Is a "silent revolution" in the making in China? Postmaterialist values, and political attitudes and behavior

Jie Chen, Narisong Huhe, Ting Yan

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Five decades ago, Inglehart for the first time described and explained an unprecedented transformation, which he called “the silent revolution,” of political cultures in advanced industrial societies. Such a phenomenon was characterized with the emergence of postmaterialist values as the result of a sustained period of economic growth in those countries, and the profound impact of those values on people’s political attitudes and behavior. As China has experienced extraordinary economic growth in the past several decades, has such a “silent revolution” happened in that country? The answers to this question have been far from complete or clear. Using three longitudinal, cross-sectional national surveys, we find that while the current level of postmaterialist values in China remains relatively low, such values have flourished in younger generations, and that those values do play an important role in shaping individuals’ political attitudes and behavior.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAsian Survey
Early online date7 Mar 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Mar 2022


  • China
  • postmaterialist values
  • political support
  • political participation
  • modernization

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