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Unorthodox approaches to participation in authoritarian regimes : the making of China's recent healthcare reforms Kornreich, Yoel


In recent years, non-democratic regimes have introduced a host of participatory forums. This paper asks why, given the absence of binding constitutional or institutional designs, authoritarian governments introduce, at their own initiative, participatory forums? To respond to this question, the paper suggests three theoretical possibilities: fragmented authoritarianism, enhancing legitimacy and information-gathering. Looking at the drafting of China’s recent healthcare reforms--where the government enacted various forums of participation--the paper tests these theories. Its findings indicate that these theories are not mutually exclusive, as each could explain the causes for the introduction particular participatory forums. This paper argues that this analytical framework could extend beyond the scope of China’s healthcare reform, and be applied to other episodes of policymaking both in China, and other non-democratic regimes.

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