Pollution, institutions and street protest in urban China

When:30 Jul 2018, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Venue:Room 221/223, Level 2, John Goodsell Building, UNSW Kensington Campus
Who:Dr Yang Zhong, Department of Political Science, University of Tennessee
Yang Zhong

Street protests have become commonplaces in China. Utilizing survey data, the speaker attempts to shed light on the nature of environmental street protests in China. The key question to be answered in the talk is: why, facing the same issue, some people choose the option of participating in street protest while others do not? Multivariate analytical findings indicate that urban residents’ willingness in participating in street protest over a hypothetical pollution issue in China is significantly related to their attitudes toward political institutions in China. What motivate people to participate in street protest has a lot to do with their trust and support of the political system in China and their perceived government transparency. In other words, environmental protests in China are not just what Lewis Coser calls “realistic conflicts” which primarily involve specific issues and solutions. One implication from this research is that street protests in China may not be as benign and non-regime threatening as many think.

Yang Zhong is Professor at the Department of Political Science of the University of Tennessee, U.S.A. He is also the Director of Public Opinion Research Center at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Dr Zhong’s main research and teaching interests include Chinese local governance, urban studies in China and Chinese political culture. He has published over 50 scholarly articles and book chapters, authored three books and co-edited several books. His articles have appeared in journals such as Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Asian Survey, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Journal of Contemporary China, and PS: Political Science and Politics. Dr Zhong’s latest book is Political Culture and Participation in Urban China (Palgrave McMillan, 2017). He is also the editor of Palgrave McMillan’s book series New Perspectives on Chinese Politics and Society. Dr Zhong serves on a number of editorial boards of academic journals such as The Journal of Contemporary China, Journal of Chinese Political Science and Modern China. Dr Zhong served as the Dean of School of International and Public Affairs of Shanghai Jiao Tong University between 2014 and 2017 and President of Association of Chinese Political Studies (USA) between 2003 and 2004.