Modern China

China Information

China: An International Journal

"Even though the public's interest in politics is an indispensable element of civic culture and is also important for the practice of democratic citizenship, it has different and local meanings in an authoritarian regime. This article analyses the dynamics of the public's interest in politics since the Communist Party of China took power and investigates the characteristics of people who express an overt interest in politics in China. The results present a sophisticated and nuanced picture of the interactions between the Chinese government and its people in contemporary China. On the one hand, as modernisation theory has predicted, people with higher levels of education and higher socio-economic status have greater levels of interest in politics. On the other hand, the expression of interest in politics in China is observed among people who adhere to authoritarian values and those who trust the national government. Conversely, citizens who are dissatisfied with the level of democracy in the current regime report low levels of interest in politics. The findings have important implications for China's future political development."

Asian Studies

Journal of Contemporary Asia

Asian Studies Review

Contemporary Southeast Asia


Economic History Review

International Affairs

International Affairs

International Studies Quarterly

"Anti-China protests have posed challenges to China's ambition to further expand its political and economic influence globally. How does Beijing respond to anti-China protests? And how do anti-China protests affect Beijing's use of public diplomatic resources? We address these questions by examining the effect of anti-China protests on China's public diplomatic engagement across low- and middle-income countries in Asia. We argue that anti-China protests lead to an increased level of non-financial public diplomatic engagement (e.g., elite visits) as well as financial engagement through foreign aid. We further argue that the effect of anti-China protests on increasing public diplomatic engagement is contingent on regime type. This is because China takes the anti-China message from autocracies more seriously given the higher political costs of participating in public protests in autocracies. Compared to democracies, autocracies are also in a better position to use anti-China protests as a means to signal their political constraints, compelling China to invest more public diplomatic resources for the countries."

Third World Quarterly


Cambridge Review of International Affairs

"This paper analyses Remembrance of Earth’s Past, also known as The Three-Body Trilogy, by Liu Cixin and its connections to Chinese politics and Historical IR. I examine how the Trilogy as a contemporary pop-cultural artefact and a fictional narrative sustains, recrafts and critically deals with the historical, conceived here as constructions of history, historical trajectories and the key historic challenges. I respond to the call of this special issue to consider new dimensions of how storytelling and Historical IR can be disruptive. On the theoretical level, I distinguish the notions of external and internal disruptions (critiques) with the help of pragmatism and post-colonialism. On the empirical level, I argue that the Trilogy offers an internal critique of China’s long-term obsession with developmentalist modernisation by expressing ironies and uncertainties of it. It reveals limits (‘selvedges’) of development(alism) by showing that it is ultimately unachievable, unnecessary and uncontrollable. In other words, the internal disruption stems from exposing the final frontiers of the given tradition where its internal logic starts to crumble."

Journal of Current Chinese Affairs

"This study examines the Chinese party-state's reactions to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, focusing on its response to the European Union (EU) and its own population during the first six months of the war's outbreak. Drawing on actor-centred institutionalism, it analyses institutional changes and political steering actions by Chinese party-state actors, a perspective that has rarely been applied to China's foreign policy. The “explaining-outcome process tracing” method was applied to reconstruct political processes and interactions between actors based on extensive document and secondary data analysis. Findings reveal that the EU and its partners warned Chinese leaders not to help the Russian government evade sanctions. In this modified institutional setting, the Chinese party-state has responded with “soft” discursive steering towards the EU and, in addition to this “soft” element, with targeted “hard” steering actions towards its own population. While the political steering towards the EU has failed, the steering towards its own population seems to have been partially successful."

Chinese Journal of International Politics

Australian Journal of International Affairs

Review of International Political Economy

International Relations of the Asia-Pacific


Comparative Political Studies

Society & Culture

Global Media and China

Media, Culture & Society

Chinese Sociological Review

Chinese Journal of Communication

"This research, using the cultural-identity-protective cognition theory and focusing on China as a case study, aims to identify influencers, track information dissemination processes, and recognize the patterns of information and emotional flows within Twitter conversations related to the politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic...Both influencers and general users had the capacity to steer Twitter conversations into the political realm, thus contributing to the politicization and polarization of discussions during the information flow. Notably, opinion leaders, especially among influencers, could politicize and polarize a conversation by initially indicating their political standing in the tweet. In general, Twitter users had the ability to make neutral and objective news information go viral if a large number of Twitter users continue the politicization and polarization processes. Group membership—specifically, political standing—and cultural identities played significant roles in perpetuating a vicious cycle of anger. This cycle amplified identity threats for Twitter users and prompted more prejudicial and polarized comments, especially when China, Chinese people, and the Chinese government were the subjects of blame in the Twitter community."


The Chinese Economy

China Economic Journal

Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies

China & World Economy

China Economic Review

"Social capital and the Chinese concept of guanxi (connections) can be used to explain changes in income inequality; however, their connotations differ. Previous studies identify social networks as an important factor influencing income inequality in China but ignore the distinction between social capital and guanxi. Using data from the Chinese General Social Survey, this study demonstrates that guanxi contributes to income inequality while social capital improves it. This conclusion still holds true after a series of robustness tests are conducted. Further results demonstrate that the effects of social capital and guanxi on income inequality are substitutable, and social capital can inhibit the role of guanxi in worsening income inequality. Thus, our results confirm that social capital contributes to improving income inequality, providing a new policy perspective for China to formulate income distribution policies."

Asia Pacific Business Review

Journal of Asian Economics

"Understanding the impact of industrial policies on residents’ health is of great significance. This study uses the large-scale national defense industry policy entitled the Third Front construction, which was implemented before China’s reform and opening up, as a quasi-natural experiment to empirically examine its long-term impact on residents’ health. The relevant findings are fourfold. (1) The policy significantly improves local residents’ health in the long term. (2) This improvement effect primarily operated through two channels of increasing residents’ income and improving medical security. (3) The effect is obviously heterogeneous for different genders and hukou, with a greater effect on men than women and significant health improvement effects for residents with agricultural hukou. (4) The findings demonstrate that local residents’ lifestyles and mental health were significantly improved due to Third Front construction."

Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy

Journal of Development Economics

Pacific Economic Review

International Studies of Economics


The International Journal of Human Rights

Information, Communication & Society

"Visual political communication in the social media sphere is increasingly valuable for its ability to more effectively persuade viewers in this increasingly cluttered media landscape. Using multi-model discourse analysis and following the theoretical framework of Everyday Politics, this study focuses on a random sample (N = 200) of user-generated Internet memes from Chinese national youth propaganda campaign Youth Study. In addition, the author observed the sharing and dissemination of these memes in online public discussions. The findings reveal that young participants maintain a varying distance from politics. They employ strategies such as dark humor, hyperbole, contrast, and appropriation of pop culture to portray two key roles – the charming, brilliant followers and the abandoned, hunted breakers, and to construct four main scenarios-cute threat, humble beg, funny politics, and veiled resistance. This politicized propaganda campaign is being transformed from state aspirations to the creative daily cultural consumption of young netizens. This analysis contributes to the scholarly literature on youth subcultures, political mobilization, and visual propaganda in post-socialist China."


Security Studies, Journal of Public Affairs, Economic History Review, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Chinese Sociological Review, China Information, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Journal of Strategic Studies, Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, Asia Pacific Business Review, Economic and Political Studies, Information, Communication & Society, International Journal of Cultural Policy, International Studies Quarterly, China Review, China: An International Journal, Media, Culture & Society, China Economic Journal, Chinese Journal of Communication, Journal of Asian Economics, Journal of Development Economics, American Journal of Political Science, China Quarterly, International Studies Review, Territory, Politics, Governance, China Economic Review, Contemporary Southeast Asia, The Pacific Review, The RUSI Journal, Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Asian Studies Review, Asian Security, International Organization, Geopolitics, Political Communication, European Journal of International Relations, Twentieth-Century China, Comparative Political Studies, Survival, Review of International Political Economy, Chinese Studies in History, The China Journal, American Historical Review, Australian Journal of International Affairs, Modern China, The International Journal of Human Rights, Journal of Modern Chinese History, International Affairs, The Chinese Economy, Journal of Politics, The Chinese Historical Review, Contemporary Security Policy, Journal of Democracy, Global Media and China, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Pacific Economic Review, Journal of Contemporary China, Chinese Journal of International Politics, Journal of Chinese Governance, Asian Economic Policy Review, International Studies of Economics, Journal of Economic History, Comparative Strategy, Social Sciences in China, Asia Policy, Critical Asian Studies, Defence and Peace Economics, Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Third World Quarterly