Asian Journal of Criminology

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 275–291 | Cite as

Police Legitimacy and Citizen Cooperation in China: Testing an Alternative Model

  • Ivan Y. SunEmail author
  • Luye Li
  • Yuning Wu
  • Rong Hu


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.


Legitimacy 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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Criminal JusticeUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Criminal JusticeWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  3. 3.Department of Sociology and Social WorkXiamen UniversityXiamenChina

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