Category Archives: Blog posts

The many forms of water security in China

Darrin Magee, The many forms of water security in China, China Policy Institute Blog, November 4, 2014.

By some measures, China is not a water-scarce country. Per capita water resources stood at just over 2,000 cubic meters in 2013 according to the National Bureau of Statistics, with overall water availability at nearly 2.8 trillion cubic meters. Yet these figures tell only part of the story. China’s seemingly sufficient water resources are severely polluted, unevenly distributed in space and time, inefficiently utilized, and increasingly diverted away from agriculture toward higher-value-added uses. Moreover, as the Chinese government moves forward on a path toward less reliance on carbon-based energy sources and greater use of non-hydro renewables like solar and wind, hydropower will almost certainly gain importance as a dispatchable electricity generation source that can balance the intermittent nature of solar and wind. Some of that hydropower will be developed on transboundary rivers in China’s southwest, further raising tensions with downstream neighbors already wary of China’s intentions.

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Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Beijing life in a shipping container

Shi Jian, Beijing life in a shipping container, China Dialogue, 27.01.2015 .https://www.chinadialogue.net/

On the outskirts of Beijing, a gardener has built a home out of shipping containers in the hope of creating a green community in the polluted city

 

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In the summer of 2014 Niu Jian and his family moved from the bustling Beijing district of Haidian to the village of Niuhe in Shunyi, on the outskirts of the capital. Their new home consists of a single-storey arrangement of six 20-foot shipping containers. A 600 watt solar panel hangs on one wall and 300 watt wind turbine spins on the roof.
 

Niu had the containers made to order, with doors and windows, a power supply and insulation. The 150 square metre-space cost him about 300,000 yuan to have built and fitted out and he describes this as a laboratory for sustainable living. Asked why he wanted to spend so much money for a tougher life on the outskirts of Beijing, Niu explains that he wants to spread the idea of a ‘shared community’ – people who want to find a more sustainable life in the smog ridden city.

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Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Street art in Beijing

Robbbb has only been working as a street artist for three years but identifies his role as helping to document the rapidly changing urban and social environment in Beijing. It is among the cities crumbling ruins that he feels his work belongs – “Ruins are temporary [and] so are my works but I hope they’ll leave some mark in Beijing’s history”.

At present there is no specific law against street art in China but he believes this will change in the near future as people, and the authorities, begin to understand the subversive element of the movement.

To see more of the artist’s work, visit his website HERE.


http://www.crane.tv/robbbb-among-the-ruins

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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A training on quantifying emissions of urban transport in Chengdu

HBEFA China Banner2

On 20 November 2014, GIZ and the China Sustainable Urban Transport Research Centre (CUSTReC) conducted a training on quantifying emissions of urban transport in Chengdu.

Chengdu is one of three pilot cities in the Large City Congestion and Carbon Reduction project financed through the Global Environment Fund and managed by the World Bank. One of the activities of the Project Management Office of the GEF in Chengdu is to monitor the development of their transport emissions. GIZ cooperates with CUSTReC and the World Bank to support the quantification of transport emissions, using the China Road Transport Emission Model (HBEFA China).

Read the full text on Sustainable Transport in China

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Thank you, but we prefer the salt monopoly

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Thank you, but we prefer the salt monopoly, TeaLeafNation, November 20, 2014

China is the world’s biggest consumer of salt — one kitchen staple that has so far remained unadulterated by the country’s many food safety scandals. But now Chinese netizens are worried that is about to change.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced on Nov. 20 that it will end the state monopoly on salt that has existed since 1950, according to a report by state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV). State media is touting the move as a step towards the market reforms that President Xi Jinping and the ruling Communist Party have pushed as China’s export-oriented economy slows.

Yet the country’s netizens are far from rejoicing at what appears to be a step to rein in the power of China’s hulking state-owned enterprises. Rather, the question roiling China’s online social spaces after CCTV’s announcement seemed to be what will happen when profit-hungry fraudsters, eager to make a quick buck, jump into the newly open salt market.

“There will soon be frequent cases of industrial salt” — far cheaper than table salt — “being mixed with edible salt,” went one popular comment on Weibo, China’s huge Twitter-like microblogging platform. Another user wrote, “Soon the media will be putting out articles called ‘How to tell industrial salt from table salt.'” The topic seemed to resonate; “salt monopoly abolished” became a top-trending hashtag on Weibo, and one related post on CCTV’s official Weibo account quickly garnered over 1,300 comments. One user commented cynically, “I’ve eaten all kinds of fake products; now I will finally have the opportunity to eat fake salt!”

Read the full text on the blog  TeaLeafNation or on Foreign Policy

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Residence choice decisions

Wu, N. and Zhao, S.(2014)1. “Impact of transportation convenience, housing affordability, location, and schooling in residence choice decisions.” Journal of Urban Planning Development , 10.1061/(ASCE)UP.1943-5444.0000258 , 05014028.

This paper aims to investigate the impacts of housing affordability, which can be denoted as the ratio of housing price (HP) and monthly expense per person (EXP), travel time to the city center, distance to a subway station, and schooling on residents’ apartments purchasing behavior in Dalian, China. The paper employed a logit model based on stated preference (SP) data. Results show that travel time to the city center (by subway) and housing affordability have negative effects on individual utility. This reveals that residents tend to buy apartments near the city center based on their income. Considering a series of negative external factors, distance to a subway station is positive to utility. Moreover, the willingness for residents to pay for different attributes varies according to their levels of EXP. At last the elasticity of different variables is analyzed and 180 additional data points are used to test the model. The testing result shows that the model can satisfy the basic requirement.

Read More: http://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/(ASCE)UP.1943-5444.0000258

  1. Na Wu, Ph.D. Candidate,  Zhao, S., Professor and Dean, School of Transportation and Logistics, Faculty of Infrastructure Engineering, Dalian Univ. of Technology, Dalian []

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Chinadialogue

Chinadialogue (https://www.chinadialogue.net/) was launched on 3 July 2006 by an independent, non-profit organisation based in London and Beijing. It is a completely bilingual website that focuses on environmental issues like climate change, pollution, and water and food security. A website worth exploring.

Chinadialogue

Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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Germany’s renewables paradox: a warning sign for China

Overdorf, Jason. Germany’s renewables paradox a warning sign for China. Chinadialogue.net. 25 June, 2014. Retrieved 30 June, 2014, from: https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/7085-Germany-s-renewables-paradox-a-warning-sign-for-China

From the hay field behind his house, Gunter Jurischka points out the solar panels glittering from the town’s rooftops and the towering wind turbines spinning lazily on the horizon.

Thanks to Germany’s now famous Energiewende (or “energy transition”) programme, this tiny village of 800 souls produces enough electricity to supply 15,000 households from wind, solar and biogas.

But in what should come as a warning signal to countries like China that are rapidly rolling out renewable energy projects, a ruling by the state government earlier this June promises to uproot these villagers. Proschim’s green dream will be bulldozed to make way for a 2,000-hectare, open-cast coal mine.

“We don’t have time for energy from the Middle Ages anymore,” said Jurischka, a weather-beaten former agronomist with piercing eyes and longish salt-and-pepper hair.

It’s beginning to look like he might be right.

Read full story on Chinadialogue

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Shanghai street stories = 上海街头故事

Shanghai street stories = 上海街头故事. Retrieved 24 June, 2014,  from http://shanghaistreetstories.com/

The pace of urban development in Shanghai is as swift as it is unrelenting and its impact is far-reaching in both the positive and negative.

I photograph and collect stories in Shanghai, seeking to capture the lives of ordinary Shanghainese and 外地人 or “waidiren” in the city, as well as the process behind the city’s rapid urbanisation.

My work is a mix of photojournalism and street photography. The former allows me to cover a wider gamut of topics such as old architecture, individual stories, lifestyle, while the latter is indicative of a style of photography I sometimes prefer. 

For interviews I have given about photography, blogging and Shanghai in general can be found on the Published Work page.

To learn more about how the website is set up and the plugins that run the blog, read “The Anatomy of My Blog: An Amateur’s Tale (and Tips!)“.

Read the blog : http://shanghaistreetstories.com/

More information about the author and the blog itself

 

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Realising China’s urbanisation dream

The East Asia Forum published an article on urbanisation in China. By Wang Xiaolu, published on 12 May 2014, accessed on 13 May 2014.

China is experiencing rapid urbanisation. It is the main engine of economic growth in contemporary China, although it is facing some severe challenges. A major problem is that the majority of the 234 million rural migrants in urban areas have not obtained urban permanent resident status, blocked by the hukou or urban household registration system. The newly released urbanisation blueprint by the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council, National New-Type Urbanization Plan 2014-2020, announced the acceleration of the process of turning rural migrants into urban citizens.

Please read the full article here.

Aurélia Martin

Chargée de communications et des médias pour l’UMR Chine Corée Japon (CNRS)

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Bringing sustainable infrastructure to urban areas

Grangé, Jérémy and Petitet, Sylvain (2014). For cities of a different nature : bringing sustainable infrastructure to urban areas. Translated by Oliver Waine. Metropolitics, 26 March 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014 from: http://www.metropolitiques.eu/For-cities-of-a-different-nature.html

City-dwellers want to see more of their metropolitan areas turned over to nature and urban public spaces; however, our cities today are still structured by a network of roads that were primarily built to manage motor traffic flows. Sylvain Petitet and Jérémy Grangé show how implementing sustainable urban infrastructure could provide city-dwellers with easy and convenient access to the places that generate most of their journeys, revealing a new form of network-based public space.

 

 

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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The US and China should focus on air pollution to tackle climate change

Zhang, Junjie. Why the US and China should focus on air pollution to tackle climate change. Asia Blog, 6 March, 2014. Retrieved 11 March, 2014, from http://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/why-us-and-china-should-focus-air-pollution-tackle-climate-change

The U.S. and China, the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs), are seeking common ground for climate action. During his China trip in February, Secretary of State John Kerry signed the U.S.-China Joint Statement on Climate Change, which pledges to devote resources to “secure concrete results” by the 2014 U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue. While there is no shortage of ideas about what the bilateral climate collaboration might address, the challenge is to identify a focal issue that is economically beneficial and politically viable for both countries.

Neither China nor the U.S. has shown a willingness to take measures that will reduce GHG emissions if there are economic costs attached. On the Chinese side, GDP growth remains a top priority, and political leaders are reluctant to sacrifice GDP growth in order to reduce GHG emissions. In addition, GHG emissions are not a known indicator in China’s cadre performance appraisal system, which partly determines the career advancement of government officials. Such officials have no immediate incentive to make decisions aimed at limiting carbon emissions. In the United States, proposed laws and regulations to limit GHG emissions or put a price on carbon have repeatedly been turned back because of concerns over their impact on the economy.

Cooperation on climate change is most likely to occur in an area associated with positive economic, health, and social impacts. The nexus between climate change and air pollution represents an area in which the U.S. and China can create a host of benefits that should appeal to leaders and key constituencies.

Read the full story on Asia Blog

 

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Land expropriation in China

Zhang, Xian. Seeking just compensation for collective-owned land expropriation in China. Short Academic Paper, Peking University (July 1, 2013). 18 p. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2331225 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2331225

In the process of urbanization, China needs to expropriate more and more collective-owned lands in order to satisfy the need of city construction and development. However, when the collective-owned lands are expropriated currently, peasants get very low compensation for their loss in improvements, green crops, and land use rights.Why Chinese peasants get such a low compensation? From legal aspect, it is illegal for the Collective to sell its land directly in the market. China does not allow a market for the transfer of collective-owned land, the compensation lacks of a comparable market standard. In addition, the Land Administration Law requires the compensation to be based on the original purpose of land expropriated and administrative pricing. That leads the compensation standard to be far away from fair market value. From incentive aspect, the local government needs extra-budgetary revenue to fill the huge gap between its tax revenue and fiscal expenditure. The price spread between land-transferring fees and compensation turn into local government’s extra-budgetary revenue. Thus, the local government has great incentive to lower the compensation. With the discretion on deciding what qualifies public use, local government can expropriate as many collective-owned lands as possible, in order to generate more extra-budgetary revenue.

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Chen, Lei. Legal and institutional analysis of land expropriation in China (October 14, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2339998 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2339998

China has a bifurcated land system, with clear distinctions between urban and rural land use rights. While state-owned land in urban areas has become commercially transferable, rural land cannot be transferred. This discrepancy has been exploited by property developers, investors, village heads and local governments, which has caused wide-spread, large-scale malpractice in relation to expropriation of land. Thus, conflict over expropriation of land has been, and continues to be, a simmering hotpot of social unrest in China. It has been claimed that land disputes over expropriation is one of the most common ways of provoking grassroots resistance and undermining public confidence in the government. How should the grievances suffered by the rural farmers be redressed, and how should the Chinese government draw the fine line between economic development and individual property rights? In order to answer these questions, this paper addresses the root causes of land disputes both from a legal perspective, evaluating the most recent statutory changes, and from the policy perspective, analyzing the national strategy of integrating urban and rural areas (城乡一体化), including the recent local experiments on transforming the inalienability of rural land use rights.

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See also

Roberts, Dexter (November 20, 2013). Is land reform finally coming to China? Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 10 February 2014 from http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-11-20/is-land-reform-finally-coming-to-china

China’s leaders raised a multitude of reforms as priorities at the plenum that closed a week ago. A key one, a change in land ownership so that farmers can more freely rent, sell, and mortgage their land, is hoped to boost China’s still laggard household consumption.

Read the full story

Sargeson, Sally (2012). Villains, victims and aspiring proprietors : framing ‘land-losing villagers’ in China’s strategies of accumulation. Journal of Contemporary China, 21 (77),  757-777. DOI: 10.1080/10670564.2012.684962

This paper examines how debates in the media are providing the discursive conditions for, and thereby giving impetus to, diverse strategies of ‘so-called primitive accumulation’ in China. Taking as its empirical referent Chinese news and journal articles on land enclosure, the paper analyzes three frames in which policy entrepreneurs craft varying class positions for land-losing villagers. Grounded in different ontological premises, problem diagnoses and recommendations centering on the adoption of either a statist, neo-collective or liberal rural land regime, and backed up by evaluations of local policy experiments, the frames illustrate the diversity of ideational, political and institutional configurations that could facilitate the separation of peasant producers from the land, place land-losing villagers in different relationships with the state and capital, and sustain accumulation. In foregrounding these debates over land-losing villagers’ future class positioning, the paper aims to offer a corrective to the historical determinism implicit in contemporary analyses that characterize enclosure in China as simply one national manifestation of homogenous, global neo-liberal projects of ‘accumulation by dispossession’ or ‘gangster capitalism’.

Read full text on Taylor & Francis online (restricted access)

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Who moved China’s bicycle?

The China Watch. Who moved China’s bicycle? December 26, 2011. Retrieved 30 January, 2014, from http://www.thechinawatch.com/2011/12/who-moved-chinas-bicycle/

Source : 网易新闻. 《看客》 第22期:谁动了中国的自行车. October 5, 2010. Retrieved 30 January, 2014, from http://news.163.com/photoview/3R710001/11177.html#p=6I76BCCN3R710001

Bicycle has been the most familiar “stranger” for China and Chinese people, from “bicycle kingdom” known to foreigners to often hit foreign headlines because of cars made a traffic jam, from be proud of a bike to hot debate for returning bicycle. Who moved Chinese bicycle after 61 years of statehood, as increasing economic development, forward city plan and boom desire of people.

Read full story on The China Watch

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Happy New Year from UrbaChina blog

黄山

François Gipouloux and the UrbaChina blog team (Monique Abud, Chi-Han Ai, Léa Daurès, Miguel Elosua, Sébastien Goulard, Aurélia Martin and Jacqueline Nivard) wish you a very Happy New Year.

Photo taken by Miguel Elosua in Huangshan (January 2006).

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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