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Sigur Center Asia Report, Issue 28: The Internet, Political Participation, and Governance Reform in China Open Access

With China’s rise and growth of Internet usage in China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has looked to the Internet as a means of receiving citizen feedback as it modernizes its policymaking processes. How has the CCP utilized the Internet to elicit citizen opinions and feedback on its policies? One study conducted by Steven Balla, Associate Professor of Political Science, Public Policy and Public Administration, and International Affairs at the George Washington University, aims to generalize the findings of the consultation and feedback mechanisms used in China’s 2008 healthcare reforms and apply these feedback mechanisms to other cases of online consultation in China. His findings were summarized at an event held this semester at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. Balla’s case study of governance reform and Internet political participation helps us examine the future of the CCP as it experiments with online consultation as an instrument of governance reform. Rather than taking an all-or-nothing approach of predicting revolution or repression in China’s future, the study focuses on what happens between those two extremes vis-à-vis a gradual evolution of policymaking.

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