Declining Legislative Dissent in China: Evidence from National and Provincial Party Congress Elections

  • VOL. 20 NO. 2
  • pp. 231-242

Tao Li

  • Keywords

    Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, party congress elections

  • Abstract

    Using a novel statistical method, we estimate the vote counts of the secret elections held by the National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party from 1945 to 2017. We also construct a metric for voter preference diversity based on a standard index of legislative party fractionalization. We find that both the number of dissenting votes and the voter preference diversity index plummeted to the bottom in 2017, which is an unprecedented phenomenon in the party's history. Applying the same method to provincial party congress elections from 2006–2017, we find that provincial dissenting votes also declined around the same time, though the magnitude is relatively smaller and there is a wide range of provincial variations. We suggest that President Xi's suppression of formal party institutions is complete at the national level but not yet at the provincial level.

  • Author(s) Bio

    Tao Li is Associate Professor in the Department of Government and Public Administration at the University of Macau. He obtained a Ph.D. in Political Science and an M.A. in Statistics from Harvard University. Dr. Li’s research focuses on Chinese public policy and political economy, especially education/labor policy and elite politics.