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China’s Institutional Changes and Economic Development
This line of inquiry examines institutional changes and economic developments accompanying the rise of China. Based at NCCU’s, this project explores the following topics: First, backgrounds of institutional and political transformations in the rise of China are examined; second, based on the background of political institution transformation, China’s economic development and imbalances created through the transformation are explored; third, China’s economic rise and environmental governance issues are investigated; and fourth, issues related to China’s local governance and its relationship with social development are explored. Special attention is paid to how emerging social forces affect local elections and local governance in rural areas. Finally, fifth, we investigate the issues of social capital in Taiwan and China, which are included in a larger project for cross-national comparison.
China’s economic development and institutional reforms are closely related; besides exploring the factors behind the development of China’s institutional changes, we also explore the historical roots of these institutional changes as related to the first project line, the link between institutional changes and the legal system, related to the third project line, and the relationship between economic development and regional security, related to the fourth project line). Thus, there is reciprocal strengthening and feedback between these lines of inquiry.
Key Topics

  1. Party reform: This project explores the institutional foundation of China’s development model. Three important topics covered include “state transformation”, “state in society”, and “state in economy”, along with carrying out a comparison of China’s and Taiwan’s state-society relations. This team will work in conjunction with Academia Sinica’s Institute of Political Science.
  1. Economic and regional developments: On the basis of laying the foundation of institutional reforms and party-government relations, this team will explore issues of imbalance in China’s economic and regional developments, including overall imbalances in economic development between all regions; uneven industrial and technology developments between regions; issues with distribution and use of sustainable development factors including carbon dioxide and water resources; the relationship between Taiwan’s economic development and China’s regional economic development after the signing of ECFA; and the impact of China’s economic development on East Asia’s regional economic development.
  1. Environmental governance: China’s rapid economic development has generated enormous environmental damage to the world that challenges the possibility of sustainable development in the global scale. This research will develop a theoretical framework of “collaborative corporatism” to explore the relationship between the economy and environmental governance in the rising China. This theoretical perspective will directly engage with current studies that deal with China’s state-society relationships. Utilizing quantitative and qualitative methods this project will test and then revise the theory based on environmental cases at the national, regional, provincial, municipal, rural, community, and industrial levels.
  1. Social development and local governance: Along with the rapid economic development, China’s social and political structures are also experiencing rapid transformation. The Chinese state has adopted new approaches in the local levels to encounter the challenges in order to stabilize these rapid changes. The research team will take the ‘bottom-up’ perspective to investigate the above phenomenon. Special attention will be paid to: how emerging social forces engage into social development issues such as agricultural and nature resource management; how they use existing social networks to affect local elections and shape local governance.
  1. Social capital in China, Taiwan and East Asian societies: This team, organized by professors and graduate students in the sociology department, is part of the larger project led by Professor Bian Yanjie in Minnesota University in the U.S. that investigates and compare social capital in East Asian societies, including China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. This team will develop and strengthen the comparative issues related especially to China and Taiwan.
  1. Civil Society and NGO Development: The research team cooperates with NCCU's Center for the Third Sector and focuses on current development work and activities of international non-governmental organizations (iNGOs) and grassroots civil society organizations in mainland China. The team looks forward to exploring the interaction and relationships between iNGOs and Chinese grassroots organizations.
  1. Rural Areas in China: The team investigates social reforms brought about by the social management innovations begun by the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee from the perspectives of rural issues, urban development, and China’s regional development. Incorporating issues of the environment, labor, water resources, organization, social work, and others, the team will examine China’s new management and development policies and explore the social contradictions existing in China today including gaps in regional development, gaps between urban and rural development, gaps between the rich and the poor, gaps in public service, gaps between privileged and disadvantaged groups, problems of environmental degradation and labor protection.
  2. China Muslim Studies: The research team focuses on the “globalization” which impacts and affects the Muslim society of China. During the Chinese economic reform, dominant modernization and market economy causes dramatic influence to Muslim society, the “globalization” have made the influence more conspicuous.
  3. The Shifting Church-State Relations in Taiwan and China