Lynette H. Ong is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, with a joint appointment at the department and Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. She is the author of Outsourcing Repression: Everyday State Power in Contemporary China (Oxford University Press, 2022), The Street and the Ballot Box: Interactions between Social Movements and Electoral Politics in Authoritarian Contexts (Cambridge University Press, 2022), and Prosper or Perish: Credit and Fiscal Systems in Rural China (Cornell University Press, 2012). Her publications have also appeared in the Journal of Comparative Politics, Perspectives on Politics, China Quarterly, China Journal, and other outlets.
Outsourcing Repression: Everyday State Power in Contemporary China, Lynette Ong’s new book with Oxford University Press, provides an original and realistic analysis of the Chinese state’s control over society beyond the usual focus of the study of authoritarian states, such as on outright coercion or censorship. Her concept of ‘everyday state power’ sheds light on […]
To carry out coercion and social control, the Chinese government often resorts to non-state actors, including ‘thugs-for-hire’, profit-seeking brokers, and even commercial enterprises. This piece examines the circumstances under which the authorities use these means and the reasons behind their choices, arguing that this is mostly related to the need of reducing the cost of repression and evading responsibility.