Studies of protests, demonstrations, strikes, and other forms of social unrest in China overwhelmingly study the phenomenon from a micro perspective. Little is known about how protests in China are distributed temporally and spatially, which grievances they address, how many people they involve, and how likely they are to meet with repression. Drawing on a dataset of 74,452 protests distributed all over China, this chapter provides insights into to these issues. The results show that, as a tendency, protests in China are widespread, staged by (migrant) workers, and occur in waves that peak at Chinese New Year, when migrants return home. Another noteworthy phenomenon is a steep increase in protests by homeowners. This means that protests by members of the middle class are on the rise, which should worry the authorities. Protests against land grabs and evictions are less frequent than the literature on these issues suggests, and have been declining in recent years relative to protests motivated by other grievances. Environmental protests are few and far between. Most protests aim for financial compensation, but not for substantive rights, and involve fewer than 30 persons.
Since Taiwan became democratic in 1992, and especially after the change in ruling parties in 2000, the passage of new laws and the reform of existing ones have defined more clearly than ever what constitutes “corrupt” behavior, and legal changes have followed international norms. Moreover, since the change in ruling parties, judicial independence has been guaranteed and anti-corruption agencies have been strengthened considerably. Despite the fact that there is still corruption and that the institutional configuration of Taiwan’s anti-corruption agencies is far from optimum, these are major achievements. The present study explains these achievements by analyzing the impact of two turning points in Taiwan’s history—democratization and the change in ruling parties—on agency in Taiwan’s anti-corruption reforms. It does so by applying the methodology of process-tracing, which investigates the historical developments around these two “critical junctures” in Taiwan’s history while taking into consideration enabling and constraining factors “inherited” from the authoritarian era. The analysis primarily draws on interviews conducted with former and present officials, judges, and investigators in October 2014.