Differentiated actors: central-local politics in China's rural tax reforms

Type Journal Article - Modern Asian Studies
Title Differentiated actors: central-local politics in China's rural tax reforms
Volume 40
Issue 01
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
Page numbers 151-174
URL http://personal.cityu.edu.hk/~salcli/journal articles/Modern Asian Studies-Differentiated Actors​06.pdf
How decisions and policies are made and implemented? This classical
question in political science has attracted a considerable literature
amongst observers of realpolitik in China, with its continental size, 1.3
billion population and five layers of government.1 Mirroring the moveaway from the traditional dualism of ‘top-down’ versus ‘bottomup’
approaches in the general implementation literature,2 recent
literature on Chinese central–local politics emphasizes the coparticipation
of central and local actors in decision-making and the
dialectical interactive relationship between central and local power.3
Goodman recognizes, for instance, that central and local actors have
differentiated roles to play in decision-making.4 Li makes the case of
interactive central–local power, calling for a reconceptualization of
central-local relations in a non-zero-sum schema.5 Recent studies
on the ‘Open Up the West’ national policy augment the claim for
‘disaggregating’ China, and the relevance of the provincial, regional
and local as levels and foci of analysis.6 Against the traditional
emphasis over central predominance versus provincial power, this body
of literature, adopting a ‘non-dualistic’ approach to power, high lightsthe co-existence of central and local power in a diffuse, complex
decision-making process.

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