Police Legitimacy and Citizen Cooperation in China: Testing an Alternative Model
Past research has identified several mechanisms of promoting citizen cooperation with the police, with Tyler’s process-based policing model being one of the most frequently tested frameworks in this line of inquiry. Using data collected from a large sample of residents in a large Chinese city, this study assesses an alternative model of Tyler’s work proposed by Tankebe (2013), positing that police legitimacy, embodied in four aspects of procedural justice, distributive justice, effectiveness, and lawfulness, affects people’s obligation to obey the police, which further influences their cooperation with the police. Results from second-order confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling analysis suggested that Tankebe’s work is supported by the Chinese data. Implications for future research and policy are discussed.
KeywordsLegitimacy Procedural justice Distributive justice Lawfulness Chinese policing
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Boateng, F. (2017). Institutional trust and performance: a study of the police in Ghana. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 51, 164–182 Online first at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0004865817712335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bottoms, A., & Tankebe, J. (2012). Beyond procedural justice: a dialogue approach to legitimacy in criminal justice. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 102, 119–170.Google Scholar
- Hough M., Jackson, J., & Bradford, B. (2012). Trust in justice and the legitimacy of legal authorities: topline findings from a comparative European study. Accessed on December 10, 2016 at http://www.fiduciaproject.eu/publications.
- Huq, A., Jackson, J., & Trinkner, R. (2017). Legitimating practices: revisiting the predicates of police legitimacy. British Journal of Criminology, 57, 1101–1122.Google Scholar
- Legal Daily. (2012). A report on mass incidents in 2012. Accessed July 31, 2014 from http://www.legaldaily.com.cn/The_analysis_of_public_opinion/content/2012-12/27/content_4092138.htm.
- Nivette, A., & Akoensi, T. (2017). Determinants of satisfaction with police in a developing country: a randomized vignette study. Policing and Society. Online first at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10439463.2017.1380643.
- Perry, E. (2010). Popular protest: playing by the rules. In J. Fewsmith (Ed.), China today, China tomorrow: domestic politics, economy, and society (pp. 11–28). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
- SINA (2004). More than 7,000 officers were investigated: Chines police aggressively enforce disciplinary problems. Available online at http://news.sina.com.cn/o/2004-02-24/09061881893s.shtml.
- Smith, D. (2007). The foundations of legitimacy. In T. Tyler (Ed.), Legitimacy and criminal justice: international perspectives (pp. 30–58). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
- The Economist Intelligence Unit (2013). Democracy index 2013: democracy in limbo. Available online at http://www.ihsnews.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Democracy_Index_2013_WEB-2.pdf.
- The National Research Council. (2004). Fairness and effectiveness in policing: the evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- Tyler, T. (1990). Why people obey the law. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Tyler, T., & Fagan, J. (2008). Legitimacy and cooperation: why do people help the police fight crime in their communities. Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, 6, 231.Google Scholar
- Tyler, T., & Huo, Y. (2002). Trust in the law. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
- Wang, L. (2007). An analysis of police occupational crime. Zhengzhou: Zhengzhou University Press.Google Scholar
- Wang, H. (2010). Research and analysis on police’s current health and exercise conditions. Journal of the Guizhou Police College, 1, 109–113.Google Scholar
- Wu, Y., Jiang, S., & Lambert, E. (2010). Citizen support for community policing in China. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, 34, 286–303.Google Scholar