Dr. Qingshan Tan is Professor of Political Science at Cleveland State University. He received his Ph.D. from Emory University. Dr. Tan served as an advisor to the Carter Center’s China Village Election Project and was a member of the Carter Center Delegations to Observe China Village Elections from 1997-1998. He has observed and published many articles on Chinese village elections.2006 0-7734-5537-X
This study considers the institutional evolution and progress of village elections in China. China’s dramatic economic growth in less than 30 years is the result of economic reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s, and thus has lifted more than 200 million people out of poverty. This change began with the “household responsibility system” permitting peasants to farm their own land, which eventually led to the abolishment of the commune system. In an effort to establish viable rural governance after de-communization, villagers took the initiative in establishing village self-government and electing their own leaders to manage village affairs. This book studies the creation and evolution of democratic institution of village election. It examines the causes of village election, the making of state and provincial election legislation, state implementation and improvement of village election rules and procedures, and the role of domestic and foreign players in influencing electoral institutionalization of village self-governance, and it assesses the impact of village election on Chinese political development. It argues for the institutional buildup of democratic infrastructures to ensure what could eventually be the beginning of a more extensive move towards democracy.