On 31 Augustus 2018 Cong-rui Qiao defends her PhD dissertation, titled Institutional Resolutions of Mass Actions in Post-reform China.
Mass actions, describing a group of complainants collectively challenging the unfairness of government policies and/or the culpability of government functionaries, have been recorded across different times and in different societies, particularly so since the 1990s following the so-called ‘waves of democratisation’. This phenomenon has been widely discussed, examined and explained with varying theoretical terms and from varying disciplinary perspectives.
Most academic quests are, however, more fascinated by specific cases than reflective of the functioning of the overall complaint management system. As such, this study provides an interdisciplinary insight into institutional resolutions of mass actions in post-reform China (1980s to 2015). It is not only at an abstract and theoretical level, but also offers detailed evidence to substantiate its analytical framework.
It is concerned with intra-institutional and extra-institutional factors that influence credibility of the post-reform settlement of mass actions. One part deals with internal functionality, namely, how successfully these institutions fulfil their proclaimed roles. The other part looks into their externally perceived functionality, namely, how successful their functioning is introduced and interpreted in the public sphere. It details three cases – collective petitions, labour actions and rural demonstrations, and makes sense of how and how well major complaint handling institutions function in the context of respective mass actions.