Accommodating “Democracy” in a One-Party State: Introducing Village Elections in China

Kevin J. O'BRIEN, Lianjiang LI

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

231 Citations (Scopus)


When residents of a few Guangxi villages decided to elect their own leaders in late 1980 and early 1981, none of them could have known they were starting a historic reform. What began as a stopgap effort to fill a political vacuum, after much debate and two decades of uneven implementation, is now enshrined in a national law. Procedures for holding elections have been spelled out and implementing regulations are being formulated at all levels. Voting is now mandatory every three years in every village, bar none.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-489
Number of pages25
JournalChina Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

For generous financial support, we would like to thank the Asia Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, The Research and Writing Program of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Pacific Cultural Foundation, and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.


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