In spring 2018 China, indignant popular nationalists demanded that the spiritually Japanese activities of a fringe group of young Chinese who figure themselves as Japanese be proscribed. The National People's Congress quickly complied, passing legislation that made it illegal to beautify the war of invasion. Exploring how and why the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) responded to the demands of popular nationalists, we suggest that authoritarian representation occurs in China even beyond the bounds of everyday apolitical issues like education and healthcare. Indeed, because the CCP relies upon a nationalist claim to legitimate rule, authoritarian legislators may respond to the public on politically sensitive issues like nationalism as well. Journalists and lawyers, furthermore, can play a vital mediating role between elites and masses, facilitating the transmission of the information and expertise needed for authoritarian responsiveness. Implications for our understanding of Chinese nationalism, authoritarian responsiveness and state legitimation in China today are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas