China's Long Quest for Democracy: A Historical Institutional Perspective

Dr. Lin Gang, Professor of Political Science, Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s School of International and Public Affairs
| CSCC Conference Room, Fisher-Bennett 345

Dr. Lin Gang discusses his new book China's Long Quest for Democracy: A Historical Institutional Perspective. Conceptualizing China as a country with rapid economic transformation and little political progress has led to a normative misjudgment that economic reform should occur before significant democratization. This book compares several historical junctures during China's long journey towards democracy to observe the constraints of pre-chosen ideological and institutional patterns on political elites in advancing legal and electoral reforms. Confucian legacies of moralism, elitism, and state centralism, in addition to revolutionary guardianship and populism remain embedded in Chinese practice in rule by law, grassroots autonomy, and intra-party democracy. However, China's hope for democratic development is encouraged by urban and educational development, generational change and growing individualism. This book explores the feasible paths toward democracy in China, challenging methodological wisdom in employing quantitative changes in socioeconomic structure to predict change in the political system.

Dr. Lin Gang is distinguished professor of political science and chairman of academic committee at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s School of International and Public Affairs, director of Center for Taiwan Studies, and member of the University’s Academic Committee (2008—). He is also a vice president of Shanghai Society for Taiwan Studies and senior research associate of Collaborative Innovation Center for Peaceful Development of Across-Strait Relations. He served as Program Associate at the Woodrow Wilson Center (1999-2005) and President of the Association of Chinese Political Studies (1998-1999). He has authored China’s Long Quest for Democracy (Palgrave, March 2016), The U.S. Policy toward Taiwan and Its Evolution in the New Era (Jiuzhou Press, forthcoming in 2015), A Study on Party Politics in Taiwan (Chinese Social Sciences Press, 2014), Taiwan’s Political Transition and the Evolution of Cross-Strait Relations (Jiuzhou Press, 2010), co-edited China after Jiang (Woodrow Wilson Center Press & Stanford University Press, 2003), Transition toward Post-Deng China (Singapore University Press, 2001) and Prospects for Cross-Taiwan Strait Developments (Hong Kong: Asia Sciences Press, 2000), co-authored Taiwan’s Political Transition (Hong Kong: Social Sciences Press, 1997), and contributed numerous articles and book chapters. He has frequently participated in international conferences held in the United States, Mainland China and Taiwan. He was invited by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference to attend and observer its 10th annual meeting in Beijing, March 2003. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Pennsylvania State University (1997), MA in Taiwan studies from Xiamen University (1984), and BA in history from Fujian Normal University (1982).


Co-sponsored by University of Pennsylvania Center for East Asian Studies and Foreign Policy Research Institute