Introduction: Local Governance in China—Past, Present, and Future

  • Jianxing YuEmail author


As China celebrates its 40th anniversary, in 2018, of the reform and opening-up, it is an opportune moment to examine China’s development characteristics from the perspective of local governance. From 1978 to 2018, the main focal point of China’s reform and opening-up has been the decentralization from the government to the market and the society, as well as the decentralization from the central government to local governments. China’s local governments, which directly undertake local economic development, the provision of public services, and social functions, carry out the policies of the central government and perform de facto governmental functions, as well as offer key insights into to Chinese governmental operation. In China, a local governance system—which gives priority to local governments and includes both market participation and social coordination—is taking shape and playing an increasingly important role in national governance. It’s worth pointing out that China’s reform and opening-up develops along with the global local governance reform, responding to negative effects of globalization in local economic and social development. It plays a key role in a global multilevel governance since it directly deals with a multitude of public issues and services. This shows that local governance in contemporary China, which develops along with globalization, constitutes a key component of the global local governance reform and reflects the application results of governance theories in China.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public AffairsZhejiang UniversityHangzhou, ZhejiangChina

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