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Zouping Revisited: Adaptive Governance in a Chinese County

Steven Goldstein
Stanford University Press
2018

China has undergone dramatic change in its economic institutions in recent years, but surprisingly little change politically. Somehow, the political institutions seem capable of governing a vastly more complex market economy and a rapidly changing labor force. One possible explanation, examined in Zouping Revisited, is that within the old organizational molds there have been subtle but profound changes to the ways these governing bodies actually work. The authors take as a case study the local government of Zouping County and find that it has been able to evolve significantly through ad hoc bureaucratic adaptations and accommodations that drastically change the operation of government institutions.

Zouping has long served as a window into local-level Chinese politics, economy, and culture. In this volume, top scholars analyze the most important changes in the county over the last two decades. The picture that emerges is one of institutional agility and creativity as a new form of resilience within an authoritarian regime.