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Fragmented authoritarianism and protest channels : a case study of resistance to privatizing a hospital

Fragmentierter Autoritarismus und Protestkanäle : eine Fallstudie zum Widerstand gegen die Privatisierung eines Krankenhauses
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Li, Yao

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Abstract Can citizens in an authoritarian country like China influence policy implementation? Two types of scholarship indicate ways that they can: The first proposes that policy implementation is carried out through a fragmented authoritarian system that requires consultation and cooperation among various government units, and this system is amenable to pressure from outside groups. The second examines institutional channels designed to handle grievances and bridge communication between citizens and the authorities. In this paper, I emphasize a link between these two bodies of scholarship, showing how protest channels are connected to the fragmented authoritarian system and how the imperative to maintain social stability leads higher-level authorities to resolve depart-mental conflicts in favour of protesters. I do this by examining a struggle against the privatization of a hospital in North China, a case that illustrates how protesters successfully employed both the petition system and the opportunities offered by the fragmented authoritarian system to develop powerful alliances, to peacefully pressure top local authorities to intervene and to overcome opposition in the local government, leading to finalizing the municipalization of the hospital.
Keywords China; authoritarian system; protest movement; protest behavior; resistance; privatization; hospital; petition; conflict management; political participation; social stability; Far East
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Health Policy
Method descriptive study
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
Page/Pages p. 195-224
Journal Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 42 (2013) 2
ISSN 1868-4874
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works