Past event

Research Event

Middle Class China: Identity and Behaviour

Chatham House, London

Asia Programme


Professor David SG Goodman, Academic Director, China Studies Centre, University of Sydney; School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Nanjing University


The speaker will discuss the difference between the internal and external view of China's growing middle class.

He will explain how the Chinese Communist Party looks to the creation of a substantial middle class both for a source of legitimacy bought through economic prosperity and as the foundation of social harmony, while the outside world looks at it as a driver for greater democracy and China's greater global integration. He will argue that while the middle class is a powerful mobilizing idea it is also a relatively weak analytical tool.

Finally he will describe why examining the specific identity and behaviour of the Chinese middle class is a necessary first step to understanding the consequences of socio-economic change.