China Leadership Monitor

What Happened in Maliu Township?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Often the pressures that generate political reforms—and the limits to those reforms—are best viewed at the local level, which is why this column has explored so many instances of local reform. In this issue, we look at Maliu Township, a poor township in Chongqing Municipality that rose to at least local fame by adopting the so-called “Eight-Step Work Method,” which introduced popular participation in decision making and oversight. But as the local political economy changed—specifically as the impact of the abolition of the agricultural taxes has been felt—it has been difficult to sustain this innovation.