Does economic inequality in China have political repercussions? While China scholars have approached this question in various ways, few studies have directly tested the relationship between people's perceptions of income inequality and political support in China. This article examines the direct relationship between perceptions of income inequality, especially the perception of fairness in income distribution, on the one hand, and people's subjective support for China's political regime, on the other. By drawing data from the 2016 Asian Barometer Survey, the authors employ factor analysis, multiple imputation for missing values, and ordinary least squares regression analysis to estimate the relationship between perceptions of income inequality and political support. Results have consistently shown that the perceived unfairness of income distribution overshadows the perceived level of income disparity in influencing people's regime support. Chinese respondents who think income distribution is unfair tend to show weak political support for the political regime in China. These findings suggest that even though some Chinese people may be tolerant of the widening income gap in China, the perceived unfairness in the income gap poses a potential threat to the Chinese government.


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pp. 1-24
Launched on MUSE
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