Petitioning and Social Stability in China: Case Studies of Anti-nuclear Sentiment

  • Chunhong ShengEmail author
Original Paper


Along with the nuclear renaissance in China, anti-nuclear sentiments are emerging, that are yet to be comprehensively studied by scholars. Conflicts arise due to rapid development and enormous social change, puzzling that stability remains in the society while these conflicts take place. This article analyses the relationship between social mobilizations and social stability in China in the context of anti-nuclear incidents and argues that there are political opportunities and resources for petitioners to exert their influence on the political system. The opportunities arise out of the decentralization and fragmentation of the political system, such as the diverging priorities of the central and local government. Furthermore, if the petitioners blame specific local governments and raise specific demands, local interest groups have a high chance to achieve their desired goals. Petitions facilitate communication between local interest groups and governments which may resolve social conflicts and preserve social stability.


Anti-nuclear incidents Social stability Political opportunities Resource mobilization Framing China 



I would like to thank Guenter Schucher at the Institute of Asian Studies at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies, for his help with idea generation. Further, Prof. Jiaxi Chen at Shenzhen University, for their guidance and support. And finally Julian Barg at Western University for acting as “quality control” for this article.


Funding was provided by Postdoctoral Research Foundation of China (Grant No. 2018M633100) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (41801218).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.China Center for Special Economic Zone ResearchShenzhen UniversityShenzhenChina

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