Tag Archives: Beijing

Strict crowd limits set for Beijing Lunar New Year celebrations in wake of Shanghai crush

Beijing authorities have set precise mathematical limits on allowable crowd densities for events during the Lunar New Year holiday after the government ordered increased safety precautions across the country in the wake of the deadly New Year’s Eve stampede in Shanghai.

Read more on The South China Morning Post 2015-02-12

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


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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Measuring eco cities, comparing European and Asian experiences: Rotterdam versus Beijing

Meine Pieter van Dijk (2015). Measuring eco cities, comparing European and Asian experiences: Rotterdam versus Beijing. Asia Europe Journal. 20 p. Published online: 4 January 2015. URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10308-014-0405-7

Many cities have taken initiatives to achieve more sustainable development or to become ecological cities. In this paper, ten dimensions are suggested for defining ecological cities and an effort has been made to provide indicators to measure them. Many cities claim to be ecological cities, but there are no non-ambiguous definitions of ecological cities and few efforts have been made to measure to what extent the cities have achieved their goal. This paper considers the efforts of Beijing and Rotterdam to become more eco cities, using these dimensions. What can we learn from these experiences for developing the city of the future? In an illustrative effort to apply the suggested criteria, Rotterdam scored slightly better than Beijing. The latter city is facing more serious environmental problems and is willing to try more innovative solutions, while Rotterdam spends more money on prevention and CO2 reduction.

Read full text online (free access)



Monique Abud

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

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A simple scan gives Beijing metro users access to a mini library

Beijing’s first underground library “M Subway•Library” is open. [Photo/mtr.bj.cn]

China’s capital city launched its first underground library, “M Subway•Library” on Jan 12. The theme of its first activity is “Our Characters”.

Citizens riding the special train on subway Line 4 now can read e-books provided by the National Library by scanning the QR code in the carriage.

“M Subway•Library” is a public welfare program initiated by the Beijing MTR and the National Library to provide qualified book resources to the public through the platform of public transportation. The library will organize different themed activities regularly and recommend a dozen free books to the public each year in the long term.

Read on China Daily

Beijing launches ‘Subway Library’

With 10 million passengers every day, the Beijing subway system has huge potential as a place for promotion or even a new lifestyle. The “Subway Library,” which has just opened on Line 4 of the underground, encourages people to take advantage of their time on the trains to read more books.

Read more and see the videos on Chin.org.cn

China: Beijing metro users access free e-books

Finding something to read on the underground just got a bit easier in Beijing, where travellers can now access a free electronic library.

Carriages on Line 4 of the city’s metro feature barcodes which people can scan with their tablets or smartphones, China’s BTV News channel reports. They’ll be able to choose from a selection of ten books, which will change every couple of months. The first books available are about historical Chinese texts. “I think we have found a great, effective and handy tool to make traditional culture popular,” says Rong Jun, a spokesman from the city government, which is supporting the initiative along with the National Library.

Read more on BBC.News.com

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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The elites’ former houses in Beijing’s South Luogu Lane

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.

Read the full text :  http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/7/1/398/htm#sthash.mR60mj6C.dpuf

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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Invisible migrant enclaves in Chinese cities

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.

Read full text online (restricted access)


Monique Abud

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

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Space modernization and social interaction

Yang, Qingqing (2015). Space modernization and social interaction : a comparative study of living space in Beijing. Berlin ; Heidelberg : Springer. XVII-152 p. ISBN : SBN 978-3-662-44348-4.

This book concerns the Beijing Hutong and changing perceptions of space, of social relations and of self, as processes of urban redevelopment remove Hutong dwellers from their traditional homes to new high-rise apartments. It addresses questions of how space is humanly built and transformed, classified and differentiated, and most importantly how space is perceived and experienced. This study elaborates and expands Lefebvre’s “trialectic” of space on a theoretical level. The ethnography presented is a conversation with Tim Ingold’s argument about “empty space”. This research employs the ethnographic technique of participant-observation to secure a finely textured, detailed and micro-social account of local experience. Then, these micro-social insights are contextualized within macro-social structures of Chinese modernism by speaking to geographical concerns, orientalism and history.

More information on Springer


Monique Abud

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

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Commuting tools and residential location of suburbanization: evidence from Beijing

Yao, Yonglin and Wang Shuai (2014). Commuting tools and residential location of uburbanization: evidence from Beijing. Urban, Planning and Transport Research: An Open Access Journal, 1 (2), 274-288.  Retrieved 4 July, 2014, from  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21650020.2014.920697

Since the 1990s, the population of Beijing has decentralized. This paper studies the relationship between residents’ commuting tools and their residential location during suburbanization by applying field survey data, statistical methods, and Geographic Information System techniques. The results show that public transportation is the most common choice for commuting. Residents commute the shortest distance do so by walking/bicycling and residents commute the longest distance do so by taking bus/subway. The likelihood of using bus/subway increases as the distance becomes longer; the likelihood of commuting by car/taxi has a very weak correlation with commuting distance. The results imply a public transportation-oriented suburbanization model in Beijing. By further mapping the subway lines and the geographic distribution of newly built houses from 2008 to 2012, it is discovered that public transit especially the subway plays a significant role in residential relocation in Beijing. This could explain the city sprawl in suburbanization in China.


Monique Abud

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

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Neighbourhood governance in urban China

Yip, Ngai-Ming (ed.) (2014). Neighbourhood governance in urban China. Cheltenham : Edward Elgar. XI-213 p. ISBN: 978-1-78100-023-6

Neighbourhood Governance In Urban ChinaAs the economy and society of China has become more diversified, so have its urban neighbourhoods. The last decade has witnessed a surge in collective action by homeowners in China against the infringement of their rights. Research on neighbourhood governance is sparse and limited, so this book fills a vital gap in the literature and understanding.

The authors reveal how the Chinese authorities have themselves become increasingly sensitive to the potential risk of collective actions becoming destabilizing forces in urban arenas. This thought-provoking book looks at both the theoretical and empirical underpinning of the self-governance of homeowners and their collective action, as well as control mechanisms in neighbourhood governance. The book offers a window through which contending issues, such as changing state–society relations, rights-based social movements and the emergence of civil society, can be further explored.

Neighbourhood governance is a multifaceted concept that cuts across academic disciplines and intersects an array of policy areas. Therefore this book will find a wide audience amongst public and social policy academics, particularly those with an interest in urban studies, governance and Asian cities, as well as politics.

Monique Abud

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

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Center seeks for part-time research assistant for “Beijing + 20 Project”

East Asia in Beijing
April 17, 2014

Columbia Global Centers | East Asia is seeking a paid part-time research assistant to provide research support to a project: “Beijing + 20 Seminar Series, Symposium and Related Activities.”

Columbia Global Centers | East Asia will organize a mapping process and a series of preparatory planning roundtable meetings in 2014 related to the lead up to the twentieth anniversary of the Beijing Women’s Conference in 2015 (Beijing + 20).  This project will engage key women’s activists in women’s studies and women’s rights in China to identify key actors and topics for a seminar series, symposium, public outreach and documentation, and dissemination process related to Beijing + 20. The project aims to document and map the events and impact of the conference on the Chinese Women’s Movement, identify and quantify continuing gaps, examine how new processes of globalization have aided or created new challenges for women’s rights in China, and summarize strategies gleaned from the yearlong discussions and activities for building intergenerational alliances for post 2015 actions.  The Research Assistant will be expected to support the mapping and desk research and related coordination work conducted in China under the Center’s supervision.

More information

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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Chinese homeowners’ participation in policymaking

Jiang, Yihong ( 2013 ). Altering the rules : Chinese homeowners’ participation in policymaking. Journal Of Current Chinese Affairs, 42(3), pp. 121-148. [Retrieved January 17, 2014, from http://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/giga/jcca/article/view/672]

This study looks at Chinese homeowners’ participation in policymaking. Drawing on evidence from Guangzhou and Beijing, it shows that various organised homeowner activists have moved upstream in the policy process and have begun to push beyond policy implementation into the domain of agenda setting and “rule-making”. These advocates display rights-conscious patterns of behaviour that are closer to that of interest or lobby groups than to the typical repertoire of Chinese contentious citizens. The study suggests that this kind of political participation is on the rise amongst Chinese homeowner activists. This result complements and extends other recent findings that suggest the Chinese policy process is gradually opening up. Such a trend could have significant implications and calls for more research in different domains of state-society relations.

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Monique Abud

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

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Call for Applications

Call for Applications: CEFC Researcher and director of the Sino-French Academic Center (based in Beijing)

The French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC) invites applications for a Researcher position, based in Beijing, as director of the Sino-French Academic Center (two-year expatriation contract, renewable once). Applicants must hold a PhD in the humanities or social sciences and be confirmed academics with a strong research track record on contemporary China.

Start date from 2 May 2014.

How to Apply

The position is restricted to citizens of member countries of the European Union, preferably holding an academic or research position.

Details and online application can be found on the website of the French ministry of Foreign and European affairs: Position no.001520. You can also download the description of the position here.

Candidates must use the appropriate form downloadable here and follow the instructions it contains (do not use the online form).

The research project submitted by the applicant should contain a brief outline of collaborative activities planned at the CFC Beijing.

Applicants who have already applied to the Researcher position at the CEFC Hong Kong must submit a new application if they wish to apply for the Beijing position.


Alfred Aroquiame – aaroquiame@cefc.com.hk.

Deadline for the application

10 February 2014

More information on the website of the CEFC and the CFC.


  • It is preferable to fill out the application form in French, but acceptable to use English.
  • Short-listed candidates will be notified of an interview date in Paris (travel costs at their own expense).
  • It is preferable to have some working knowledge of French, but motivated candidates committed to improving their French language will be considered.


Appel à candidatures : poste de chercheur au CEFC-directeur du Centre franco-chinois (Pékin)

Le Centre d’études français sur la Chine contemporaine (UMIFRE 18, MAEE-CNRS) recrute un chercheur sur contrat d’expatriation (2 ans renouvelable une fois). Les candidats doivent être titulaires d’une thèse en sciences humaines et sociales, et spécialistes de la Chine contemporaine.

Prise de fonction à partir du 2 mai 2014.

Comment Candidater

Détails et candidature en ligne sur le site Transparence du ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes : Emploi no. 001520.

Vous pouvez également télécharger ici la fiche descriptive du poste.

Ce poste est destiné prioritairement à des enseignants-chercheurs ou des chercheurs confirmés, français ou de l’Union européenne, titulaires de l’enseignement supérieur.

Les candidats doivent utiliser le formulaire approprié et suivre les instructions qui y figurent (ne pas remplir le formulaire en ligne sur le site de la Transparence) : formulaire_chercheur_2013

Le projet de recherche devra comporter un bref aperçu des activités collectives que le candidat se propose de mener au CFC Pékin.

Attention : les candidats ayant déposé un dossier pour le poste de chercheur au CEFC Hong Kong doivent déposer un nouveau dossier s’ils souhaitent également postuler au poste de chercheur-directeur du CFC Pékin.


Alfred Aroquiame : aaroquiame@cefc.com.hk.

Date limite d’envoi du dossier de candidature

10 février 2014

Plus d’informations sont disponibles sur le site du CEFC et du CFC.

Aurélia Martin

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

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Beijing’s low-wage migrants: hikers in the urbanisation and growth process

Liu, R., Wong, T.-C. and Liu, S. (2013), Low-wage migrants in northwestern Beijing, China: The hikers in the urbanisation and growth process. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 54:3, pp. 352–371. doi: 10.1111/apv.12029


In the post-Mao era from the 1980s, market reforms have seen profit-led neoliberal forces being introduced into China’s urban spatial movements. In supporting such movements, labour mobility is allowed but the hukou system has been retained to prevent urban informality and slum formation and to control municipal public expenses. Without residency permits granted by the host cities, low-wage rural migrants enjoy little ‘right to the city’ and are deprived of local welfare and benefits. They often become ‘drifting tenants’, frequently driven by urban renewal, rising rentals and change of jobs. This study examines the spatial effect of causes (residency system) and consequences (frequent shifts in residence) experienced by low-skilled and low-wage migrants. A survey was conducted from February to mid-April 2011 in northwestern Beijing’s Great Zhongguancun area which shows and the marginalised state of displaced migrant tenants. This includes their adaptations to change, the pattern, causes and history of their intra-city mobility.


Monique Abud

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

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Beijing’s rise as a global city

Wang, Feng (2013) Beijing as a globally fluent city. Washington, DC : Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy & Global Cities Initiative. 20 p. (accessed 28 October 2013)

Beijing is without any doubt already a global city. A symbol of China’s emergence as a global power, Beijing ranks among the world’s most influential cities. Beijing has developed into an important global city in a relatively short period of time. Beijing has benefited from efforts by the Chinese government and Beijing’s municipal government to elevate the city’s international reputation, and from Beijing’s legacy and position as China’s political and cultural center. There has also been massive investment in infrastructure to support business and innovation activities and to enhance Beijing’s global connectivity. However, Beijing’s rise as a global city is still incomplete.

Beijing’s global influence in terms of economic competitiveness and financial interconnectedness still do not measure up to the top cities in the world. In Beijing as a Globally Fluent City, Feng Wang examines four key questions on Beijing’s rise towards becoming a top tier global city:

  1. What kind of city does Beijing aspire to be?
  2. How can Beijing improve its governance?
  3. What does it take to build a more vibrant economy?
  4. How can Beijing’s global identity be further enhanced?
  • Wang Feng (Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy)

Monique Abud

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

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Car parking in China

Eeckhoff, Insa (12 August 2013). Does Beijing really need 2.5 million parking lots? GIZ China Transport Blog. (accessed 28 September 2013) [GIZ=Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit]

Parking problems are always a hot topic among Beijingers. Cruising around for a long time until you find a parking space is a daily experience for inhabitants of the Chinese capital. In Beijing you may observe pedestrians and cyclists being forced to transit along the motor lane because the cycling lane or side walk is being occupied by parked vehicles. However, can the perceived parking problem be affiliated to a parking slot shortage? Does Beijing need 2.5 Million Parking lots? It occurs quite similar to the problem with traffic congestion in Beijing. Does Beijing continuously build new roads to meet the continuously growing transport demand? Maybe not. New roads and parking spaces can also trigger new demand. Hence, new parking facilities can possibly induce more traffic.

Read more on GIZ China Transport Blog

Au, Vincent (2012). Car parking in China : issues and solutions. In Sustainable Transportation Systems, éd. Yong Bai [et al]. Reston : American Society of Civil Engineers,  p. 130-137. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/9780784412299.0016 (accessed 28 September 2013)

Car-parking has always been an unresolved issue in most municipal cities in China. Despite efforts by officials of the relevant government departments to put forth new policies and launch various solution proposals from time to time; followed by aggressive actions in the implementation of improvement action plans, their work seldom yield tangible/visible outcome, and the problem remains. This paper aims to examine what has gone wrong in the government policies and actions, and to make suggestions to resolve the long-standing entangled issues of car-parking in municipal cities in China.

Read more on ASCE Library

Wang, Rui and Yuan, Quan (2013) Parking practices and policies under rapid motorization : the case of China. Transport Policy, 30, p. 109–116 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tranpol.2013.08.006 (accessed 28 September 2013)

With the rapid motorization in China, parking has become increasingly difficult and costly for automobile users. However, the effects of parking on the society go far beyond vehicle owners’ costs. To inform decision makers in China and cities in similar motorizing societies, this study describes the market and policy trends of automobile parking in Chinese cities. Available data show that the gap between supply and demand in parking has enlarged, while most city governments have little experience and are institutionally unprepared for the proper planning, regulation, and management of parking. International experience and the Chinese problems call for a reform in urban parking management in order to promote sustainable urban transportation and maximize social welfare. This paper offers policy and planning suggestions regarding on- and off-street parking.

Read more on ScienceDirect


Monique Abud

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

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