Social governance in China under Xi Jinping: Big brother is watching you!

Jean-Pierre CABESTAN

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Since Xi Jinping came to power in late 2012, the Chinese Communist Party has decided to adopt a more holistic approach to the control of the society, underscoring its growing concern about the long-term stability of the regime. It has substituted the expression shehui guanli (社会管理, social management) with shehui zhili (社会治理, social governance), a notion which recognises social actors’ role in governance, alongside government and businesses.

As a result, the society is now supposed to actively participate in social governance. But in order to achieve this objective, the party-state has, on the one hand, strengthened its leadership over China’s emerging civil society, particularly non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Taking advantage of the new digital surveillance technologies at its disposal it has, on the other hand, intensified its control of citizens as well as the society as a whole, nipping in the bud any burgeon of independent NGO, let alone political protest or opposition. Gradually introduced since 2014 and officially aimed at (re)building trust between the government, economic entities and citizens, the social credit system (SCS) plays a key role in social governance, and more importantly in social control. In this new political environment, how much can the society participate in social governance? To what extent people are able to express their grievances? Under Xi, has the CCP managed to achieve “positive interaction” with the society? Is the regime’s future more secure? As many questions which answers are far from being obvious.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChinese Politics and Foreign Policy under Xi Jinping
Subtitle of host publicationThe Future Political Trajectory
EditorsArthur S. Ding, Jagannath P. Panda
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781003041481
ISBN (Print)9780367470289
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies on Think Asia


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