The structural perspective on China's prospect of democratization has three variants. The first emphasizes the structural requisites for the survival of the authoritarian state. It argues that the conditions, such as the governing capacity of the state and support from the Chinese people that used to sustain the authoritarian state, have deteriorated significantly and the authoritarian state cannot escape a collapse in the near future (Chang, 2001). The second focuses on the structural requisites for democratization. It holds that the rise of the middle class and the emerging spread of education in China will create favorable conditions for the country to head toward democratization (Gilley, 2004). The third stresses the resilience of China's authoritarian regime. It argues that the rise of democratic polity in Europe resulted from the special social structures of the continent in the feudal period. Since China's social structure in its premodern period was quite different, democracy did not become a solution even after the middle class emerged in China. For the same reason, China's political change will be most likely to move toward rule by law rather than democratization in the future (Pan, 2006).
Gao, B. (2009), "The Rubik's Cube state: A reconceptualization of political change in contemporary China", Keister, L. (Ed.) Work and Organizationsin China Afterthirty Years of Transition (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 409-438. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0277-2833(2009)0000019017
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