Come Back to the Middle: Understanding the Representational Aspirations of China's Future Middle Class


Trevor Fay

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It is common knowledge among people in the western world that the People?s Republic of China is an authoritarian power that will use any means necessary to become the greatest economic power in the world. Many fear that China?s authoritarian rule and unprecedented economic surge will combine into making it the world?s most powerful nation with anti-democratic tyrants leading its government. However the exponential growth of China?s middle class might have an effect on this notion, as middle classes are typically believed to be the backbone of democracies around the world. To gain a deeper understanding of whether this could be done, I conducted independent research in Beijing for two months by having qualitative interviews with likely members of China?s future middle class ? primarily college students and young workers under 35 years old ? to determine what issues they deemed most important and their personal interest (and willingness) to work towards representational governance in the Chinese government. Through their answers and my previous knowledge of Chinese culture, the basic feeling of people is that there are more pressing problems than making the government representational, and that the national government will address them. Regarding representational politics, the people believe that there needs to be influence from outside the government to make this happen, yet they are not sure how it can happen.


Xiao-Huang Yin




The Paul K. & Evalyn E. Cook Richter Trusts - International Fellowship

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