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Governing Taiwan and Tibet

Democratic Approaches

Baogang He

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Problematises China’s current policies towards Tibet and Taiwan and offers a fresh democratic approach

When it comes to talking about democracy in China, Chinese nationalists argue that it cannot solve China's problems, while Chinese liberals remain unduly silenced. But China is facing a national identity crisis, compounded by Tibet and Taiwan, where significant proportions of both populations do not identify with the Chinese nation-state. Could democracy realistically address the problems in China’s national identity?

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Part 1 Theoretical Approaches: 1. The Idea of Democratic Governance, 2. The Real Utopian Approach, 3. The Empire Thesis and its Critics
Part 2 On Taiwan: 4. Nationalism, Democratisation and the Taiwan Question, 5. Referendum and the Taiwanese National Identity, 6. Sovereignty and the Taiwan Question
Part 3 On Tibet: 7. Confucian and Marxist Theoretical Traditions of Minority Rights and Beyond, 8. Beyond Socialist Autonomy in Tibet, 9. Beyond Chinese Linguistic Imperialism: Multi-linguistic Policy, 10. A Deliberative Approach to the Tibet Autonomy Issue, 11. The Idea of Deliberative Referendum: Synthesis and Conclusion

About the Author

Baogang He is Head of Public Policy and Global Affairs at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and Chair in International Studies at Deakin University, Australia. He is the author of numerous books, including: The Democratization of China (New York and London: Routledge, 1996), The Democratic Implication of Civil Society in China (London: Macmillan, New York: St. Martin, 1997), Nationalism, National Identity and Democratization in China (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000, with Yingjie Guo), Rural Democracy in China (Palgrave 2007), Multiculturalism in Asia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005, co-editors with Will Kymlicka) and The Search for Deliberative Democracy (NY: Palgrave, 2006, co-editors with Ethan Leib). He also contributed to The Edinburgh Companion to the History of Democracy, which EUP published in 2012. He received the Mayer prize from the APSA in 1994; five ARC (Australian Research Council) Discovery Grants, and numerous grants from the Fulbright Commission, the Ford Foundation, and the National University of Singapore (amounting to a total of about AU $1,250,000). Professor He is a member of the editorial board of more than ten international refereed journals, and is an assessor for the ARC Professorial Fellowship and ERA in Australia.


Baogang He develops a 'real utopian' democratic alternative to China’s empire-based approaches to Tibet and Taiwan. A unique strength of He’s approach is that it combines indigenous deliberative practices, such as those within the Confucian tradition, with the modern architecture of democracy. The result is an optimistic but realistic view of possible futures for Tibet and Taiwan within a post-imperial China.
- Mark E. Warren, University of British Columbia

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