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China’s Peasants as ‘Second-Class Citizen’: Perspective from Political Citizenship

  • Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies
  • Abbr : JAPS
  • 2020, 27(1), pp.281-315
  • DOI : 10.18107/japs.2020.27.1.010
  • Publisher : Institute of Global Affairs
  • Research Area : Social Science > Social Science in general
  • Received : February 14, 2020
  • Accepted : March 18, 2020
  • Published : March 30, 2020

Lee, Dongjin 1

1경북대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study examined the political citizenship of Chinese peasants, looking into the background and actuality of their citizenship and the government’s policy on it. Firstly, the background, from macroscopic aspects, can be found in the structure of ‘fragmented state’; from microscopic aspects, in the structural and institutional element of the peasants’ vulnerable position in the ‘local governance.’ Then, the actual political citizenship of Chinese peasants can be looked at through their organization power and political rights respectively. The peasants are the only group among the nation’s major occupational ones that does not have a nationwide organization. They also have weak political rights with their suffrage being only one eighth or one fourth of that of urban residents. Due to this frail political citizenship of theirs, any rights protection law for peasants was not enacted while a series of ‘rights-protection’ acts for ‘vulnerable groups’ were legislated. Lastly, the Chinese government tries to appease their complaints and resistance, on one hand, by lightening ‘peasants’ burden’ through ‘village self-government’ and, on the other hand, by increasing their income through ‘rural development’ policy. This study pointed out that above all else, institutional change of breaking down the ‘fragmented state,’ that is, ‘dual urban-rural structure’ is needed to invest peasants with political citizenship.

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