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Engineering Stability: Authoritarian Political Control over University Students in Post-Deng China

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2014

Xiaojun Yan*
The University of Hong Kong. Email:


Given their critical influence on society and politics, university students are one of the key target groups for authoritarian political control around the world. To further our understanding of the endurance and resilience of authoritarianism in post-Deng China, it is necessary to examine one of the Party-state's most crucial control frameworks: the institutional mechanism through which it preserves social stability in the nation's 2,358 university campuses, and maintains control over its more than 22 million college students. Drawing upon intensive field research conducted in 2011, this article attempts to map out the structures and measures deployed by the post-Deng regime to nurture political compliance and consolidate its domination of university campuses. By deciphering an essential component of the state's political control apparatus, this article aims to shed new light on the internal operations of the authoritarian system that is running China today.

Copyright © The China Quarterly 2014 

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