Handling with Legitimacy Crisis of the Chinese Communist Party: How is the Promotion of Confucianism Related with the Labour Protest Levels?


  • Ligita Šarkutė Vytautas Magnus University
  • Jiabin Song




Confucianism, Chinese Communist Party, legitimacy, labour protests, China


This article aims to shed light on the problem of Confucianism’s role in strengthening the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party. After 40 years of economic reform, contemporary China is by and large functioning as a quasi-capitalist state, however, due to the lack of protection of the labour class, the conflicts between the workers and their employers have created a legitimacy crisis for China’s authoritarian regime and forced it to seek alternative means to strengthening its legitimacy apart from its orthodox communism ideology and the coercive measures. In this article, the researchers try to answer the abovementioned question by examining the correlation between the coverage of Confucianism (the frequency of messages related to Confucian ideas) in the Chinese Communist Party’s biggest state-owned newspaper People’s Daily and how Chinese people acknowledge the regime as rightful, which is expressed via Chinese labour protest levels. The vector autoregressive (VAR) modelling results revealed that in the period between 2011 and 2019, the Chinese Communist Party used Confucianism as one of the instruments to build and strengthen the regime’s legitimacy whereby it can pacify the dissatisfaction of the labour class. Further, considering that many authoritarian regimes shared a similar approach of using the dominant religion or culture to enhance their legitimacy during crises, the findings of this research could also open a new avenue for further comparative studies on these authoritarian regimes’ discrepancies using the same approach.