Comparative perspectives of local governance in China

Comparative perspectives of local governance in China seminar – opsummering

My summary of the seminar – Comparative perspectives of local governance in China.
Date: 27th October 2017.
Place: NIAS, Copenhagen University.
Organised by Fudan-European Centre for China Studies, NIAS-Nordic Institute for Asian Studies and think tank
The programme and introduction of speakers.

Q&A highlight:

Q1: What does it mean with Hangzhou and Shanghai local-government “success” model for the rest of China? Especially when using all-in-one local government solution isn’t possible.

A1: The Central government can use ”the Hangzhou and Shanghai case” to showcase how local government model can serve as an example to the rest of the country. The positive campaign is needed in ”the local governance changing process” in China.

Q2: What is the future of the fragmented authoritarianism (FA) for the Chinese political process?

A2: It’s not possible for the Chinese Central Government to re-centralize and  the FA-tendency will most likely increase in the future.

Seminar: Comparative perspectives of local governance in China

Peng Bo, Deputy Dean of School of International and Public Affairs, Shanghai Jiaotong University
Case: Shanghai local government – The Space of Responsive Local Governance: the Evidences from Shanghai.

Research points:

  • There is a shift in governance reform from the Deng era (bottom-up) to the Xi era (top-down) in regards to controlling the agent behavior by the Chinese Central Government.
  • Their is a need for better coordination and communication between the different government levels.
  • The local governance in China is often issued-based.
Peng Bo: The problem to intensify governance reform.

Further research:

  • How to implement lean-management on all governance levels: Regional government level, city government level and street government level?
  • How to make the balance in governance reform, so every government level can be held responsible for their actions?

Jørgen Delman, Professor of China Studies, University of Copenhagen
Case: Hangzhou local government – Climate change politics and urban green governance in Hangzhou.

Research points:

  • Green governance in China is a bottom-up process.
  • Delman showed a triangle model with Party-state, Market/enterprises and Society – Model explanation: The Chinese government doesn’t have capacity to take care of every societal task, which means that they need help from other actors as well (e.g. NGO’s and Market/Enterprises.)

Further research: How does New Public Management system affect the Chinese government?

Jørgen Delman: A new dominant frame for green development.
Jørgen Delman: The triangle model with Party-state, Market/enterprises and Society.
Jørgen Delman: Governance in Hangzhou
Jørgen Delman: Questions for further research.

Shao Chunxia, Head of Department of Politics and Public Administration, Tongji University
Case:  How have campaigns been shaping the governance in China? – Campaign-Style Governance in China.

Keywords for campaign purposes: Mobilizing, emphasized politics, Coercion, Education.

Churong Liu, Executive Vice Director, Fudan-European Centre for China Studies
Case: Social engagement in China – Can social engagement gain new life in the new leadership? – New Politics of Conflict Processing in Urban China.

Shinya Ueno, Head of Center for Policy Studies, Kumamoto University
Case: System Dynamics Analysis on Rural Areas Policy in Japan – Rural Dynamics in Japan.

Comment: Professor Ueno’s perspective on regional politics, rural community change, rural in-migration in relation to Japanese government subsidy programs is interesting in the comparative perspective to China or Denmark.

About the 19th Party Congress by Jørgen Delman:
Xi’s formulated China as a developing country – but will international organizations and political actors still recognize China as a development country?

Read: analysis by Delman: Socialist China v. 3.0 and Xi Jingping’s new “Dream Team”.

Further discussion at Delman’s linkedIn post.
Comment highlight in the discussion: According to OECD Development Assistance Country (DAC) list: China is still eligible to receive official development assistance (ODA).

DAC list of ODA Recipients – Effective for reporting on 2014, 2015 and 2016 flows.
China GNI per capita growth (annual %), 1991-2015.

Further reading:
Fragmented Authoritarianism (FA)
Book: Chinese Politics as Fragmented Authoritarianism – Earthquakes, Energy and Environment.
Edited by Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard, 2017 Routledge.

Relevante overvejelser for danske offentlige og private aktører:
Mere fokus på de kinesiske lokalregeringer, virksomheder og NGO’er i jeres Kina-strategi.

De kinesiske politiske beslutningsprocesser er fordelt på forskellige niveauer: national-, provins-, by- og lokal/gade niveau. Den kinesiske centralregering skaber retningslinjerne for de kinesiske lokalregeringer. I praksis fortolker lokalregeringerne dog retningslinjerne til at tilpasse den lokale økonomiske og politiske kontekst.

Ifølge den såkaldte fragmented authoritarianism-teori med fokus på Kina, er der en stigende tendens til at de kinesiske lokalregeringer får større politisk ansvar. Det stigende politiske ansvar betyder også en stigende mangel på økonomiske og menneskelige ressourcer, hvilket resulterer i at de lokale kinesiske myndigheder bliver nødt til at overdrage en del af ansvaret til lokale virksomheder og NGO’er.

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