Popular Support for Community Self-government in Urban China

  • Chunlong Lu School of Politics and Public Administration, China University of Political Science and Law


From the outset of the post-Mao reform, the central government has made genuine efforts to adapt the grassroots government system in the urban areas to social changes brought about by the reform in the urban neighborhoods, such as the drastic decline of the role of work units and the rapid increase in private ownership of residential properties. This system was anchored by its self-governing body, Residents’ Committee (RCs, jumin weiyuanhui). Residents’ Committees were first established by the government in the 1950s. Before the post-Mao reform, the central government used RCs to assist work units at the grassroots level in implementing Party and government policies, monitoring and controlling the population, and providing residents with some basic social welfare services. Moreover, the central government treated the RCs as its administrative extensions, in conjunction with work units, at the local level.