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Political Culture and Participation in Rural China by Yang Zhong

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4 Levels of political interest1

As mentioned earlier, the Chinese peasantry has historically been viewed as a conservative social and political force. It is often perceived as ill-informed and lacking the necessary cognitive knowledge about public affairs and political events.

To what degree are Chinese peasants interested in politics (that is, national and local political affairs) and what factors affect their political interest? These are the two central questions that will be addressed in this chapter. A study of these questions carries both theoretical and practical implications. The importance of political interest as psychological involvement in politics and public affairs has been well observed and documented by western scholarship. ...

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