Researcher of the month

Professor Baogang He

Professor Baogang HeOne day in the summer of 1985 I took a train from Beijing to Hangzhou and enjoyed reading the Chinese translation of Karl Popper’s Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography, 1976. This book has shaped my whole life, a life of an intellectual explorer. So far I have investigated various interesting and new topics. My research has crossed disciplinary boundaries, and moved between the spheres of political philosophy, international relations, humanities, and Asian studies.

In the last six years, I have conducted ground breaking research, applying deliberative democracy theory into new areas and opening up a new research field.  I introduced a deliberative direction into Chinese studies and stimulated a real dialogue between Westerners and the Chinese. Successfully setting up a research agenda and theoretical framework on deliberative institutions in China, I have been a leading figure in promoting the idea and principle of deliberative democracy in China and organised the first international conference on this topic, and the first deliberative polling in China.  I published two edited volumes on deliberative democracy in both English and Chinese, the first ones in the literature on deliberative democracy in China. My research has already led to a new and unique comparative study of democratization. This innovative application contributes to the theoretical development of deliberative democracy, comparative democratization studies, democratic institutional innovation, and regime transformation theory.

Between 2005 and 2010, I organised a series of deliberative polls in China including five deliberative polls at Zequo town, four deliberative pollings at Bianyu village, one deliberative polling on the rights of women in Shenzhen, and one deliberative polling at one company. More than 800 randomly selected citizens participated in deliberation directly and they represented statistically the total population of nearly 600,000 people at Wenling City. My work in elections and deliberation, the two complementary models of Chinese local democratization, have impacted on these two crucial areas.

I have served as an advisor to local governments for village elections and to the Wenling government for deliberative institutions. Invited by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Ministry of Civic Affairs (MCA) I reviewed the UN funded program on village elections in August 2001. My policy-oriented recommendations in the final report had direct input in advising how the EU developed its program. Through an invitation by the Danish International Development Agency, I also examined a political reform project in China in November 2003 and made a direct contribution to the improvement of the procedures for direct township elections in August 2004.  In 2007 the official journal of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference invited me to write a piece on deliberative democratization and help them to develop a research program in the area of deliberative democracy. In 2009 the Asia Foundation invited me to review its public participation project; and in February 2010 the Legal Affair Office of the State Council invited me to comment on the National Guidelines on Public Participation.

My work on deliberative democracy has had a direct policy impact on democratisation in the People’s Republic of China. Evidence of this may be found in the Central Party School’s journal Study Times, whose editorial on 12 December 2005 endorsed my deliberative experiment and called for the spread of this democratic consultation and deliberation process across China. In addition, Xia Anguo, the Deputy Party Secretary of Zhejiang Province issued an internal official document advocating that deliberative polling method be widely used to reduce social conflict in 2005.

I have published four single-authored books and three edited books, 45 international refereed journal articles, 41 book chapters, 20 book reviews, and three Chinese books, numerous Chinese articles and Chinese book chapters. I have published most of my articles in the international refereed journals in UK and USA. I have published the articles in British Journal of Political Science, ranked 4 among 92 selected political science journals; Perspectives on Politics, ranked 11 and the Journal of Peace Research, ranked 7 among the top 50 international relations journals.

International collaborations

  • One of the founding members and executive member of the Asian Consortium for Political Research initiated by Tokyo University and National Seoul University 2004-2008

  • A member of East Asian Culture and Democracy Steering Committee, organizing and facilitating six international conferences in major cities in Asia (2009-2012)

  • A member of Europe and Global Challenges program in 2010

  • A member of international research team on democratic governance and ethnicity, working with Will Kymlicka at Queens University (2007-2011)

  • Collaborating with Professor James Fishkin on a number of deliberative polling projects in China (2005-2010) 
photo of Professor Baogang He meeting the Prime Minister
Professor Baogang He meeting the Prime Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd at the launch of the Australian Centre on China in the World at ANU on 23 April 2010.


2010 publications

  • He, B. (2010) 'Four Models Of The Relationship Between Confucianism And Democracy'
    Journal of Chinese Philosophy 37:1 (March 2010) 18–33
  • Fishkin, J.S., He, B., Luskin, R.C. and Siu, A. (2010) 'Deliberative Democracy in an Unlikely Place: Deliberative polling in China'
    British Journal of Political Science Cambridge University Press.
  • He, B. and Warren, M. (2010) 'Authoritarian Deliberation: The deliberative turn in Chinese political development' presented at Australian Political Studies Association, forthcoming publication in Perspective on Politics.

If you would like a copy of the above publications please email Ms Su Wei
su.wei@deakin.edu.au.

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