Popular Legitimacy from the Chinese Perspective

  • Jinghan Zeng
Part of the Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific book series (CSAP)


The previous chapter studies popular legitimacy in contemporary China from the Western perspective. This chapter approaches this issue from the Chinese perspective. Chinese intellectuals may have valuable insights and perhaps better understand how China is ruled. So far, no systematic study has been conducted to link Chinese intellectuals’ opinions with the English literature — except for Gilley’s and Holbig’s (2009) work. Building on the pioneering work of Gilley and Holbig, my study identifies continuities, new trends, and shifts in emphasis in the Chinese elite debate about political legitimacy by analyzing 125 Chinese articles with “legitimacy” in the title, published between 2008 and 2012. As mentioned in the Introduction chapter, the Chinese debate on legitimacy was mainly inspired by the 2004 party resolution on strengthening the CCP’s ruling capacity. 1 Thus, the debate on legitimacy between 2002 and 2012 largely reflects contemporary Chinese academic discourse on the subject of legitimacy. This chapter compares my dataset (2007–2012) with that of Gilley and Holbig (2002–2007) in order to provide a more comprehensive overview.


Civil Society Citizen Participation Political Legitimacy Political Trust Western Scholar 
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Copyright information

© Jinghan Zeng 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jinghan Zeng
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal HollowayUniversity of LondonUK

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