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East Asia Program presents: Andrew Mertha

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 Andrew Mertha Associate Professor of Government, Cornell University Fragmented Authoritarianism Revised: Political Pluralization in China Traditional analyses on political liberalization in China focus on elections or other dimensions of democratization. But these studies cannot account for the fact that although China remains authoritarian, it is nonetheless responsive to the increasingly diverse demands of society. Mertha argues that although the policy making process is still largely governed by the fragmented authoritarianism framework, it has become increasingly pluralized, that is, barriers to entry into the policy process have been lowered, at least for certain actors (hitherto peripheral officials, non-governmental organizations, and an increasingly activist media). With policy outcomes as the variable of interest, Mertha compares three cases of hydropower policy (the Nu River, Dujiangyan/Yangliuhu, and Pubugou). He argues that the variability in the absence or presence of policy entrepreneurs who are able to frame the issue effectively explains variation in hydropower policy outcomes. He then extends these findings to a critical case in an unlikely policy area, international trade, specifically, China's 2001-2006 trade talks with the European Union over the issue of child-resistant safety regulations for lighters. Andrew Mertha is associate professor of government, specializing in Chinese and Cambodian politics, particularly on political institutions, the policy process, and the exercise of power. He is a core faculty member in the Cornell East Asia Program and the Cornell Southeast Asia Program, and sits on the Cornell China and Asia-Pacific Studies/CAPS Advisory Board. His current project focuses on political rectification, purges, and political indoctrination in China and Cambodia. Mertha has provided public testimony for the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, briefed the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and has accompanied a US congressional staff delegation to Beijing, Xinjiang, and Shanghai to discuss issues of terrorism and narcotics trafficking.

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