The Deliberative Turn in Chinese Political Development

Baogang He, Head of Public Policy and Global Affairs Program at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

This is Lecture 2 of the Wesson Lectures. Professor He's title for the series is "An Empirical Theory of Authoritarian Deliberation. "Authoritarianism in the 21st century has been rejuvenated through deliberative practice, which has spread to countries including China, Malaysia, and Cuba. Such an “authoritarian deliberative turn” may rescue and enliven authoritarian systems, and inspire authoritarian leaders to search for a new form of political rule and regime legitimacy.  This lecture develops a theoretical exploration of this authoritarian type of deliberative politics, which is not considered by the current theorization of deliberative democracy.  The theory of authoritarian deliberation examines the different normative structure, language, and policy impact of authoritarian deliberation. It analyses how authoritarian deliberation is strong at addressing the issue of political stability and the close link between deliberation and governance, but is weak in dealing with the equal political influence of public deliberation.  The theory of authoritarian deliberation frames two possible trajectories of political development in China. (1) The increasing use of deliberative practices stabilizes and strengthens authoritarian rule, or (2) deliberative practices serve as a leading edge of democratization. It makes a modest addition to the literature on deliberative democracy through examining the micro-processes and mechanisms of deliberation-led democratization in China.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013 | 5:30 pm — 7:00 pm
Henry and Monique Brandon Family Community Room, Black Community Services Center

Center for Ethics in Society