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

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

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-174
Journal / PublicationModern Asian Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


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 move away from the traditional dualism of 'top-down' versus 'bottomup' approaches in the general implementation literature, 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. Goodman recognizes, for instance, that central and local actors have differentiated roles to play in decision-making. Li makes the case of interactive central-local power, calling for a reconceptualization of central-local relations in a non-zero-sum schema. 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. Against the traditional emphasis over central predominance versus provincial power, this body of literature, adopting a 'non-dualistic' approach to power, highlights the co-existence of central and local power in a diffuse, complex decision-making process. © 2006 Cambridge University Press.