Since economic reforms were introduced in the late 1970s, China has undergone significant political, economic, and social transformations. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)- led government has encountered massive student-led protests, outlasted both Eastern European and Soviet variants of communism, and weathered ethnic riots. Despite numerous predictions of its impending demise and anticipation of political liberalization, the CCP has remained in power. What intrigues as well as confounds many China observers is not only the absence of liberal democratic change in the country but also the fact that the Chinese Communist regime has become increasingly adept at managing challenges posed by leadership succession, popular unrest, administrative reorganization, legal institutionalization, and integration in the global economy. Without doubt, China’s economic growth and lack of political liberalization have come at a great cost. Ordinary Chinese citizens are deprived of civil liberties. The absence of democratic restraints has contributed to cadre corruption, labor exploitation, poor consumer protection, environmental degradation, and increasing socioeconomic inequality. The “interplay of repression and resistance” animates and dominates the popular imagination of the political situation in China. But these stories mask the more nuanced face of the Chinese Communist regime. Coercion is not a staple of daily political life. As Stern and Hassid point out, less than 1 percent of the activists in China are severely punished or imprisoned. What makes the repressive Chinese Communist system so resilient? How does the Chinese state secure compliance from the governed? How does the regime maintain quiescence among individual activists and organizations? These questions address widespread concerns about how China can continue its economic growth without political reform.
The collapse of China’s communist regime has been predicted for nearly two decades. Yet despite ample evidence of unrest, the regime has displayed remarkable resilience. In this chapter, I begin by examining the evidence on China’s internal security environment, highlighting the range and complexity of the challenges the regime faces. I then analyze the “coming collapse” thesis both as it has been applied to China and as it is related to the literature on contentious politics. Ultimately, the key flaw with the coming collapse argument lies in its determinism. It seems clear that there is considerable unrest in China, but the dynamics of contention are far more complex and contingent than as presented in the coming collapse thesis. In the late 1990s, Shambaugh and others sought to answer the “big” question: “Is China unstable?” At the time, communism in the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact had imploded a decade earlier and been swept into the “dustbin of history.” Deng Xiaoping, the regime’s strongman, had died in 1997. The double-digit growth rates of the mid-1990s had fallen sharply, and social unrest was increasing. In 1993, the Ministry of Public Security reported there had been 8,700 “mass incidents”—illegal assemblies (24 a day). Five years later, the ministry reported the number had increased nearly three-fold to 25,000 (69 a day).
Opportunities, Risks and Dilemmas for the State as Buyer
Edited by Olga Martin-Ortega and Claire Methven O’Brien
Every year, millions of migratory birds journey along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF). The scope of the EAAF encompasses Asia Pacific nations like Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. The effective conservation of these birds rests upon the implementation of bilateral legal agreements as well as non-binding regional initiatives along this North-South nexus. This article evaluates the implementation of one of the most important bilateral bird agreements in the region – the China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (CAMBA). The main obligations in CAMBA are identified; as are the legal initiatives adopted by both China and Australia which reflect CAMBA's obligations. Whilst Australian law makes specific reference to CAMBA, Chinese law is far less direct, though perhaps no less effective. The argument is made that the findings in this article have relevance for an improved understanding of the mechanisms for transboundary governance of migratory birdlife, especially in the Asia Pacific.
Beatriz Garcia and Jonathan Verschuuren
Australia's new illegal logging laws aim at prohibiting the import of illegally harvested forest products from around the world. Soon after adoption, and following an intense debate on the expected costs of compliance, the legislation was reviewed and the proposed amendments finally disallowed. As of 2018 stricter enforcement actions were announced. This article identifies compliance issues observed in Australia and proposes ways to tackle them based on experiences in the United States and the European Union. We find that law enforcement helps shape market behaviour and reinforces compliance. A national legality assurance system, established in the supplier country, is an effective way to ensure legality verification, to alleviate the burden on individual businesses to prove legality, and to support the regulated community to comply with the law.
Wim Huisman and Daniel Sidoli
It is often the case that harms to societies go hand in hand. This seems to be true when looking at cases in which corporations are accused of contributing to human rights abuses, environmental degradation and corruption in developing nations. This article considers the relationships between these three harms from the perspective of corporations as actors involved in producing those harms. Based on a cross-case analysis of 45 cases in which this nexus of harms is found, this article assesses the atrocity crimes/environmental degradation/corruption-nexus, by studying agency (crime scripts), actors (industries and corporations) and connections (how are the three harms related?) in these cases. The analysis shows that corporations are mostly indirectly involved in atrocity crimes, but directly involved in environmental harm and corruption. Extractive industries are overrepresented and the many entanglements with state agents qualify as state-corporate crime. The relations between the harms are multifaceted and can be causal, spurious and synonymous by nature.