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Strong Society, Smart StateThe Rise of Public Opinion in China's Japan Policy$
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James Reilly

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158060

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158060.001.0001

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Public Opinion in Chinese Foreign Policy

Public Opinion in Chinese Foreign Policy

(p.23) 1 Public Opinion in Chinese Foreign Policy
Strong Society, Smart State

James Reilly

Columbia University Press

This chapter presents an alternative approach to understanding the role of public opinion in authoritarian states' foreign policy, based on the concept of a wave of public mobilization. A wave of public mobilization constitutes a shift in public opinion and popular emotions, growing political activism, and expanded sensationalist coverage in popular media and on the Internet. It examines public mobilization both as a dependent variable, assessing the relative role of state and society in causing public mobilization, and as an independent variable, measuring the public's influence on foreign policy decisions and discourse. This approach helps in analyzing how the Chinese Communist Party, dedicated to constructing a “harmonious society,” maintains authority over a society rife with tension and contention. The chapter also briefly describes the origins of public mobilization in China, tracing the phenomena from the Cultural Revolution, established by Mao Zedong and the CCP, to stimulate and shape confrontational politics.

Keywords:   Public opinion, authoritarian states, public mobilization, political activism, foreign policy, Chinese Communist Party, harmonious society, Cultural Revolution

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