Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: In Defense of a Non-Dominating Government in China
Authors: Jiang, Dongxian
Advisors: Mueller, Jan-Werner
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: China Model
State Power
Subjects: Political science
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This Dissertation participates in recent debates about the normative ideals of Chinese political reform. Along with the revival of Confucianism in twenty-first century China, authoritarianism is being justified by many intellectuals on the assumption that leaders can be made sufficiently virtuous to be entrusted with unchecked political power. They argue that a “China Model,” based on the Confucian tradition and contemporary practices of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), can be justified as a legitimate alternative to Western constitutional democracy. This Dissertation counters these pro-authoritarian discourses by developing a theoretical framework that can assess the normative legitimacy of various political proposals bearing the name “the China Model.” In this Dissertation, I argue that state domination is the most urgent political issue that progressive social critics need to address, and the legitimacy of institutional proposals for a future China should be evaluated according to their capacities in curbing state domination and constraining the arbitrary power of the state. Based on an empirical analysis of the mechanisms of state domination in China, I argue that freedom of speech and association, the rule of law, constitutionalism, the separation of powers, and competitive elections, should be established as effective institutional arrangements to empower the vulnerable people and constrain the state power. These arrangements constitute a non-dominating, representative government in Chinese political life. I then argue that various “China Models” centered upon one-party rule are incompatible with the ideal of non-domination, because they rely on the virtue and self-constraint of the ruling class while downplaying the importance of democratic accountability. However, institutional proposals aiming to mix meritocratic institutions with electoral democracy, such as a bicameral legislature combining a democratically elected lower house with an upper chamber selected by examination and peer and performance reviews, can be justified as legitimate normative ideals for a future China, though we have no empirical evidence about the practicality of these mixed regimes in the real world.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

Files in This Item:
This content is embargoed until 2022-10-15. For more information contact the Mudd Manuscript Library.

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.