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Lynette H. Ong is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto. She is the author of Prosper or Perish: Credit and Fiscal Systems in Rural China, (Cornell University Press 2012). Her current research addresses state power and state control in China, in the area of urbanisation. Follow her on twitter: @onglynette

Outsourcing Coercion and Social Control

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.

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