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Thursday, April 28, 2022, at 8:00pm – 9:00pm EDT

Governing and Ruling: The Political Logic of Taxation in China

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Rapid social economic changes, the transition from a planned economy to a market economy, or even economic liberalization can lead to political instability and the collapse of authoritarian regimes. Despite experiencing all of these unprecedented changes in the past forty years, China under the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership has so far successfully transformed and improved both its governance capacity and its ruling capacity. Governing and Ruling addresses this regime resilience puzzle by examining the political logic of its taxation system, especially the ways in which taxation helps China handle three governance problems: maneuvering social control, improving agent discipline, and eliciting cooperation. Changdong Zhang argues that a taxation system plays an important role in sustaining authoritarian rule, in China and elsewhere, by combining co-optation and repression functions. The book collects valuable firsthand and secondhand data; studies China’s taxation system, intergovernmental fiscal relationships, composition of fiscal revenue sources, and tax administration; and discusses how each dimension influences the three governance problems.


This webinar is organized by the China Research Center in Atlanta and the US-China Perception Monitor.

Changdong Zhang is an Associate Professor of Political Science at School of Government at Peking University. He received his Ph. D. in political science from University of Washington, Seattle. Prof. Zhang’s research interests include taxation politics/fiscal sociology, state and society relationships, and institutionalism, with a regional focus of China and Asia. Prof. Zhang has published many journal articles and book chapters both in Chinese and English, and is working on a book manuscript titled as Governing and Ruling: taxation and authoritarian resilience.