This introductory chapter provides an overview of how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to rule China despite the increase in public opinion over foreign policies. It looks into how the CCP utilizes selective tolerance of popular protests and policy debates to provide an outlet for the most mobilized, informed, and engaged segments of the population to express their opinions. At the same time, the state relies upon pervasive surveillance, coercion, and censorship to restrain activists from mobilizing to directly challenge Communist Party rule. By combining tolerance and responsiveness with persuasion and repression, the CCP has developed a system of responsive authoritarianism based on accommodating popular pressures within its policy-making processes in ways that shore up regime stability. The chapter describes the “unstable” relationship of China with Japan as an example of how the CCP successfully reined in anti-Japanese sentiments and activism, reshaped the domestic information environment, and improved public opinion toward Japan.
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