A data-driven dive into Chinese politics, with Stanford’s Yiqing Xu


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This week on Sinica, Kaiser chats with Yiqing Xu, an assistant professor of political science at Stanford University, about his work in applying modern methods in political science to the politics of contemporary China. In a wide-ranging conversation, they discuss qualitative vs. quantitative approaches and how the debate parallels the debate between the area studies approach to China and the discipline-centered approach, as well as the pitfalls of the current data obsession in the social sciences. They also look at some of Yiqing’s recent scholarship on China’s ideological landscape, and preview a longitudinal comparative study looking at Chinese students at elite universities in China and their compatriots studying in the United States.

7:44: The role of social scientists and the quantitative vs. qualitative methods debate in the political science field

19:18: Mapping ideology in China with the “Chinese Political Compass” data set 

31:21: Why policy preferences in authoritarian states matter

40:33: How discrimination in the United States impacts Chinese students’ attitudes toward the political system in China 

A transcript of this episode is available on SupChina.com.


Yiqing: The iconic Japanese rock band X Japan

Kaiser: The album Discipline (1981) by the progressive rock band King Crimson.