Domestic openness in post-WTO China: Central and local perspectives

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Contemporary China, 2008, 17 (55), pp. 339 - 359
Issue Date:
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This article seeks answers to three basic questions about the WTO's impact on domestic openness in China: is China a more open society as a result of its WTO membership; in what way has the WTO affected reform and openness; and, is WTO membership leading to political liberalization or translating into a demand for democracy as democracy advocates predicted? To this end, it identifies and analyzes the WTO-related reforms at central and local levels which have had the strongest impact thus far on openness to Chinese citizens. The analysis focuses on the reduction of the Party-state's control of economic activity as manifested in decreasing state monopoly and bureaucratic intervention in the sphere of economic activity, improved legal regulation, and increasing transparency of trade-related rules and rule-making. It argues that the varied depth and scope of the WTO's impact are attributable to differences in the congruence between the WTO principles and China's domestic political logic and the varying levels of effectiveness of external and internal pressure for change.
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