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Evolutionary Governance in China

Evolutionary Governance in China

State–Society Relations under Authoritarianism

Edited by Szu-chien Hsu, Kellee S. Tsai, and Chun-chih Chang

ISBN 9780674251199

Publication date: 02/09/2021

The People’s Republic of China has experienced numerous challenges and undergone tremendous structural changes over the past four decades. The party-state now faces a fundamental tension in its pursuit of social stability and regime durability. Repressive state strategies enable the Chinese Communist Party to maintain its monopoly on political power, yet the quality of governance and regime legitimacy are enhanced when the state adopts more inclusive modes of engagement with society.

Based on a dynamic typology of state–society relations, this volume adopts an evolutionary framework to examine how the Chinese state relates with non-state actors across several fields of governance. Drawing on original fieldwork, the authors identify areas in which state–society interactions have shifted over time, ranging from more constructive engagement to protracted conflict. This evolutionary approach provides nuanced insight into the circumstances wherein the party-state exerts its coercive power versus engaging in more flexible responses or policy adaptations.


  • Szu-chien Hsu is Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of China and Associate Research Fellow at Academia Sinica.
  • Kellee S. Tsai is Dean of Humanities and Social Science and Chair Professor of Social Science at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Research Professor at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Chun-chih Chang is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Xiamen University.

Book Details

  • 420 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Harvard University Asia Center