Seeking Innovation with Central Authorization: Mapping Chinese Local Governments’ Innovations During the Xi Era

This talk will analyse the new progress of local government innovation in China since Xi takes over the power. The previous research has mostly focused on two models of local innovations: “exploration” by local governments;”pilots” by central government. In this talk, a new rebalancing model— “proposal-approved”, involving both local government and central government, is introduced. It describes that local governments design local innovation programmes and then report to central government instead of putting into practice directly. Only after getting formal authorization from the central government, local governments would conduct those innovative programmes. After Xi´s highlighting of law-based administration and anti-corruption campaign, local governments have limited autonomy to employ innovative programmes independently, which is also discouraged by central government. This new model is a strategic response of local government towards the change of political winds after the 18th CPC National Congress. The talk argues that local government innovation in China is experiencing a shift, from “exploration” and “pilots” to “proposal-approved”. It allows local governments to still keep certain autonomy for local affairs but take no risk offending the central government´ willingness and rules.​

About the speaker:

Dean Yu Jianxing

Yu Jianxing is a professor of political science and dean of the School of Public Affairs, Zhejiang University. He is also editor-in-chief of Journal of Chinese Governance (Routledge). He obtained his PhD in philosophy from Fudan University, Shanghai. He was a visiting professor to University of Edinburgh (2004) and Arizona State University (2006-2008), University of Tuebingen (2011) and University of Duisburg-Essen (2014). His recent research focuses on local governance, government innovation and civil society organizations in contemporary China. Among his numerous books are A Path for Chinese Civil Society (Lexington Books, 2012), Civil Society and Governance in China (co-authored, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and From State-led Development to Endogenous Development Redefining Rural and Agricultural Development in China (Beijing, 2013). His work has been published on Australian Journal of Public Administration, Sustainability, Public Administration Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China, China Review, Journal of Chinese Political Science among others.

RSVP | Event poster

Note: This event will also be conducted in Chinese at 4pm.