18 Pages

Part 1: The debate on the regime legitimacy in China How Do You Solve a Problem Like Legitimacy? Contributing to a new research agenda

WithPeter Sandby-Thomas

Previously in this journal, Gunter Schubert's article, entitled ‘One-party rule and the question of legitimacy in contemporary China’, called for the setting up of a new research agenda to analyze the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). While making a valuable contribution to the study of the CCP's legitimacy, Schubert's emphasis on the empirical measurement of this concept gives rise to a number of conceptual and theoretical issues. As a consequence, this article seeks to contribute to the research agenda by addressing these issues. In so doing, it suggests that a shift away from a narrow empirically-measured focus on legitimacy towards a broader conceptually-driven concern with legitimation would allow for a more inclusive agenda within the China studies community and lead to a more complete understanding of why the CCP remains in power.