This article examines the mechanisms of conflict resolution by public deliberation in Chinese urban residential communities. The analysis focuses on the interactions between three key actors of community life: Residents’ Committees (as the agent of the state), residents, and their representative organizations. Based on empirical data from three types of urban communities, the article finds that deliberation is more effective in communities where the power of Residents’ Committees over residents is weak, and deliberation also works better in communities with strong resident representatives who are able to mobilize information flows and to shape public reasoning. The findings suggest that, on the one hand, the governance structure of Chinese urban residential communities provides space for informal, unstructured public deliberation; on the other hand, deliberation also meets obstacles and dilemmas associated with representation, coordination and fostering understanding across social and economic divisions.
I always wondered how China had avoided the slums that seem to dominate the large cities of other developing countries. When I started my research for this book, I heard that China was concerned about “Latin Americanization” — meaning megacities, inequality and instability. At the same time, the government was abolishing agricultural taxes that had been collected in some form for over two and a half millennia. These developments seemed important to understand.
In your book you describe how China escaped the usual social unrest that accompanies preferential policies for cities thanks to its hukou, or household registration, system.
China’s household registration system separates its rural and urban populations. While those born in cities have a local hukou that gives them access to social services, those born in the countryside have a harder time getting access to services when they migrate to cities.
Most poor countries favor cities to promote development and ensure that people living in cities are pro-government. I argue that this kind of “urban bias” might tamp down protests today but also encourages more and more farmers to move to favored cities. These large cities, often full of slums, can explode. Urban protests can quickly overwhelm regimes, even seemingly stable ones like Mubarak’s in Egypt. China’s hukou system is a loophole to this Faustian bargain: favoring urbanites while keeping farmers in the countryside and smaller cities.
Zhifen Cheng, Hangyi Zhou, and Stephen Young, The elites’ former houses in Beijing’s South Luogu Lane, Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 398-421; doi:10.3390/su7010398
Place is seen as a process whereby social and cultural forms are reproduced. This process is closely linked to capital flows, which are, in turn, shaped by changing property regimes. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the relationship between property regimes, capital flows and place-making. The goal of this paper is to highlight the role of changing property regimes in the production of place. Our research area is South Luogu Lane (SLL) in Central Beijing. We take elites’ former houses in SLL as the main unit of analysis in this study. From studying this changing landscape, we draw four main conclusions. First, the location of SSL was critical in enabling it to emerge as a high-status residential community near the imperial city. Second, historical patterns of capital accumulation influenced subsequent rounds of private investment into particular areas of SLL. Third, as laws relating to the ownership of land and real estate changed fundamentally in the early 1950s and again in the 1980s, the target and intensity of capital flows into housing in SLL changed too. Fourth, these changes in capital flow are linked to ongoing changes in the place image of SLL.
Article written by Urban Marie « L’état de la protection sociale en Chine » Revue française d’administration publique, 2014/2 N° 150, p. 467-479. DOI : 10.3917/rfap.150.0467.
The Chinese welfare system has been gradually expanded since the early 2000s to cover the entire Chinese population. Despite extensive coverage, it is still a geographically fragmented and disparate system, which provides unequal protection depending on whether people live in urban or rural areas. People living in rural areas receive very few benefits and still depend upon family solidarity to cope with illness or old age, while migrant workers, because of their precarious status, remain largely excluded from the social welfare system. The Chinese system needs to be further reformed to guarantee greater equality in the payment of pensions and access to care, thus ensuring it is sustainable in the medium term, just as the ageing of the population is raising issues regarding its funding.
Huang, Youqin, Yi Chengdong. (2014) Invisible migrant enclaves in Chinese cities : Underground living in Beijing, China. Urban Studies. Pre-published online, December 22, 2014. DOI: 10.1177/0042098014564535
China is experiencing an urban revolution, powered in part by hundreds of millions of migrant workers. Faced with institutionalised discrimination in the housing system and the lack of housing affordability, migrants have turned to virtually uninhabitable spaces such as basements and civil air defence shelters for housing. With hundreds of thousands of people living in crowded and dark basements, an invisible migrant enclave exists underneath the modern city of Beijing. We argue that in Chinese cities, housing has been adopted as an institution to exclude and marginalise migrants, through: (a) defining migrants as an inferior social class through the Hukou system and denying their rights to entitlements including housing; (b) abnormalising migrants through various derogatory naming and categorisations to legitimise exclusion; and (c) purifying and controlling migrant spaces to achieve exclusion and marginalisation. The forced popularity of basement renting reflects the reality that housing has become an institution of exclusion and marginalisation. It embodies vertical spatial marginalisation, with exacerbated contrasts between basement tenants and urban residents, heightened fear of the ‘other’, even more derogatory naming, and the government’s more aggressive clean-up of their spaces. We call for reforms and policy changes to ensure decent and affordable housing for basement tenants and migrants in general.
Tilt, Bryan (2014). Dams and development in China : the moral economy of water and power. New York : Columbia university press. 280 p. (Contemporary Asia in the World). ISBN: 978-0-2311-7010-9.
China is home to half of the world’s large dams and adds dozens more each year. The benefits are considerable: dams deliver hydropower, provide reliable irrigation water, protect people and farmland against flooding, and produce hydroelectricity in a nation with a seeimingly insatiable appetite for energy. As hydropower responds to a larger share of energy demand, dams may also help to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, welcome news in a country where air and water pollution have become dire and greenhouse gas emissions are the highest in the world.
Yet the advantages of dams come at a high cost for river ecosystems and for the social and economic well-being of local people, who face displacement and farmland loss. This book examines the array of water-management decisions faced by Chinese leaders and their consequences for local communities. Focusing on the southwestern province of Yunnan–a major hub for hydropower development in China–which encompasses one of the world’s most biodiverse temperate ecosystems and one of China’s most ethnically and culturally rich regions, Bryan Tilt takes the reader from the halls of decision-making power in Beijing to Yunnan’s rural villages. In the process, he examines the contrasting values of government agencies, hydropower corporations, NGOs, and local communities and explores how these values are linked to longstanding cultural norms about what is right, proper, and just. He also considers the various strategies these groups use to influence water-resource policy, including advocacy, petitioning, and public protest. Drawing on a decade of research, he offers his insights on whether the world’s most populous nation will adopt greater transparency, increased scientific collaboration, and broader public participation as it continues to grow economically.
Jeffrey Wasserstrom (2014) , Shanghai as a City of Juxtapositions Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, Volume 5, Number 3, Winter, p. 371-374 | 10.1353/hum.2014.0028 Available on Project Muse.
Shanghai has long been seen as a city of juxtapositions, a reputation that first took hold when it was divided into foreign-run and Chinese-run districts in the nineteenth century. More recently, though, it has become an open question as to whether the most striking juxtapositions in the metropolis relate to cultural difference or chronology. This essay explores this theme, paying particular attention to how, in the twenty-first century, its people sometimes see Shanghai as a meeting point between the past, the present, and the future.
Cultural and Institutional Bifurcation: China and Europe Compared. Article written by Avner Greif and Guido Tabellini. American Economic Review, May 2010.
How to sustain cooperation is a key challenge for any society. Different social organizations have evolved in the course of history to cope with this challenge by relying on different combinations of external ( formal and informal) enforcement institutions and intrinsic motivation. Some societies rely more on informal enforcement and moral obligations within their constituting groups. Others rely more on formal enforcement and general moral obligations towards society at large. How do culture and institutions interact in generating different evolutionary trajectories of societal organizations? Do contemporary attitudes, institutions, and behavior reflect distinct pre-modern trajectories?
Zavoretti, Roberta. (2014) ‘My generation had it all easy’: accounts of anxiety and social order in post-Mao Nanjing. Cambridge Anthropology, 32(2), pp. 49-64. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ca.2014.320206
In urban China, young people are under increasing pressure to embody the ideal of a financially secure ‘match’. At the same time, their parents define marriage as ‘a family matter’ and provide a large part of the starting fund for their children’s new family. This situation often leads to inter-generational tensions, which can be fully appreciated only by looking back at the life experiences of the parents. Many members of this older generation were displaced to the countryside to ‘learn from the peasant masses’. In their accounts of those times, marriage was a troubling issue as most of them did not want to marry villagers for fear of getting stuck in the countryside. The anxieties of the old and new generations seem to be underpinned by policies promoted by state and market respectively; however, informants point to the state as the main source of responsibility for both change and continuity.
Fudan University officially launches an online platform to store social sciences data this afternoon and is inviting individuals, organizations and governmental institutions around the world to publish and share research findings on it.
All published data can be found for free at http://dvn.fudan.edu.cn.The platform is developed in cooperation with Harvard University’s Dataverse Network. Registered users can also apply to authors via the platform for information not fully publicized, Fudan said.
The platform has been tested since June with 1,377 data sets stored by Fudan researchers and 57 now completely open to the public.
More researching findings are expected to appear after its official launch, the school said.
Wen, Guanzhong James and Jinwu Xiong. (2013) Which type of urbanization better matches China’s factor endowment : a comparison of population-intensive Old Puxi and Land-Capital-Intensive New Pudong. Frontiers of Economics in China, 8(4), pp. 516-534. URL: http://journal.hep.com.cn/fec/EN/10.3868/s060-002-013-0026-2 (Retrieved 10 December 2014)
Based on a comparative study of New-Pudong (East Shanghai) and Old-Puxi (West Shanghai) in their respective ability to absorb rural migrants, the very essence of urbanization, this paper finds that, constrained by the current hukou (household registration) system and land tenure system, although New-Pudong has emerged as one of the most modernized urban areas in the world, it did so under an urbanization model that is government-dominant and characterized by high land-intensity and capital-intensity. This model represents a serious mismatch in terms of China’s factor endowment that is characterized with a large but relatively poor rural population. In sharp contrast, guided by the market mechanism under private land ownership and free migration, Old-Puxi emerged as an urbanization model that was very adaptable to China’s factor endowment and stage of development. Therefore, as a model of endogenous urbanization, Old-Puxi is more efficient and inclusive, at the same time more sustainable economically and environmentally, and for this reason more applicable to China at a time when China needs to urbanize most of its rural population urgently to avoid the further worsening of the rural/urban divide and income disparity.
The International Journal of Chinese Education aims to strengthen Chinese academic exchanges and cooperation with other countries in order to improve Chinese educational research and promote Chinese educational development. Articles can be submitted as empirical studies, especially on popular issues, policy studies, and theory studies, and can address all educational disciplines, educational phenomena and education problems.
Hyun Bang Shin (2014) Urban spatial restructuring, event-led development and scalar politics. Urban Studies, November 2014 vol. 51 no. 14. DOI:10.1177/0042098013515031.
This paper uses Guangzhou’s experience of hosting the 2010 Asian Games to illustrate Guangzhou’s engagement with scalar politics. This includes concurrent processes of intra-regional restructuring to position Guangzhou as a central city in south China and a ‘negotiated scale-jump’ to connect with the world under conditions negotiated in part with the overarching strong central state, testing the limit of Guangzhou’s geopolitical expansion. Guangzhou’s attempts were aided further by using the Asian Games as a vehicle for addressing condensed urban spatial restructuring to enhance its own production/accumulation capacities, and for facilitating urban redevelopment projects to achieve a ‘global’ appearance and exploit the city’s real estate development potential. Guangzhou’s experience of hosting the Games provides important lessons for expanding our understanding of how regional cities may pursue their development goals under the strong central state and how event-led development contributes to this.
Li, Tian (2014). Property rights, land values and urban development : betterment and compensation in China. Edward Elgar, 232 p. ISBN : 978-1-78347-639-8 (hardcover) / 978-1-78347-640-4 (ebook)
This book presents an analysis of betterment and compensation issues under the Land Use Rights (LURs) System in China since 1988. The topic originates from the observation of widening inequity and increasing uncertainty associated with the failure of government to adequately address betterment and compensation issues. An analytical framework of institutions and property rights is employed to examine socio-economic impacts under the LURs system, in particular, the role of the state is analyzed to explore the effects of government intervention in land markets.
Nature of land rent and land value capture
Studying betterment and compensation from a perspective of property rights
Assessing and addressing betterment and compensation: international experiences
Urban land reform and evolution of land market in China
Betterment and compensation schemes under the lurs system
Assessing and addressing betterment and compensation in guangzhou: empirical evidence
Institutional evolution in the land market of Guangzhou
Ryanne Flock1 (2014), « Panhandling and the Contestation of Public Space in Guangzhou », China Perspectives [Online], 2014/2 | 2014, Online since 01 June 2014, connection on 17 December 2014. URL : http://chinaperspectives.revues.org/6449
Urban public space is a product of contestations by various actors. This paper focuses on the conflict between local level government and beggars to address the questions: How and why do government actors refuse or allow beggars access to public space? How and why do beggars appropriate public space to receive alms and adapt their strategies? How does this contestation contribute to the trends of urban public space in today’s China? Taking the Southern metropolis of Guangzhou as a case study, I argue that beggars contest expulsion from public space through begging performances. Rising barriers of public space require higher investment in these performances, taking even more resources from the panhandling poor. The trends of public order are not unidirectional, however. Beggars navigate between several contextual borders composed by China’s religious renaissance; the discourse on deserving, undeserving, and dangerous beggars; and the moral legitimacy of the government versus the imagination of a successful, “modern,” and “civilised” city. This conflict shows the everyday production of “spaces of representation” by government actors on the micro level where economic incentives merge with aspirations for political prestige.