Elections, land and governance in rural China - AAME seminar with Xin Sun, Wednesday 1 March 2017, 5-6.30, FW101

February 16, 2017

Dr Xin Sun from the University of Oxford will talk about Post-Election Governance and Land Expropriations in Rural China.

An under-explored issue of quasi-democratic institutions in authoritarian regimes concerns the ability of institutions to impose binding restrictions on the discretion of ruling regime elites, or institutional bindingness.


This article examines the institutional bindingness of village elections in China by focusing on how power is exercised in post-election governance.


Through a unique lens of land expropriations, it finds that the division of power between elected Villagers’ Committees (VCs) and largely non-elected village Party branches significantly affects the positions village officials take in land expropriations as well as the outcomes of expropriations.


Moreover, the division of power depends on the bargaining power of villagers and local state authorities.


These findings point to the importance of institutional bindingness for understanding the role of quasi-democratic institutions in authoritarian governance.

Xin Sun is a career development fellow in the political economy of China at St Edmund Hall and Saïd Business School.


His research focuses on the politics of land and property rights, urbanization, and regulation and governance in China.


His research has appeared in Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of Contemporary China, Journal of East Asian Studies, Political Studies, and The China Journal.


Prior to joining Oxford, he was an assistant professor in political science at Trinity College Dublin.


He graduated from Northwestern University in 2014 with a Ph.D. in political science, where he was also a research fellow at the Institute for Policy Research. He holds a BA from Peking University.


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Global Politics and Development Centre

Department of Politics and International Relations

Royal Holloway

University of London

Egham, Surrey

TW20 0EX