Conclusions and implications
By recapitulating the findings of the three case studies, the chapter evidences the interdependent and mutually reinforcing character of state building and public participation in contemporary China, concluding that achieving a high-performing state, capable of regulating and governing a complex society, is regarded as the key to ensuring continuous development and social stability, and hence the legitimacy of the ruling party. Public participation is recognised as a helpful device to ensure that the state is capable of understanding the context within which it operates, identifying and responding to issues of pressing concern, and producing effective solutions to the challenges of governance. Consequently, the party-state employs non-electoral public participation in a variety of contexts to achieve the goals of state building. The chapter then extends the analytical framework of “participatory state building” to other non-electoral and electoral reforms in China to test its utility for understanding broader political developments in China. It concludes that the different types of participatory practices all aim to enhance the party-state’s exercise of power and, as such, serve the state building agenda. Therefore, participatory mechanisms are likely to remain a part of the party’s governing strategy and toolbox into the future as long as the party maintains its development- and performance-driven orientation and builds its legitimacy on it.