Quasi Critical Citizenship and Political Trust in Autocracies: The Case of China
Refereed conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings


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AbstractCross-national opinion surveys reveal that some authoritarian regimes enjoy higher level of political trust than democratic regimes. Existing studies offer illuminating explanations for the low level of political trust in democracies, but are yet to fully understand the sources of political trust in non-democracies. Focusing on China and by tracing a series of surveys over time, we find that although the level of trust in the Chinese government remains comparatively high, it has declined notably since the early 2000s. We propose the rise of quasi critical citizens, defined as citizens who are critical about the quality of governance but not regime type, as a cause for the draining of political trust. Particularly, citizens who are critical about the government’s performance in promoting development and addressing inequality are significantly less trusting than those uncritical. Therefore, we highlight governance approval as a crucial source of political support for authoritarian regimes.
Acceptance Date31/08/2018
All Author(s) ListPei Zhong, Jing Vivian Zhan
Name of ConferenceAmerican Political Science Association Annual Meeting 2018
Start Date of Conference30/08/2018
End Date of Conference02/09/2018
Place of ConferenceBoston
Country/Region of ConferenceUnited States of America
Year2018
LanguagesEnglish-United States
KeywordsChina, quality of governance, political trust, quasi critical citizens

Last updated on 2018-03-12 at 16:13