June 19, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Hill Article Probes 1920-23 Election Laws in China

Dr. Joshua Hill, Assistant Professor of History at Ohio University, published an article on “Voter Education: Provincial Autonomy and the Transformation of Chinese Election Law, 1920-1923” in the June 2013 issue of Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review.

Dr. Joshua Hill

Dr. Joshua Hill

Abstract: Beginning in 1909, mainland Chinese governments routinely held elections, and lawmakers devoted considerable resources to writing and revising election laws. The earliest elections, held under the late Qing and the early Republic, utilized laws based on restricted electorates and indirect voting. By contrast, election laws designed during the provincial autonomy movement of the 1920s and the post-1927 Nationalist government featured direct voting in elections with (near-)universal adult suffrage. Each of these two systems of electoral law incorporated different elements of foreign electoral practice with concerns and ideas that arose from the experiences and ideals of late imperial Chinese political thought. The transition between these two systems highlights the surprising influence of the short-lived provincial autonomy movement on the legal structures of the centralized one-party states that followed.

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