Democracy in Authoritarianism: Public Participation in Biosafety, Biodiversity, and Climate Change politics in China

My dissertation looks into China’s three environmental policy domains, including climate change, biodiversity and biosafety (GMOs), to investigate how China’ environmental diplomacy, economic interest and political concerns of legitimacy and stability intersect to condition public participation and its effectiveness in affecting policy decisions. It seeks to illuminate not only why authoritarian regime embraces deliberation and public participation, but also how much democracy an authoritarian China can take without having to resort to suppression. While trying to map out the distribution and evolution of public opinion mobilization on the three environmental issues, my dissertation also aims to shed light on the agency of key political actors in shaping China’s environmental governance from civil society organizations, international NGOs, media (traditional and mass media), and even within the government.

Faculty Supervisor:

Yves Tiberghien


Li Guo



Political science



University of British Columbia


Globalink Research Award

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