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Abstract

Throughout the history, contentious politics have led to regime downfall or democratization of many countries. Today, China is faced with increasing numbers of contentions politics. However, Contentious politics in China does not result in regime change because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) manages protests by keeping it fragmented and small in scale. It achieves this primarily through structural and institutional means, but is willing, to resort to violent repression if a protest movement becomes too widespread. This paper is divided into four parts. First part is a backgrounder, giving stats to show that protests are frequent but small in scale. Second, I will argue that China’s weak institutions – labour union, media, and internet – preclude small-scale protests from becoming large, cohesive movements. Third, I will argue that the government in China is structured in such a way that grievances are pursued at the local level; therefore, regional protests are unlikely to become national movements. Finally, even if protest become large and target the central government, the CCP is capable of suppressing protests using military, and police, as a last resort.

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