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Allies of the State

PDF Jie Chen and Bruce J. Dickson draw on extensive fieldwork as they explore the extent to which China s private sector supports democracy, surveying more than 2,000 entrepreneurs in five coastal provinces with over 70 percent of China s private enterprises. The authors examine who the private entrepreneurs are, how the party-state shapes this group, and what their relationship to the state is. China s entrepreneurs are closely tied to the state through political and financial relationships, and these ties shape their views toward democracy. While most entrepreneurs favor multi-candidate elections under the current one-party system, they do not support a system characterized by multi-party competition and political liberties, including the right to demonstrate. The key to regime support lies in the capitalists political beliefs and their assessment of the government s policy performance. China s capitalists tend to be conservative and status-quo oriented, not likely to serve as agents of democratization. This is a valuable contribution not only to the debates over the prospects for democracy in China but also to understanding the process of democratization around the globe.

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