The Authoritarian Commons: Neighborhood Democratization in Urban China

Mon, Mar 21, 2022, 4:30 pm
Louis A. Simpson, A71 & Zoom
Free and Open to the Public
Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China

All in-person attendees must pre-register for the event in accordance with University policy. Please register HERE.

This event will be simultaneously broadcast via Zoom. To Zoom register, click HERE.

Refreshments will be served.

Please meet at 4:15 PM at the outside entrance closest to A71. This entrance is located on the Shapiro walk level and below the fountain level (picture attached/below). The doors are locked and visitors require escorts; please do not walk in with others entering the building.

A71 Shapiro Walk Entrance

Can a liberal commons emerge in an authoritarian regime? Based on an in-depth investigation of the ongoing self-governance movement among hundreds of millions of homeowners in China, this research examines the tension between authoritarianism and liberal commons for the first time. Based on interviews and surveys with homeowners, government officials, and management company employees across China, this research demonstrates that there is a strong demand for (small-d) democracy in urban China from north to south and from megacities such as Beijing and Shanghai to newly urbanized hinterland such as Zhengzhou and Huaian. Through examining the uneven supply of this (small-d) democracy across China, I identify various factors that contribute to the failure of neighborhood democratization and explore a model of successful supply of democracy in an authoritarian state which features both a strong, capable and accommodating state and civic-minded, well-connected-and-organized, and legally-and-politically-sophisticated homeowners.

Shitong Qiao is Professor of Law and the Ken Young-Gak Yun and Jinah Park Yun Research Scholar at Duke Law School. He was a tenured professor at the University of Hong Kong, a Law and Public Affairs (LAPA) fellow at Princeton University, and the inaugural Jerome A. Cohen Visiting Professor of Law at NYU. Professor Qiao is an expert on property and urban law with a focus on comparative law and China. His first monograph, Chinese Small Property: The Co-Evolution of Law and Social Norms, explores the relationship between law and market transition, and has won multiple prizes in the U.S. and Asia. He is working on his second monograph, The Authoritarian Commons, which explores the relationship between law and social transformation. Professor Qiao has served as an expert (witness) on Chinese property regime in China, Canada and the U.S.

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