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A research projects of Prof. Dr. Thomas Heberer of the University of Duisburg-Essen and Prof. Dr. Gunter Schubert of the University of Tübingen [2009-12/2014] – Local cadres in China



Sponsored by theLogo DFG


Any substantial assessment of China’s state capacity cannot be undertaken without a careful analysis of the local state. County and township cadres are of utmost importance here – a fact which has rarely been researched so far. They have a high degree of autonomy vis-à-vis the central state und are the decisive actors concerning the implementation of China’s agricultural policies and the government’s efforts to reform the system of rural finance. It is the local cadres who decide about the central state’s success to maintain social stability and regime loyalty among China’s peasants. What kind of rationality do local cadres follow when they carry out central policies? To what extent do they develop a collective identity that makes them a self-conscious strategic group in China’s political system, and how does this impact on state capacity and regime legitimacy? The project intends to find answers to this question by a systematic analysis of the implementation of the “Construction of a new countryside” comparing different counties and townships. By that, it makes an important contribution to the understanding of political development in contemporary China. The project has been extended by the DFG until the end of 2014.

Field rese­arch wit­hin this pro­ject was con­duc­ted by Tho­mas Hebe­rer and R�ené Trap­pel in 2008 and in 2009 in two coun­ties: Laixi (Shan­dong) and Sui­ning (Sichuan) and in 2010 in Mei­tan County and Xifeng County (Guiz­hou Province). Gun­ter Schu­bert and Anna Ahlers conduczed field research in Mizhi (Shaanxi), Qin­gyuan (Zhe­jiang), and Jinjiang (Fujian).

The project was extended by the DFG until the end of 2014.


Project Website
Detailed description (doc)
DFG Proposal (pdf)