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China’s profound social transformation following decades of economic reform and development has brought much scholarly attention to the emergent Chinese middle class. Many of these academic debates have centered on exploring the political role of China’s new socioeconomic group and their ability to affect China’s authoritarian political regime.
This paper seeks to review the existing literature on China’s middle class, focusing on the discussion surrounding their capacity to act towards popular political democratization. The existing literature ultimately paints a picture of the Chinese middle class as an anxious political group. Despite early expectations that China’s middle class would act towards political democratization, the political culture and existence of structural obstacles limits their willingness and ability to disrupt the political status quo.
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