The Applicability of Governance Theory in China

  • Jianxing Yu
  • Shizong Wang


Governance has become the new catchword among both academics and policy makers. Governance theory has become fashionable over the past several decades in Western countries. Governance (good governance) has been treated as a possible road to modern state building in non-Western countries. The rise of governance theory has attracted immediate attention from Chinese researchers, and governance studies in China began almost at the same time as it did in the West. With Chinese institutional reforms in mind, many scholars have introduced governance theory and applied it to the studies of Chinese administration reforms and political institution changes. However, there has been a heated debate over whether governance theory that originates from the Western context can be applied to China, a country with different structural conditions in democracy, rule of law, and civil society. A concern with its applicability to the Chinese context is understandable, yet it cannot be taken as adequate grounds for scientific reasoning. A simple denial of the applicability of governance theory in China based on structural analysis may presuppose that structure (such as power structure, institutional structure, social structure, etc.) is not changeable, and ignore the impacts of social and economic changes on the process of public management and the growth of civil society in contemporary China.


Civil Society Good Governance Public Affair Chinese Context Citizen Participation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Chen Shengyong and Ma Bin (2004). “Wenzhou minjian shanghui de zizhu zhili zhidu fenxi” [An Institutional Analysis of Wenzhou Chamber of Commerce’s self-governance: A Typical Study on Wenzhou Clothing Chamber of Commerce]. Guanli shijie [Management World], 12: 31–49.Google Scholar
  2. Chhotray, V. and Stoker, G. (2009). Governance Theory and PracticeA Cross-Disciplinary Approach. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  3. David Miller and Vernon Bogdanor (1992). The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Science, Chinese translation. Beijing: China University of Political Science and Law Press.Google Scholar
  4. Deng Zhenglai and Jing Yuejin (2002). “Jiangou zhongguo de shiminshehui” [Constructing Civil Society in China]. In Shiminshehui de lilun yanjiu [Study on Civil Society Theory], ed. Deng Zhenglai, 1–25. Beijing: Zhongguo zhengfa daxue chubanshe.Google Scholar
  5. Gan Yang (1998). “‘Minjian shehui’ gainian pipan” [Criticism on the concept “Civil Society”]. In Guojia yu shehui [State and Society], ed. Zhang Jing, 24–35. Hangzhou: Zhejiang renmin chubanshe.Google Scholar
  6. Gray, J. (1993). Post Liberalism: Studies in Political Thought. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Grindle, M.S. (2004). “Good Enough Governance: Poverty Reduction and Reform in Developing Countries.” Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, 17(4): 525–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gu Xin and Wang Xu (2005). “Cong guojiazhuyi dao fatuanzhuyi: zhongguo shichang zhuanxing guocheng zhong guojia yu zhuanyetuanti de guanxi yan-bian” [From Statism to Corporatism: Evolution of the Relationship between the State and Professional Organizations in the Process of Marketization in China]. Shehuixue yanjiu [Sociological Studies], 2: 145–75.Google Scholar
  9. Han Hen (2008). “Shutu tonggui de gongmin shehui?—yu yujianxing zhoujun erwei xiansheng shangque” [All Roads Lead to Civil Society?—Discussion with Mr. Yu Jianxing and Zhou Jun]. Ershiyi shiji [ The Twenty-First Century], Oct.: 126–30.Google Scholar
  10. He Zengke (2007). “Zhongguo difang zhengfu chuangxin yu zhengzhi hefaxing: yixiang chubu de jingyanxing yanjiu” [Chinese Local Government’s Innovation and Political Legitimacy: A Preliminary Empirical Study]. Yunnan xingzheng xueyuan xuebao [Journal of Yunnan Administration College], 2: 8–13.Google Scholar
  11. Jessop, B. (1996). “Interpretive Sociology and the Dialectic of Structure and Agency.” Theory of Culture Society, 13(1): 119–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jessop, B (2002). “Guojia lilun de xinjinzhan—gezhong taolun zhenlundian he yicheng(xu)” [New Developments of State Theory—Various Discussions, Arguments and Agenda]. Shijie zhexue [World Philosophy], 2: 22–26.Google Scholar
  13. Jia Xijin and Huang Aili (2007). “Chengshi shequ de canyushi zhili—yi ning-boshi haishuqu weili” [Paticipatory Governance in Urban Community—A Case Study of Haishu District, Ningbo City]. In Difang zhengfu chuangxin yu gongmin shehui fazhan guoji yantaohui lunwenji [Collection of the International Symposium on Local Government Innovation and Development of Civil Society], 217–31. Hangzhou: Zhejiang University.Google Scholar
  14. Kang Xiaoguang and Han Hen (2005). “Fenlei kongzhi: dangqian zhongguo dalu guojia yu shehui guanxi yanjiu” [Graduated Controls: The State-Society Relationship in Contemporary China]. Shehuixue yanjiu [Sociological Studies], 6: 73–89.Google Scholar
  15. Li Wenxing and Zheng Haiming (2007). “Lun difangzhili shiye xia de zhengfu yu gongzhong hudongshi goutong jizhi de goujian” [On the Construction of An Interactive Communication Mechanism between the Government and the Public from the Perspective of Local Governance]. Zhongguo xingzheng guanli [Chinese Public Administration], 5: 69–72.Google Scholar
  16. Lieberthal, K. (1988). “Introduction: The ‘Fragmented Authoritarianism’ Model and Its Limitations.” In Policy Making in China: Leaders, Structures, and Processes, ed. K. Lieberthal and M. Oksengerg, 1–30. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Liu Jianjun (2003). “Zhili huanxing: tiaochu guojia quanli huigui shehui de xianjin” [Governance Retards: Out of the Trap of State Powers back to Society]. Lilun wencui [Theory Quintessence], 4: 16–18.Google Scholar
  18. Liu Zhichang (2007). “Caogen zuzhi de shengzhang yu shequ zhili jiegou de zhuanxing” [The Growth of Grass-roots Organizations and the Transformation of Community Governance Structure]. Shehui zhuyi yanjiu [Socialist Studies], 4: 94–96.Google Scholar
  19. Ma, Q. (2002). “Defining Chinese Nongovernmental Organizations.” Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 13(2): 113–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Saich, A. (2009). “Mangrenmoxiang: zhongguo difang zhengfu fenxi” [The Blind Man and the Elephant: Analysing the Local State in China]. In Difang de fuxing: difang zhili gaige 30nian [Bring the Local back in: Reform and Changes of China Local Governance since 1978], ed. Yang Xuedong and Lai Hairong, 383–415. Beijing: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.Google Scholar
  21. Schmitter, P.C. (1979). “Still the Century of Corporatism?” In Trends Toward Corporatist Intermediation, ed. P.C. Schmitter and G. Lehmbruch, 7–52. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  22. Shen Chengcheng and Zuo Bintuan (2005). “Social Conditions of Introducing Western Governance Theory.” Administrative Tribune, no. 5.Google Scholar
  23. Solinger, DJ. (1992). “Urban Entrepreneurs and the State: The Merger of State and Society.” In State and Society in China: The Consequences of Reform, ed. A.G. Rosenbaum, 121–41. London: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  24. Stoker G. (2007). “Difang zhili yanjiu: fanshi, lilun yu qishi” [Local Governance: Paradigm, Theories and Implications]. Zhejiang daxue xuebao(renwen shehui kexue ban) [Journal of Zhejiang University (Humanities and Social Sciences)], 2: 5–15.Google Scholar
  25. Sun Baiying (2004). Dangdai difang zhili [Contemporary Local Governance]. Beijing: Zhongguo renmin daxue chubanshe.Google Scholar
  26. Tang Shiqi (1996). “‘Shimin shehui’, xiandai guojia ji zhongguo de guojia shehui guanxi” [“Civil Society,” Modern State and State-Society Relationship in China]. Beijing daxue xuebao (zhexue shehuikexue ban) [Journal of Peking University (Philosophy and Social Sciences)], 6: 65–71.Google Scholar
  27. Ting Jenfang (1999). Weiquan tonghezhuyi: lilun, fazhan yu zhuanxing [Authoritarian Corporatism: Theory, Development and Transformation]. Taipei: Shiying chubanshe.Google Scholar
  28. Tsou Tang (1994). Ershi shiji zhongguo zhengzhi: cong hongguan lishi yu weiguan xingdong jiaodu kan [Twentieth Century Chinese Politics: From the Perspective of Macro-History and Micro-Mechanism Analysis]. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Unger, J., and A. Chan (1995). “China, Corporatism, and the East Asian Model,” The Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, 33 (Jan): 29–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wakeman, Jr., F. (1993). “The Civil Society and Public Sphere Debate.” Modern China, 19(2): 108–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wang Shinshien (2006). Zhengbian zhong de zhongguo shehui zuzhi yanjiu: guojia-shehui guanxi de shijiao [Chinese Social Organizations in Debate: A Perspective of State-Society Relationship]. Taipei: Weibo wenhua guoji chuban youxiangongsi.Google Scholar
  32. Wang Shizong (2005). “Hangye zuzhi de zhengzhi yunhan: dui wenzhou shanghui de zhengzhi hefaxing kaocha” [The Political Content of Trade Association—An Exploration to Chambers of Commerce in Wenzhou from the Viewpoint of Political Legitimacy]. Zhejiang daxue xuebao (renwen shehuikexue ban) [Journal of Zhejiang University (Humanity and Social Science)], 2: 158–65.Google Scholar
  33. Wang Shizong (2008). “Zhili lilun de neizai maodun jiqi chulu” [The Internal Contradiction of Governance Theory and Its Future Approach]. Zhexue yanjiu [Philosophical Researches], 2: 83–89.Google Scholar
  34. White, G. (1993). “Prospects for Civil Society in China: A Case Study of Xiaoshan City.” Australian Journal of Chinese affairs, 29(Jan): 63–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Yang Xuedong (2002). “Lun zhili de zhidu jichu” [On Institutional Foundations of Governance]. Tianjin shehuikexue [Tianjin Social Sciences], 2: 43–46.Google Scholar
  36. Yu Jianxing (2011). “Tensions between Governance and State Building.” Journal of Chinese Political Science, 16(1): 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Yu Jianxing and Zhou Jun (2008a). “Gonggong shiwu guanli zhong de gongmin-shehui—zhongguo gongminshehui fazhan lujing de pipan yu fansi” [Civil Society in Administration of Public Affairs—Criticism and Reflection on Paths of China Civil Society Development]. Ershiyi shiji [The Twenty-first Century]. Apr: 11–18.Google Scholar
  38. Yu Jianxing, Jiang Hua, and Zhou Jun (2008b). Chinese Civil Society Growing out of Participation. Zhejiang University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Yu Keping (1999). “Zhongguo gongmin shehui de xingqi yu zhili de bianqian” [The Rise of China Civil Society and Governance Changes]. Zhongguo she-huikexue jikan [Chinese Social Sciences Quarterly], Autumn: 105–17.Google Scholar
  40. Yu Keping (2000). Zhili yu Shanzhi [Governance and Good Governance]. Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press.Google Scholar
  41. Yu Keping (2001). “Zhongguo li shanzhi you duoyuan” [How Far is China from Good Governance]. Chinese Public Administration, 9: 15–17.Google Scholar
  42. Yu Keping (2005). “Zhongguo gongmin shehui de xingqi jiqi dui zhili de yiyi” [The Rise of China Civil Society and Its Significance in Governance]. In Zengliang minzhu yu shanzhi [Incremental Democracy and Good Governance], ed. Yu Keping, 188–99. Beijing: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.Google Scholar
  43. Zang Zhijun (2003). “‘Zhili’: wutuobang haishi xianshi?” [“Governance”: Utopia or Reality?]. Lilun wencui [Theory Quintessence], 4: 10–11.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Deng Zhenglai and Sujian Guo 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianxing Yu
  • Shizong Wang

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations