Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Kim Reimann - Chair

Second Advisor

William Downs

Third Advisor

Michael Herb


This thesis examines the motivations of the Chinese middle class members to run for District-level people’s congress (DPC) elections in Shenzhen and Beijing in 2003. It is interested in exploring why the middle class members wanted to run for the DPC positions that do not have real political power in China, and how their behavior can influence political change in China. By systematically analyzing the candidates’ campaign speeches and activities, this study reveals that the major motivating factors behind the middle class candidates’ decision to run for the elections were to protect their property interests and their increasing desire to defend political rights. This thesis argues that the campaigners’ actions in Shenzhen and Beijing will affect the democratization process in China.