Authoritarian deliberation revisited

Baogang He, Hendrik Wagenaar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This introductory paper reviews the origin and development of the concept of authoritarian deliberation, and highlights the importance of culture and cultural tradition associated with public consultation. This paper summarizes and illustrates six key features of authoritarian deliberation in China. First, deliberation in China is a precarious balance between legal rule and state intervention. Second, the Party appeals to public reason to address and manage social conflict, and develop the soft coercion that accompanies much authoritarian deliberation. Third, this highly controlled deliberative process does, however, allow the freedom of local participants to find spaces for democratic expression, and local experiments to develop elements of deliberative democracy. Fourth, authoritarian deliberation is characterized by mutual instrumentalism. Fifth, there is an importance of an administrative and policy perspective in authoritarian deliberation. Six, the concept of authoritarian deliberation is not limited to China. There is the convergence in real-world deliberative process and outcome between authoritarian and liberal democratic systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622-629
Number of pages8
JournalJapanese Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


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