« Ambiguous Rights: Land Reform and the Problem of Minor Property Rights Housing », paper written by Karita Kan (2012). China Perspectives, 2012/3.
Minor property rights housing (xiao chanquan fang 小产权房) is an unofficial term referring to illegal residential structures built on rural, collectively-owned land that is sold or rented to non-local urbanites. Its controversial legal status stems from the dual ownership structure in China’s land regime. According to Article 8 of the Land Administration Law, the state claims ownership of urban land, while land in rural and suburban areas is owned, unless otherwise stipulated, collectively by rural residents represented by peasant collectives. Rural collective land is theoretically reserved for the exclusive use of villagers, and should be not sold, transferred, or leased to non-rural residents. The real estate boom and successive hikes in property prices have nevertheless provided strong incentives for rural landowners to capture the monetary benefits of urban development through selling and leasing land and houses to urbanites looking for affordable accommodation.
Shenggen Fan, S M Ravi Kanbur, Shang-Jin Wei, Xiaobo Zhang (2014). The Oxford companion to the economics of China.(2014), The Oxford Companion to the Economics of China, 656 p., 33 Figures, 8 Tables. Also available as ebook.
The Guangdong Model of Urbanisation: Collective village land and the making of a new middle class. Paper written by Him Chung and Jonathan Unger (2013), China Perspectives, 2013/3, p. 33-41.
In some parts of China – and especially in Guangdong Province in southern China – rural communities have retained ownership of much of their land when its use is converted into urban neighbourhoods or industrial zones. In these areas, the rural collectives, rather than disappearing, have converted themselves into property companies and have been re-energised and strengthened as rental income pours into their coffers. The native residents, rather than being relocated, usually remain in the village’s old residential area. As beneficiaries of the profits generated by their village collective, they have become a new propertied class, often living in middle-class comfort on their dividends and rents. How this operates – and the major economic and social ramifications – is examined through onsite research in four communities: an industrialised village in the Pearl River delta; an urban neighbourhood in Shenzhen with its own subway station, whose land is still owned and administered by rural collectives; and two villages-in-the-city in Guangzhou’s new downtown districts, where fancy housing estates and high-rise office blocks owned by village collectives are springing up alongside newly rebuilt village temples and lineage halls.
Urban Planning Goes Rural: Conceptualising the “New Village”. Paper written by David Bray (2013), China Perspectives, 2013/3, p. 53-62.
A major goal of the national program to Build a New Socialist Countryside is to modernise and urbanise the rural built environment. This objective has been bolstered by the extension of state-sponsored urban planning regimes into rural jurisdictions. One of the implications of this is that every administrative village in China is now required to commission and implement a 20-year “master plan” for redevelopment. Through tracing the origins and rationale of key policy initiatives, in the first part of this paper I aim to show how urban planning came to be seen as an appropriate tool for solving a range of intractable rural “problems.” In the second part of the paper, I present a case study of village redevelopment in order to illustrate how the principles of urban planning have been applied to the re-making of rural built environments and the transformation of rural life.
Neglect of a neighbourhood: oral accounts of life in ‘old Beijing’ since the eve of the People’s Republic. Paper written by Harriet Evans (2014), Urban History, Volume 41, Issue04, November 2014 pp 686-704.
Oral accounts of life over seven decades in Dashalanr, a popular neighbourhood in central Beijing, reveal a social world that despite being shaped by the state’s policies of social and political classification, housing and employment, has been resistant to complete appropriation by them. Based on research in the neighbourhood since 2005, and drawing on Xuanwu District archives, this article examines local residents’ accounts of long decades of hardship and neglect. With an analytical framework that links gender with temporality, place and space, it suggests ways in which their singular experiences can be read as historical narrative.
Paper written by Daniel Abramson, Journal of Urban Studies, 48:553, SAGE (2011). DOI: 10.1177/0042098010390237
Among the societies that are moving from a centrally planned economy with weak property rights towards a market-oriented economy with stronger and more privatised property rights, China is undergoing an especially rapid and extensive urbanisation that obscures the diversity and relevance of local pre-Reform property arrangements. Official discourse emphasises the formalisation, clarification and, to some extent, the privatisation of property rights in the name of overall societal development and gradual integration with the global economy. In local informal, popular practice and discourse, however, the invocation of property rights reflects the continuing political relevance of both revolutionary and traditional notions of rights to urban space that challenge a unitary, linear view of the development process.
Using the rather unique case of Quanzhou (泉州), in the province of Fujian, the second-largest qiaoxiang (侨乡) province after Guangdong, Abramson shows how property rights in this town have been protected throughout China’s turbulent twentieth century thanks in part to the special status overseas Chinese have enjoyed during this time.
The July 2014 Chinese State Council circular on the “end of the hukou (household registration) system” has been greeted by a mixture of jubilation and scepticism in the press. The abolition of the distinction between rural and urban Chinese citizens, which has existed since the 1950s, is historic, and may be of symbolic importance, but much of the rest of the policy announcement is neither new nor likely to benefit most current and prospective rural-urban migrants. Real hukou reform will be difficult and costly, and remains a long way off.
When China’s State Council announced in late July that it would end the official division of Chinese residents into rural and urban, it ended a practice that for almost six decades represented the worst of the country’s oft-decried residence permit, or hukou, system. When introduced in the late 50’s the restrictive policy bifurcated Chinese into an urban minority with government-provided benefits and a rural majority expected to feed both cities and itself.
Today over half of China’s population already lives in the cities. A blueprint for the country’s urbanization announced in March plans for 60% of the population to be urban by 2020, meaning another 100 million Chinese will move to cities. The plan also calls for 45% of the population to have urban hukou, meaning another 250 million once-rural residents will need to be registered in cities. This would theoretically entitle them to better benefits in areas such as health care and education.
The State Council provided general guidelines in its recent announcement on how the central government wants urbanization to proceed: few to no residency rules for those migrating to smaller cities, and increasingly stringent requirements as urban populations pass the 1 and 3 million marks. Cities with over 5 million people can use a “points” system to decide who is accorded residence, a practice already used by larger cities like Beijing that weeds out the vast majority of hukou hopefuls in favor of high-earning or highly educated applicants.
Bettina Gransow, « Reclaiming the Neighbourhood. Urban redevelopment, citizen activism, and conflicts of recognition in Guangzhou », China Perspectives [Online], 2014/2 | 2014, Online since 01 June 2014, connection on 04 September 2014. URL : http://chinaperspectives.revues.org/6425
This study examines social interventions into the everyday life of residents, families, and communities during a redevelopment project in an old town neighbourhood of Guangzhou. It further analyses how citizen activism unfolds in response to these redevelopment interventions. To better understand contention over the renewal of an old town neighbourhood – beyond negotiation of compensation for economic losses – the study is structured by a recognition-theoretical model of social conflict following Axel Honneth and Nancy Fraser.
Edmund W. Cheng. Managing Migrant Contestation. Land appropriation, intermediate agency, and regulated space in Shenzhen. Published in China Perspectives 2014/2: P.27.
This study considers the conditions under which China’s massive internal migration and urbanisation have resulted in relatively governed, less contentious, and yet fragile migrant enclaves. Shenzhen, the hub for rural-urban migration and a pioneer of market reform, is chosen to illustrate the dynamics of spatial contestation in China’s sunbelt. This paper first correlates the socialist land appropriation mechanisms to the making of the factory dormitory and urban village as dominant forms of migrant accommodation. It then explains how and why overt contention has been managed by certain intermediate agencies in the urban villages that have not only provided public goods but also regulated social order. It ends with an evaluation of the fragility of urban villages, which tend to facilitate urban redevelopment at the expense of migrants’ living space. The interplay between socialist institutions and market forces has thus ensured that migrant enclaves are regulated and integrated into the formal city.
Gao Bingzhong, How does superstition become intangible Cultural eritage in Postsocialist China? Positions (2014) 22(3): 551-572
This article narrates how a temple fair worshipping a dragon god, the object of superstition for about sixty years, became an official piece of intangible cultural heritage.
This story takes place in three chapters: First, the temple fair as a local tradition was revibed after China adopted its Reform and Opening policy in 1978. Second, the temporary tent set up annually for worship was replaced by a building, dubbed both “museum” and “temple” by way of creative use of a “double-naming method.” And third, the temple fair was formally identified as a piece of intangible cultural heritage. This course of events epitomizes the once-unimaginable changes that have taken place in Chinese society in the past one hundred years, and it offers a case for scholars to understand the logics of Chinese reform from within its own culture.
Anna L. Ahlers and Gunter Schubert (2013). Strategic Modelling: “Building a New Socialist Countryside” in Three Chinese Counties . The China Quarterly, 216, pp 831-849. doi:10.1017/S0305741013001045.
Models, pilots and experiments are considered distinctive features of the Chinese policy process. However, empirical studies on local modelling practices are rare. This article analyses the ways in which three rural counties in three different provinces engage in strategies of modelling and piloting to implement the central government’s “Building a New Socialist Countryside” (shehuizhuyi xinnongcun jianshe) programme. It explains how county and township governments apply these strategies and to what effect. It also highlights the scope and limitations of local models and pilots as useful mechanisms for spurring national development. The authors plead for a fresh look at local modelling practices, arguing that these can tell us much about the realities of governance in rural China today.
More information at The China Quarterly: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305741013001045
Yapeng Zhu, Kinglun Ngok and Wenmin Li (2014), Policy actors and policy making for better migrant health in China from a policy network perspective, Migration and Health in China. A joint project of United Nations Research Institute for Social Development Sun Yat-sen Center for Migrant Health Policy, Working Paper 2014–12 July.
Various policy actors are now involved in the development of migrant health policy. However, little is known about who the main policy actors are, what roles they play, how they interact with each other, and how they might improve their collaboration for better migrant health. This paper aims to identify the main policy actors and explore their roles in migrant health policy making. Applying a “polic network” approach, it finds that the marginalization of migrants in terms of health benefits is mainly attributed to a closed policy network resulting from the peculiar political structure and specific institutional arrangements. Based on these findings, the authors argue that an inclusive policy network is needed to overcome the major institutional barriers and better satisfy migrants’ health needs.
Yapeng Zhu is Research Fellow at the Sun Yat-sen Center for Migrant Health Policy and Associate Director at the Center for Chinese Public Administration Research, and Professor at the School of Government, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.
Kinglun Ngok is Associate Director at Sun Yat-sen Center for Migrant Health Policy and Associate Director at the Center for Public Administration Research, China.
Wenmin Li is a doctoral student at the School of Government, Sun Yat-sen University
Tao Tao & Kunlun Xin, Public health: A sustainable plan for China’s drinking water, Nature, 30 July 2014
Making drinking water safe is a priority in China. Serious health and social problems concentrate in areas where the water quality is poor. Every year, 190 million people in China fall ill and 60,000 people die from diseases caused by water pollution such as liver and gastric cancers1. Around 300 million people face shortages of drinking water2. In a 2009 nationwide assessment, one-quarter of 4,000 urban water-treatment plants surveyed did not comply with quality controls, stoking public fears about the health impacts.
China Information‘s latest issue, vol. 28, no. 2 (July 2014) is a special issue on cyberpolitics, put together by guest editor Guobin Yang. The articles are free for download until 16 August 2014.
China Information presents timely and in-depth analyses of major developments in contemporary China and overseas Chinese communities in the areas of politics, economics, law, ecology, culture, and society, including literature and the arts.
China Information pays special attention to views and areas that do not receive sufficient attention in the mainstream discourse on contemporary China. It encourages discussion and debate between different academic traditions, offers a platform to express controversial and dissenting opinions, and promotes research that is historically sensitive and contemporarily relevant.
Political contestation in Chinese digital spaces: Deepening the critical inquiry
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Hackerspaces and the Internet of Things in China: How makers are reinventing industrial production, innovation, and the self
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Voice, power and connectivity in China’s microblogosphere: Digital divides on SinaWeibo
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Jesper Schlæger and Min Jiang
Official microblogging and social management by local governments in China
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Steven J. Balla
Health system reform and political participation on the Chinese Internet
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Robeson Taj Frazier and Lin Zhang
Ethnic identity and racial contestation in cyberspace: Deconstructing the Chineseness of Lou Jing
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The ‘losers’ of China’s Internet: Memes as ‘structures of feeling’ for disillusioned young netizens
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Web-based backpacking communities and online activism in China: Movement without marching
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