Popular Protest in China
Popular Protest in China

Popular protest in China has been widespread and prevalent. But why do people protest and how are such demonstrations handled by the Chinese authorities?  Have protests changed the way that people interact with the government?  Could they ultimately threaten China’s political system?


In this comprehensive book, leading scholar of Chinese government and politics Teresa Wright analyzes the array of protests that have swept China in the post-Mao period to answer these pressing questions.  Exploring the origins and nature of political protest through a range of different groups in China — from farmers to factory workers, urban homeowners to environmentalists, nationalists to dissidents, Wright shows that popular protest has achieved adequate government responses to the public’s most serious grievances.  Indeed, to the extent that protest demands have been met with sympathy or support on the part of national political leaders, protest may actually have worked to strengthen central government legitimacy in China.


Yet Wright cautions that this may not last forever. For Chinese citizens that engage in protest often suffer serious emotional and physical costs.  As a result, they have developed an unhealthy relationship with regime.  In this context, Xi Jinping’s recent efforts to restrict public expression may backfire — leading to an explosive dynamic that may threaten the political stability that China’s ruling elites so desire.

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  • June 2018 (pb)
    June 2018 (hb)
  • 272 pages
  • 148 x 210 mm / 6 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509503551
  • Paperback $22.95
  • 9781509503568
  • Open eBook $18.99
  • 9781509503599
Table of Contents



Chapter One: Popular Protest in the Post-Mao Era

Chapter Two: Rural Protest

Chapter Three: Labor Protest

Chapter Four: Homeowner Protest

Chapter Five: Environmental Protest

Chapter Six: Nationalist Protest

Chapter Seven: Political Protest

Chapter Eight: Ethnic Minority Protest

Chapter Nine: Protest in Hong Kong


About the Author
Teresa Wright is Professor of Political Science at California State University, Long Beach
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"Teresa Wright has done it again. As in her earlier book on authoritarian durability, she's mastered a large and scattered literature and located the thread that weaves it together for specialists and general readers alike. Protest is crucial and tells us much about state-society relations in China, but it's not an existential threat to Party rule, at least yet. Whether it's peasants, workers, homeowners or environmental activists, contention and how it's handled illustrates how various groups are faring, and is a reminder that some of them, such as ethnic minorities, rights-protection lawyers and Hong Kong residents, are not always buying the deal on offer. The origins, dynamics and outcomes of protest are all here, explained clearly and gracefully, from the beginnings of the reform era to today.”
Kevin J. O'Brien, University of California, Berkeley

“In this concise but remarkably wide-ranging book, Teresa Wright shows why the Chinese government represses some protests, accommodates others, and responds with policy change to still others. Her keen insights on the government’s varied responses to protest have a lot to say about the practice of Chinese politics and our understanding of it.”
Bruce Dickson, The George Washington University

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