Responsive Authoritarianism and Blind-Eye Governance in China

Robert P. Weller

in Socialism Vanquished, Socialism Challenged

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199895977
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199980116 | DOI:
Responsive Authoritarianism and Blind-Eye Governance in China

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This chapter argues that new forms of informal governance in China since the reforms have transformed relations between state and society, even though basic authoritarian structures and legal mechanisms have remained intact. By focusing on two quite different areas of life–religion and environmental groups–it shows the growth of "blind-eye governance" in which the government chooses to overlook extra-legal behavior as long as social groups keep within certain limits. The result has been an enormous increase in the social gray area that is not legally sanctioned and is subject to repression, but which in practice has created many thousands of social groups. The state benefits by receiving more effective feedback from the population and through the social contributions of these groups, but this mode of governance also contains its own mode of repression.

Keywords: environment; religion; governance; responsive authoritarianism; China; NGOs

Chapter.  7723 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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