Voting and Values: Grassroots Elections in Rural and Urban China

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Voting and Values: Grassroots Elections in Rural and Urban China


  • John James Kennedy Department of Political Science, University of Kansas, USA
  • Haruka Nagao Department of Political Science, University of Kansas, USA
  • Hongyan Liu School of Economics, Northwest University of Political Science and Law, China


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Abstract:  Authoritarian leaders often claim that they promote democratic institutions such as elections and democratic values. In China, the central propaganda often promotes the right and duty of citizens to vote in local elections as well as the importance of citizens’ input into the policy making process. However, there is often a gap between government rhetoric and reality. In this article, we use the China General Social Survey (CGSS) 2013 to evaluate the determinants of voting in local elections and democratic values (attitudes) in rural and urban China. The results show that respondents with higher education tend to have lower levels of democratic values and participate less in local elections, but respondents with only compulsory education are more likely to display democratic orientations and vote. This suggests the relative success as well as the limits of authoritarian democratic propaganda.

Keywords:  China; democratic values; education; grassroots elections; voting

Published:   22 June 2018


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v6i2.1331


© John James Kennedy, Haruka Nagao, Hongyan Liu. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.