This study examines the political development in a well-off, industrialised village of Zhejiang province from 1996 to 2015. It illustrates how urbanisation impacted village politics: the rise in the village's land values, the entrance of outside players to village politics and how the villagers' demands to participate in land expropriation posed an unprecedented challenge to the village leadership and the fledgling democracy. The village's increasing resources also drew the village's economic elite into intense electoral competition. The three elections in which they offered bribes undermined the quality of the elections and governance, as well as villagers' political rights and economic interests. In addition to the village leaders and economic elite, this study identifies the local governments, particularly the town government, as being responsible for the deterioration of the village's elections and governance. While holding the central government accountable for local governments' abuse of "land finance", this study also found that the central government played a positive role in improving village's elections and governance.


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pp. 26-46
Launched on MUSE
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