Middle Class: Friends or Foes to Beijing’s New Leadership

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Journal of Chinese Political Science

Publication Date

Fall 2003

Abstract/ Summary

This paper addresses the following questions: What are the key elements of the middle class? What do they really want? To what extent can the middle class serve as an agent for democratic change? Why is the Party trying to co-opt the middle class? Is the middle class a willing partner with the state or an autonomous force in opposition to the state? The paper concludes that at present, the new middle class as a whole does not pose any significant threat to current regime. It quietly endorses the leadership in Beijing. Nevertheless, in the long run, the middle class will have a significant impact upon the socio-political structure in China.