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China’s Grassroots Democracy and International Influence


Zhao Shukai, Development Research Center of the State Council

Globalization is not a one-fold economic process but involves rich political implications as well.Globalization has brought complicated influencing factors to China’s grassroots democratic politics. The so-called “third wave” of global democratization has exerted a huge impact upon China’s political reform, social development, and the advance of grassroots democracy. Such an influence is still quite prevalent in China. In a sense, the development of China’s democratic politics is in essence a part of global democratization. Rapid progress for information technology, especially for the Internet, has not only promoted the development of e-government and transparent government affairs, thus opening up new ways for citizens to exercise their right to know about and participate in public affairs, but also facilitated citizens’ equal communication and speech freedom, raised their capacity to participation in social affairs, and changed the way government interacts with the people. The construction of China’s grassroots democratic politics has received much concern from the international community. International factors enjoy a multi-pronged impact over China’s democratic process in different aspects. As long as there is international information communication and interaction, political influence is more or less exerting its impact. Foreign concern to and involvement in the process of China’s grassroots democracy roughly include the following three respects. 1. Studies on China’s grassroots democracy focus mainly on rural issues, villagers’ self-governance in particular. 2. In respect of international cooperation on promoting grassroots democracy, some international institutions have launched cooperative projects with China’s relevant government departments. 3. Grassroots democracy has become an important issue in foreign funding programs. Some foreign government and non-government organizations have initiated funding and assistance programs of different types and got involved in grassroots democratic activities either directly or indirectly.

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