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A Study on the Influences of Chinese Outbound Tourism Growth on Democratization
Since 1990s, the numbers of China’s outbound tourists have surged. In 2003, when SARS epidemic enraged for months, Chinese tourists made 20.22 million overseas visits, up 21.8% from the previous year. China has registered the highest growth of outbound tourists in the world. Chinese tourists enjoy overseas trips like people of modern and advanced nations and have personal experiences of foreign political systems and lifestyles drastically different from China’s. Such an exposure of political socialization will present challenges to their traditional political awareness. In the long-run, overseas exposure will facilitate the spread of democratization, since most of the outbound tourists belong to the middle class. This confirms to the democratization theory in the western societies. Another preposition is that Chinese middle class are the beneficiary of reforms and opening-up, who tend to favor social stability and support the Communist regime. This reflects the new authoritarianism.
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