Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Roderic Ai Camp

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© 2016 Janice Tse


China and Mexico present an intriguing case for comparison. In 1990, the Peruvian Nobel Prize winner described Mexico as “the perfect dictatorship”. By 2000, just a decade later, Mexico’s peaceful transition to a democracy culminated in the victory of Vicente Fox, and the unseating of the PRI’s seventy-one year rule over Mexico. China, or more specifically, People’s Republic of China, on the other hand, has been under the one-party leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for sixty-seven years, since it was founded in 1949, and remains an authoritarian regime today.

Since the Third Wave of Democratization swept the world’s developing countries, there have been heated discussions about the potential of democratization in China. Much of the buzz surrounds the direct village elections in China, in which Chinese citizens have the opportunity to vote directly for their village leaders. Although it makes no pretense of hosting national elections, China has held village elections that seem to be a step towards democratization. Or is it?

Despite the focus on village elections and the extent to which they are democratic, there has been little work comparing China’s local elections to that of other countries that have been through similar experiences, namely Mexico. This thesis will compare the cases of Mexico and China in order to explore the conditions for democratization, and hypothesize the future of China’s democracy. By examining scholarly works, historical trends, and recent events, this thesis will argue for the importance of local elections on the process of democratization in both Mexico and China.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.