Cooptation without opposition : government response in the authoritarian legislature in China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationDemocratization
Online published31 Jul 2023
Publication statusOnline published - 31 Jul 2023


Cooptation is widely applied to study authoritarian legislatures, but it is often used to identify and placate the opposition groups. For one-party authoritarian regimes in which the hardcore opposition groups are not represented in the legislature, do autocrats still display dynamics of cooptation when responding to the delegates? Based on a unique dataset of government responses to delegate proposals in China, this article finds that the Chinese regime indeed responds to People’s Congress delegates based on the need for cooptation. Delegates who are members of the ruling Communist Party of China (CCP), who are more tightly controlled through the party institution, receive less favourable state responses than non-CCP delegates. However, the disadvantages of CCP delegates disappear when the risk of internal defection increases. The findings further show that even in the absence of strong opposition parties, authoritarian regimes still adopt cooptation strategies in legislatures. © 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Research Area(s)

  • authoritarian legislature, China, Cooptation, government response, single-party