Who Governs Multiethnic China?

Sara Newland, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Villanova University
| CSCC conference room, Fisher-Bennett 345

While China’s provincial-level minority autonomous regions—and in particular Tibet and Xinjiang—receive substantial media attention, the sensitivity of ethnic politics in China makes these regions difficult to study. Moreover, governance in lower-level autonomous regions (at the county and prefectural levels), where most of China’s minority population resides, remains poorly understood. This paper—part of a book project on local governance in China’s ethnically diverse areas—focuses on patterns of local officeholding at the county level, now the locus of decisionmaking for implementation of many of China’s rural public services. Comparing top officials in minority autonomous counties, non-autonomous counties with large minority populations, and more typical Han-dominated counties, I explore whether different types of officials are chosen to serve in different counties, how well the ethnic makeup of local officialdom reflects the population it serves, and whether patterns of local officeholding in ethnically diverse areas have shifted under Xi Jinping.