Shanghai was found to be the most liberal of 29 provinces and municipalities analyzed by US-based researchers in a new study determining where individuals in China fall along an ideological spectrum and why.
Using data gathered from a 2014 Chinese Political Compass survey which questioned more than 170,000 people, the “first large scale empirical analysis of ideology in contemporary China” unsurprisingly found that individuals in more developed (mostly coastal) regions as well as those with more money and better education tend to be more ideologically liberal than those from the impoverished countryside.
“Provinces with higher levels of economic development, trade openness, urbanization are more liberal than their poor, rural counterparts,” Harvard and MIT graduates Jennifer Pan and Yiqing Xu wrote in a paper published last week, adding that “modernization, characterized by economic development, urbanization, increasing incomes, higher levels of education, as well as exposure to ideas from the Western democratic context, is tied to changes in ideological orientation.”
The researchers also said that more politically conservative, nationalistic-minded individuals are likely to support a return to socialism and state-controlled economy, as well as traditional values associated with Confucianism.
“In contrast, political liberals, supportive of constitutional democracy and individual liberty, are also likely to be economic liberals who support market-oriented reform and social liberals who support modern science and values such as sexual freedom,” the researchers said.
These were found to be the 10 most liberal provinces, municipalities and regions of China:
And the 10 least liberal:
21. Inner Mongolia
(Qinghai and Tibet were not included in the study.)
Since the research paper was published last week, the report has been translated into Chinese and has circulated online. Illustrators quickly whipped up an infographic mapping China’s so-called “blue states” based on the findings.
Liberal netizens have concluded that “the poorer, the more leftist, the more leftist, the poorer,” a statement which, expectedly, state-run media has spoken out against.
The Global Times in a recent editorial said that “We can’t help but suspect that [the study’s] publishing has been specially ‘customized’ for certain political ends” and has “created a spurious impression of an ‘ideological gap’ among different regions in China, which gravely contravenes both common sense and practical experience.”
“Foreign fallacies have constantly penetrated Chinese public opinion. These fallacies, which were disseminated under the cover of prestigious Western academic institutions or media, have proved deceptive. Domestic Chinese scholars as well as the media should spare no effort to expose them so as to the set the record straight,” it said.
[via WSJ // Photo Credit: pictcorrect]