Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

13.01.2022 BCCN Lecture "The dynamics of popular protests in China" by Chih-Jou Jay Chen

BCCN Lecture Series Poster CHIH-JOU JAY CHEN.jp2


This lecture is the fifth of a total of seven lectures in the BCCN Lecture Series, Winter Term 2021/22


This lecture will show the trends and characteristics of popular protests in China, drawing evidence from a database the author built by collecting more than 12,000 news stories on China’s mass protests from 2000 to 2019. The data present the ups and downs of China’s social protests over the past two decades, showing that social protest in China has been diffused widely throughout different social groups and has covered a vast variety of issues across a wide geographical area. However, despite the trend of subsiding protests after the mid-2010s, the Chinese state has a lower capacity to channel popular protests into institutionalized forms as in democratic polities. Under Xi Jinping’s rule in 2013-21, the regime has been relying on increasing surveillance and repression to squash protest activities. This study concludes that the dynamics of social protests in China are contingent on its state-society relations in Xi Jinping’s totalitarian regime.


Chih-Jou Jay Chen is Director and Professor at the Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. He is the former president of the Taiwanese Sociological Association (2018–2019) and a member of Executive Committee, International Sociological Association (2018–2023).