Reuters: In China's 'democracy village', no one wants to talk any more

“When Xi took the reins in 2013, repressing boundary-pushers in civil society was a cornerstone of his political campaign to consolidate power,” Diana Fu of the University of Toronto and Greg Distelhorst of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote in an academic paper on “Grassroots Participation and Repression in Contemporary China”. 

Related article: "Grassroots Participation and Repression Under Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping." Forthcoming 2018.  The China Journal.