The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Reflections on Unrest in China

Posted On September 22, 2016
Categories News
Headshot of a man in a suit and glasses.

Andrew Wedeman, Ph.D.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” says Dr. Andrew Wedeman in a recent Bloomberg article on “Why China’s Experiment in Direct Democracy is Flawed.”

Currently Wedeman is serving as a fellow with the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars Kissinger Institute for China and the United States for the 2016-2017 academic year. Professor Wedeman then will return to GSU’s Political Science Department.

Wedeman’s project is an analysis of the interaction between corruption, mass unrest and political dissent in China.

“The overarching goal is to determine the extent to which corruption might be a destabilizing factor as China continues its emergence as the world’s second superpower,” says Wedeman.

His research documents the pattern of mass unrest and individual dissent, and then explores if changes in unrest and dissent are driven by worsening corruption.

“Since the advent of economic reform and the opening to the world economy in the early 1980s, China has experienced a quantitative increase in the incidence of corruption and a qualitative worsening of the severity of corruption, particularly high level corruption,” Wedeman says.

Individual political dissent also has emerged as what some see as a significant challenge to the regime.

Founded in 1968, the Woodrow Wilson Center is a congressionally chartered foundation which falls under the organizational umbrella of the Smithsonian Institution. It seeks to honor the memory of President Woodrow Wilson, the only American president to hold a Ph.D. (in Political Science) by bringing policy makers and scholars together to explore global challenges and seek solutions to these challenges.

The Kissinger Institute, a unit of the Wilson Center, was established in 2008 and seeks to promote greater understanding of the complex relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.