Political Trust and Petitioning in the Chinese Countryside

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

109 Citations (Scopus)


What is the significance of distinguishing trust in government's commitment from trust in its competence in understanding the relationship between political trust and political participation? Chinese farmers have more trust in the central government's commitment to protect their rights and interests than in its capacity to do so. Trust in the center's competence carries more weight than trust in its commitment in accounting for the propensity to petition. Petitioning tends to weaken trust in the center's capacity as well as trust in its commitment. Distrust in the center's commitment enhances the propensity to engage in more assertive forms of political participation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-226
Number of pages18
JournalComparative Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

For helpful comments, I would like to thank John Kennedy, Pierre Landry, Ethan Michelson, Tianjian Shi, Fubing Su, the journal's referees, and, especially, Kevin O'Brien. Generous financial support was provided by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.


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