Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Authoritarian Signaling, Mass Audiences, and Nationalist Protest in China

  • Jessica Chen Weiss (a1)
Abstract

How can authoritarian states credibly signal their intentions in international crises? Nationalist, antiforeign protests are one mechanism by which authoritarian leaders can visibly demonstrate their domestic vulnerability. Because protests in authoritarian states are risky and costly to repress, the decision to allow or stifle popular mobilization is informative. The threat of instability demonstrates resolve, and the cost of concession increases the credibility of a tough stance. The danger of instability and escalation increases foreign incentives to make concessions and preserve the status quo. This logic helps explain the pattern of authoritarian tolerance and repression toward nationalist protest. A case study of two U.S.-China crises shows how China's management of anti-American protests affected U.S. beliefs about Chinese resolve.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Acemoglu, Daron, and Robinson, James A.. 2006. Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Banks, Arthur S. 2010. Cross-National Time-Series Data Archive. Databanks International. Jerusalem, Israel.
Blair, Dennis C., and Bonfili, David V.. 2006. The April 2001 EP-3 Incident: The U.S. Point of View. In Managing Sino-American Crises: Case Studies and Analysis, edited by Swaine, Michael D., Zhang, Tuosheng, and Cohen, Danielle F.S., 377–90. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Morrow, James D., Siverson, Randolph M., and Smith, Alastair. 1999. An Institutional Explanation of the Democratic Peace. American Political Science Review 93 (4):791807.
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Smith, Alastair, Siverson, Randolph M., and Morrow, James D.. 2003. The Logic of Political Survival. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Campbell, Kurt M., and Weitz, Richard. 2006. The Chinese Embassy Bombing: Evidence of Crisis Management? In Managing Sino-American Crises: Case Studies and Analysis, edited by Swaine, Michael D., Zhang, Tuosheng, and Cohen, Danielle F.S., 327–50. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Christensen, Thomas J., Johnston, Alastair Iain, and Ross, Robert S.. 2006. Conclusions and Future Directions. In New Directions in the Study of China's Foreign Policy, edited by Johnston, Alastair Iain and Ross, Robert S., 379417. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
Clark, David H. 2003. Can Strategic Interaction Divert Diversionary Behavior? A Model of U.S. Conflict Propensity. Journal of Politics 65 (4):1013–39.
Debs, Alexandre, and Weiss, Jessica Chen. 2012. Circumstances and Reputational Incentives in International Crisis Bargaining. Unpublished manuscript, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
Downes, Alexander B., and Sechser, Todd S.. 2012. The Illusion of Democratic Credibility. International Organization 66 (3):457–89.
Fearon, James D. 1994. Domestic Political Audiences and the Escalation of International Disputes. American Political Science Review 88 (3):577–92.
Fewsmith, Joseph. 2008. China Since Tiananmen: From Deng Xiaoping to Hu Jintao. 2d ed. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Fewsmith, Joseph, and Rosen, Stanley. 2001. The Domestic Context of Chinese Foreign Policy: Does “Public Opinion” Matter? In The Making of Chinese Foreign and Security Policy in the Era of Reform, 1978–2000, edited by Lampton, David M., 151–87. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
Gandhi, Jennifer, and Lust-Okar, Ellen. 2009. Elections Under Authoritarianism. Annual Review of Political Science 12 (1):403–22.
Geddes, Barbara. 1999. What Do We Know About Democratization After Twenty Years? Annual Review of Political Science 2 (1):115–44.
Goemans, Hein E. 2000. War and Punishment: The Causes of War Termination and the First World War. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Goemans, Hein E., Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede, and Chiozza, Giacomo. 2009. Introducing Archigos: A Dataset of Political Leaders. Journal of Peace Research 46 (2):269–83.
Gries, Peter Hays. 2004. China's New Nationalism: Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Gries, Peter Hays. 2005. Chinese Nationalism: Challenging the State? Current History 104 (683):251–56.
Guisinger, Alexandra, and Smith, Alastair. 2002. Honest Threats: The Interaction of Reputation and Political Institutions in International Crises. Journal of Conflict Resolution 46 (2):175200.
He, Yinan. 2009. The Search for Reconciliation: Sino-Japanese and German-Polish Relations Since World War II. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Hyde, Susan D. 2011. The Pseudo-Democrat's Dilemma: Why Election Observation Became an International Norm. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Johnston, Alastair Iain, and Stockmann, Daniela. 2007. Chinese Attitudes Toward the United States and Americans. In Anti-Americanisms in World Politics, edited by Katzenstein, Peter J. and Keohane, Robert O., 157195. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Keefe, John. 2001. Anatomy of the EP-3 Incident, April 2001. Alexandria, Va.: Center for Naval Analyses.
Kissinger, Henry. 2001. Does America Need a Foreign Policy? Towards a Diplomacy for the Twenty-First Century. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Kuran, Timur. 1991. Now Out of Never: The Element of Surprise in the East European Revolution of 1989. World Politics 44 (1):748.
Lampton, David M. 2001. Same Bed, Different Dreams: Managing U.S.-China Relations, 1989–2000. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Leeds, Brett Ashley, and Davis, David R.. 1997. Domestic Political Vulnerability and International Disputes. Journal of Conflict Resolution 41 (6):814–34.
Levendusky, Matthew S., and Horowitz, Michael C.. 2012. When Backing Down Is the Right Decision: Partisanship, New Information, and Audience Costs. Journal of Politics 74 (2):323–38.
Lohmann, Susanne. 1993. A Signaling Model of Informative and Manipulative Political Action. American Political Science Review 87 (2):319–33.
Lohmann, Susanne. 1994. The Dynamics of Informational Cascades: The Monday Demonstrations in Leipzig, East Germany, 1989–91. World Politics 47 (1):42101.
Lorentzen, Peter L. 2005. Regularized Rioting: Informational Mechanisms in an Authoritarian State. Paper presented at the Political Economy Student Conference, April, Cambridge, Mass.
Lynch, Marc. 2006. Voices of the New Arab Public: Iraq, Al-Jazeera, and Middle East Politics Today. New York: Columbia University Press.
Mercer, Jonathan. 2005. Rationality and Psychology in International Politics. International Organization 59 (1):77106.
Milner, Helen V. 1997. Interests, Institutions, and Information: Domestic Politics and International Relations. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Mulvenon, James. 2002. Civil-Military Relations and the EP-3 Crisis: A Content Analysis. China Leadership Monitor 1 (1): Article 2.
Nathan, Andrew J., and Gilley, Bruce. 2002. China's New Rulers: The Secret Files. New York: New York Review of Books.
Nye, Joseph S. 2010. American and Chinese Power After the Financial Crisis. Washington Quarterly 33 (4):143–53.
O'Brien, Kevin J. 1996. Rightful Resistance. World Politics 49 (1):3155.
O'Donnell, Guillermo A., and Schmitter, Philippe C.. 1986. Transitions From Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions About Uncertain Democracies. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Oksenberg, Michel C., Swaine, Michael D., and Lynch, Daniel C.. 1999. The Chinese Future. In The China Reader: The Reform Era, edited by Schell, Orville and Shambaugh, David, 505–30. New York: Vintage Books.
Perry, Elizabeth J. 2002. Challenging the Mandate of Heaven: Social Protest and State Power in China. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe.
Perry, Elizabeth J. 2010. Popular Protest: Playing by the Rules. In China Today, China Tomorrow: Domestic Politics, Economy, and Society, edited by Fewsmith, Joseph, 1128. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield.
Pickering, Jeffrey, and Kisangani, Emizet F.. 2010. Diversionary Despots? Comparing Autocracies' Propensities to Use and to Benefit from Military Force. American Journal of Political Science 54 (2):477–93.
Putnam, Robert D. 1988. Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games. International Organization 42 (3):427–60.
Reilly, James. 2012. Strong Society, Smart State: The Rise of Public Opinion in China's Japan Policy. New York: Columbia University Press.
Roeder, Philip G. 1993. Red Sunset: The Failure of Soviet Politics. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Sartori, Anne E. 2002. The Might of the Pen: A Reputational Theory of Communication in International Disputes. International Organization 56 (1):121–49.
Schelling, Thomas C. 1960. The Strategy of Conflict. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University.
Schelling, Thomas C. 1978. Micromotives and Macrobehavior. 1st ed. New York: Norton.
Schultz, Kenneth A. 1998. Domestic Opposition and Signaling in International Crises. American Political Science Review 92 (4):829–44.
Schultz, Kenneth A. 1999. Do Democratic Institutions Constrain or Inform? Contrasting Two Institutional Perspectives on Democracy and War. International Organization 53 (2):233–66.
Schultz, Kenneth A. 2001. Looking for Audience Costs. Journal of Conflict Resolution 45 (1):3260.
Schultz, Kenneth A., and Weingast, Barry R.. 2003. The Democratic Advantage: Institutional Foundations of Financial Power in International Competition. International Organization 57 (1):342.
Scott, James C. 1990. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.
Shen, Simon. 2007. Redefining Nationalism in Modern China: Sino-American Relations and the Emergence of Chinese Public Opinion in the Twenty-First Century. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Shirk, Susan L. 1993. The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Shirk, Susan L. 2007. China: Fragile Superpower. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Slantchev, Branislav L. 2006. Politicians, the Media, and Domestic Audience Costs. International Studies Quarterly 50 (2):445–77.
Smith, Alastair. 1996. Diversionary Foreign Policy in Democratic Systems. International Studies Quarterly 40 (1):133–53.
Smith, Alastair. 1998. International Crises and Domestic Politics. American Political Science Review 92 (3):623–38.
Snyder, Glenn H., and Diesing, Paul. 1977. Conflict Among Nations: Bargaining, Decision Making, and System Structure in International Crises. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Snyder, Jack. 1991. Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Snyder, Jack. 1993. Nationalism and the Crisis of the Post-Soviet State. Survival 35 (1):526.
Snyder, Jack, and Borghard, Erica D.. 2011. The Cost of Empty Threats: A Penny, Not a Pound. American Political Science Review 105 (3):437–56.
Solt, Frederick. 2011. Diversionary Nationalism: Economic Inequality and the Formation of National Pride. Journal of Politics 73 (3):821–30.
Stasavage, David. 2007. Cities, Constitutions, and Sovereign Borrowing in Europe, 1274–785. International Organization 61 (3):489525.
Suettinger, Robert L. 2003. Beyond Tiananmen: The Politics of U.S.-China Relations, 1989–2000. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.
Tarrow, Sidney G. 1998. Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics. 2d ed. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Telhami, Shibley. 2002. The Stakes. America and the Middle East: The Consequences of Power and the Choice for Peace. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.
Tilly, Charles. 2002. Stories, Identities, and Political Change. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield.
Van Evera, Stephen. 1994. Hypotheses on Nationalism and War. International Security 18 (4):539.
Van Evera, Stephen. 1997. Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Wasserstrom, Jeffrey N. 1991. Student Protests in Twentieth-Century China: The View from Shanghai. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
Wedeen, Lisa. 1999. Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Weeks, Jessica L. 2008. Autocratic Audience Costs: Regime Type and Signaling Resolve. International Organization 62 (1):3564.
Weeks, Jessica L. 2012. Strongmen and Straw Men: Authoritarian Regimes and the Initiation of International Conflict. American Political Science Review 106 (2), 326–47
Wilkenfeld, Jonathan. 2006. Concepts and Methods in the Study of International Crisis Management. In Managing Sino-American Crises: Case Studies and Analysis, edited by Swaine, Michael D., Zhang, Tuosheng, and Cohen, Danielle F.S., 103–32. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Wintrobe, Ronald. 2000. The Political Economy of Dictatorship. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Wong, John, and Zheng, Yongnian. 2000. Nationalism and Its Dilemma: Chinese Responses to Embassy Bombing. In Reform, Legitimacy, and Dilemmas: China's Politics and Society, edited by Wang, Gungwu and Zheng, Yongnian, 321–43. Singapore: Singapore University Press.
Wu, Baiyi. 2005. Case Study of China's Management During the Embassy Bombing Crisis. World Economics and Politics (Shijie jingji yu zhengzhi) 3:2229.
Wu, Baiyi. 2006. Chinese Crisis Management During the 1999 Embassy Bombing Incident. In Managing Sino-American Crises: Case Studies and Analysis, edited by Swaine, Michael D., Zhang, Tuosheng, and Cohen, Danielle F.S., 351–76. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Wu, Jianmin. 2007. Waijiao Anli (Case Studies in Diplomacy). Beijing: Zhongguo Renmin Daxue Chubanshe.
Wu, Xu. 2007. Chinese Cyber Nationalism: Evolution, Characteristics, and Implications. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books.
Xinbo, Wu. 2007. Understanding Chinese and U.S. Crisis Behavior. Washington Quarterly 31 (1):6176.
Zhang, Tuosheng. 2006. The Sino-American Aircraft Collision: Lessons for Crisis Management. In Managing Sino-American Crises: Case Studies and Analysis, edited by Swaine, Michael D., Zhang, Tuosheng, and Cohen, Danielle F.S., 391422. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Zhao, Dingxin. 2003. Nationalism and Authoritarianism: Student-Government Conflicts During the 1999 Beijing Student Protests. Asian Perspective 27 (1):534.
Zhao, Suisheng. 2004. A Nation-State by Construction: Dynamics of Modern Chinese Nationalism. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
Zheng, Yongnian. 2000. China's Politics in 1999: Neiyou Waihuan. In China's Politics and Economy in 1999: Coping with Crises, edited by Zheng, Yongnian and Wong, John, 126. Singapore: Singapore University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
  • URL: /core/journals/international-organization
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed