Why do large-scale land protests in China succeed or fail?

Tang, Yongfeng (2020) Why do large-scale land protests in China succeed or fail? Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Land protests account for a large portion of all protests in China, but existing scholarship on this topic does not explain under which conditions large-scale land protests succeed or fail. This thesis will attempt to answer this question by focusing on five large-scale land protests that happened in China from 2012 to 2017. I argue that large-scale land protests are more likely to succeed under three conditions: when 1) domestic media reports on this protest are supportive or on the protesters’ side; 2) the protests are violent, and 3) the protests occur in the early stages of a developmental project. Those conditions do not work in isolation, but they coincide with protest success in those five cases that I investigated in this research. Using media analysis and doing a one-and-a-half-month-long period of fieldwork in China, I found that domestic media in China played two roles in determining the outcome of a protest: a “catalyst” role or a “watchdog” role. I also distinguished between short-term outcomes and long-term outcomes and found that the success of a short-term outcome will not necessarily guarantee the long-term outcome of a protest. Thirdly, I found that not only does the level of violence of the protest matter, but also which side used violence first affects the outcome of a large-scale land protest. This research contributed to the literature on contentious politics in China by highlighting under what conditions do large-scale land protests in China tend to succeed in the Xi Jinping era.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14439
Item ID: 14439
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 111-140).
Keywords: land protest, China, domestic media, violence, contentious politics
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Political Science
Date: March 2020
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Land use--China--History--21st century; Protest movements--China--History--21st century.

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