The ‘riddle of China,’ addressed in the introduction, refers to China’s remarkable growth and stability in the midst of political turmoil. Following the 1989 Tiananmen Square crisis, it is reported that a stable and strengthened political regime was established.
The two factors that are regarded as contributors to China’s political stability include economic development and political oppression. However, the writers do not think this is the case. They say that economic growth itself is not capable of promoting political stability, but can lead to political instability. In addition, the political atmosphere in the country has changed over time; unlike the traditional oppressive techniques, more relaxed approaches are currently used to deal with the discontent of the masses.
The two key objectives of the study include: to investigate Beijing residents’ thoughts on political issues; and to map the country’s political future. Public opinion study relates to these objectives as it addresses the impacts of public policy. In Beijing’s cases, understanding policies of the country can provide great insight on the political climate as well as future politics.
How Was The Topic Studied?
In the survey conducted to measure the research objectives, the authors worked with the Public Opinion Research Institute of People’s University. The sample size considered included 700 permanent residents of Beijing who were selected through a random multi-stage sampling. The questionnaires addressing the questions were issued by an interviewer to the samples, and later collected back to the survey center. After data analysis, it was discovered that the response rate was 97%.
The authors utilized a multi-stage random sampling technique due to the fact that they targeted variable demographic components of the population. Their target was to consider specific gender ratio as well as samples of specific education levels. Additionally, the study was to act as a case study; thus, there was a need to capture greater representation of the population which could be achieved with the sampling method. Accuracy of the methodology can be determined by the sampling error; the authors highlight that the error is less than 2% for gender and less than 3% for age.
Some of the evident demographic variables considered in the study include gender, age, education, income levels, and residency (whether in urban areas or rural). The attitudinal variables evident in the survey included level of political interest and democratic values, attitude towards economic reforms, perception towards government performance, and level of satisfaction and confidence.
What Are The Findings?
The data shown in table 1 is a contradictory finding to the common belief that Chinese are currently consumed in the economic affairs, and as a result are no longer interest in public and political issues affecting the country. In the table, it is revealed that more than ¾ of the population is interested in national affairs with 40% of them engaged in political discussions. Additionally, 50% of the population talks about politics occasionally, thus, proving that a greater population is interested in the national affairs.
A common trend evident in table 2 is the rising interest in politics among urban residents, individuals with higher education, older people, and those with higher income. The authors have chosen raw-based percentages in order to compare the levels of political interest in different demographic factors. It is easier to show this comparison when diverse factors such as age, education, residency, and income are considered.
There is direct correlation between the interest in national politics and the different demographic factors. In the table, it is evident that people with higher income, higher education, increased age, and those who live in residential areas are more likely to engage in national and political affairs. Example of a positive correlation is the level of interest and age; those who are older are more interested in the political issues.
When converted into a single composite index, the table 3 will focus of a particular theme with different variables. In this case, it will be named “democracy level of national politics” or “attitude of the political efficacy in Beijing.” In statistical analysis, thev variable would be coded by use of the likert scale, and converted into percentage.
Using pie charts in figure 1 and 2 was the most effective method to present the information since the compared statistics are almost related. Visual graph shows differences in the preference of related items such as 50% predominant ownership and 100% predominant ownership. In table 4, the initially constructed values are extrapolated to show the relationship between the preference of economic systems and demographic factors. A bar graph can easily present information in Table 5; it will cluster the different variables in the first columns against the Likert scale measurements.
The authors utilized statistical analyses in tables 6 and 7 as a result of the varying demographic and socio-economic perceptions regarding the evaluation of government performance. To interpret the significant value of the reports, one is expected to examine whether the population means are equal or not. Another strength of the results can be measured through the difference in the mean levels as well as the percentage variance; the greater the variance, the higher the difference in perception.
What Do the Results Mean?
The results show that the Chinese culture still embraces conservative political culture. Most of the participants acknowledge that they are interested in national and political affairs, and would wish to engage in the political activities. Considering economic reforms, it was revealed that many people still endorse the predominantly market economy and public ownership.
An appropriate follow-up for the study would be considering a different population or selecting nationwide sample in order to have a representation of the whole Chinese society. This will be used to generalize data that represents the whole country.
One fundamental lesson derived from the study is that Chinese people are interested in the national politics, and as such, should be included in frequent political reforms and rights such as voting, policy formulation, and democratization. Another lesson is to engage in private-public partnership to enhance the appreciation of different organizations in country management.