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Journal Articles Journal of Chinese Governance Year : 2020

Participatory budgeting and political representation in China


In this paper I conduct a comparative analysis of three Chinese experiments with participatory budgeting (PB), a democratic innovation that has circulated worldwide. Relying on a renewed typology of political representation and ethnographic fieldwork combined with official data collection in Chengdu, Sichuan and Wenling, Zhejiang over seven years, it investigates the expansion and practice of PB and analyzes the relationship between participation and representation. It asserts that in the Chinese context PB cannot be simply reduced to empowering civil society against established representatives or becoming an instrument of legitimization for established elites. In the three investigated cases-which are not representative of Chinese local politics-PB does contribute to opening the decision-making process to formerly excluded participants, who are nonetheless not exactly ordinary citizens but rather local elites and "super residents" bridging the gap between established elites and residents.
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hal-03227356 , version 1 (17-05-2021)


  • HAL Id : hal-03227356 , version 1


Emilie Frenkiel. Participatory budgeting and political representation in China. Journal of Chinese Governance, 2020. ⟨hal-03227356⟩
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