China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
An emergent literature suggests that, despite the absence of both elections and rule of law, the Chinese government exhibits a surprisingly high level of responsiveness to popular demands. This panel—which features scholars working across six different universities in four countries, spanning Asia, Europe and North America—explores the causes affecting responsiveness in China. Meng studies how differentials in institutional capabilities shape variation in responsiveness across local governments. Kornreich tests whether the central government incorporates public suggestions into policymaking, and also explores variation in government responsiveness towards different social groups. Fu & Göbel compare between the rates of responsiveness and its discourses during the Hu and Xi eras. Distelhorst examines areas of convergence between officials’ values and public opinion, assuming that officials are likely to endorse public demands in cases in which their ideological orientations align with popular preferences. In addition to a thematic focus on responsiveness, the panel’s participants also share interests in other topics, such as government willingness to address online input across either space, time or social groups (Meng, Fu & Göbel, Kornreich, respectively), and the impact of values, either discourse or ideology (Fu & Göbel, Distelhorst, respectively), on responsiveness. To answer their research questions from diverse perspectives, each of the authors deploys unique data sources, such as survey experiments, ‘Letters to the Mayor’, and ‘Notice & Comment’ Internet posts. The panel’s participants will benefit from the insights of the discussant, Jennifer Pan, a pioneering figure in the study of both responsiveness and Internet politics in China.