College students’ experiences of political socialization as members of the Communist Youth League: A case study

Die HU

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


Political socialization facilitates the process of communication, maintenance and development of political culture. Much has been written about the processes that influence political socialization and its effects in terms of developing political trust and supporting political participation. Yet, little is known about the ways college students in China actually experience these processes or acquire the outcomes. The political socialization of college students is an aspect of tertiary education and has implications for the integration of students into the dominant political culture as well as civil society. Of particular interest is the way political participation is encouraged and how political trust is developed.

Because Chinese college students have the opportunity to participate in the Chinese Communist Youth League (CYL), a sample of student members and teachers were selected for participation in the study. The sample was stratified by gender and different disciplines to which the participating students belonged to. An interview protocol was developed so that the same or similar questions could be asked of all participants. A broadly interpretivist framework was used to guide the methodology since the aim of this study was to understand political socialization experiences form the students’ perspectives.

This qualitative study will provide insights into political socialization in the Chinese context about which little is currently known. It will produce new understandings that can complement and extend the current literature and will have implications for policy, theory and practice. The research questions were: How do students as members of the CYL understand the processes of political socialization? Does CYL membership facilitate the development of political trust? Does CYL membership facilitate the development of political participation? What are the other influences on college students’ political socialization in addition to CYL membership? I argue that the political socialization of CYL members does facilitate and help their participation, which in turn strengthens their political trust of the government and the Party. A cycle of the positive relations between political socialization and political participation on the one hand, and between political participation and political trust on the other hand is the major finding of my study. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Education
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • ZHAO, Zhenzhou 趙振洲, Supervisor
  • KENNEDY, Kerry John 甘國臻, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Political socialization
  • Political participation
  • Political trust
  • Communist Youth League
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ed.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2021.


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