Tag Archives: China

China and its migrants by Chloé Froissart

Chloé Froissart (2013) China and its migrants. Presses universitaires de Rennes. coll. Res Publica.

China’s economic reforms have triggered the greatest rural exodus in world history, which now presents one of the major challenges the Chinese regime must face. While binding the Party to exercise the rule of law, the opening up of the market has also created a new social class, migrant workers, seemingly second-class citizens in the cities of their own country.

This book shows how the role of migrants in society has evolved and how this evolution has redefined Chinese citizenship, without calling into question the principals which support the Party’s dominance. By combining an analysis of public politics to a social and political approach focused on society’s resistance, Froissart brings to light the dynamics and tensions which underlie the Chinese regime’s transformation.

Based on five years of field studies, this book offers an unprecedented insight into the manner in which the Party has been able to adapt itself to the changes arising since the launch of the reforms and find its own way to modernity.

This book was developed from Chloé Froissart’s prize winning doctoral thesis.

Chloé Froissart will be presenting her book at several venues in November. She will make an appearance:

She has also given an interview, in French, to the radio station RCF in two parts, aired November 12 and 13, which will be available on podcast on their website.

Aurélia Martin

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

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UrbaChina working paper series launched

The UrbaChina consortium has prepared a collection of working papers available on open access at Hal (the French national open archive for academic documents). Our working paper series disseminates research relevant to the different aspects of the urbanisation in China.

By publishing these working papers, the UrbaChina consortium hopes to stimulate discussion and contribute to the advancement of urban studies in China.

The first working paper is entitled “Urbanisation in China: The impact of the tax-sharing system and the definitions of new strategies“. 

This working paper was edited by five members of UrbaChina: Miguel Elosua (CNRS), François Gipouloux (CNRS), Sébastien Goulard (CNRS), Li Shantong (DRC) and Ni Pengfei (CASS-IFTE)

The working paper no.1 examines the evolution of Chinese cities and the challenges they are currently facing. It aims to identify possible patterns of urbanisation in the next forty years.
The first part analyses the transformation of Chinese cities as a consequence of the economic policies implemented within the country. The authors argue that the economic reform has accelerated China’s urbanisation. Other factors of this massive urbanisation include the improvement of transport infrastructures and the transformation of China’s industries.
The reform of the tax system between central and local authorities in 1994 is also examined, and its consequences on urbanisation, and its limitations.
Based on this analysis, the second part introduces the possible strategies China may adopt for the development of its cities. The objective of these policies will be mainly to control the path of urbanisation to prevent the emergence of super large city and encourage the creation of city networks. Future urban policies will also need to tackle such issues as rural flight and environment protection.

ELOSUA, M., GIPOULOUX, F., GOULARD, S., LI, S. and NI, P. (2013) Urbanisation in China: The impact of the tax-sharing system and the definitions of new strategies. UrbaChina working paper no.1 November 2013 http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00903218

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

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Urban infrastructure governance and urban growth

Call for paper, AAG 2014: Urban Infrastructure Governance and Urban Growth

 Urban infrastructure (e.g. electricity supply, water supply, transportation, communication, etc.) is at the very heart of economic and social development of a city. It provides the foundation for virtually all modern-day economic activity, constitutes a major economic sector in its own right, and contributes importantly to raising living standards and the quality of life. With the continuously expanding urban population and land use, governments are confronted with new challenges for planning & governance of urban infrastructure provision. Meanwhile, many cities, both in China and West, are trying to maintain continuous urban growth by providing more and better urban infrastructure. The majority of China’s cities, for example, are building industrial parks to attract internal and external investments.

The aim of this session is to encourage submissions that address any issues related with urban infrastructure planning & governance and the role it plays in urban growth in China and the West. Both theoretical and empirical research contributions are welcome.

Please e-mail the abstract and key words with your expression of intent to Rongxu Qiu or Yin Yang by November 19th, 2013.


Yin Yang, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. Email:  yin.yang@ouce.ox.ac.uk

Rongxu Qiu,Department of Geography, University of Lethbridge. Email: rongxu.qiu@uleth.ca


October 7th, 2013: Call for papers.

October 23rd, 2013: You can benefit from a reduced registration fee if you register for the conference prior to Oct 23 (you can submit your abstract later).
November 19th, 2013: Abstract submission and expression of intent to session organizers.
November 22nd, 2013: Session finalization.
December 1st, 2013: Final abstract submission to AAG, via www.aag.org.
December 3rd, 2013: AAG registration deadline. Sessions submitted to AAG for approval.
April 8th -12th, 2014: AAG meeting, Tampa Bay, Florida, USA.

More infomamtion at the AAG annual meeting webpage

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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The Swedish production of sustainable urban imaginaries in China

Anna Hult, Phd, (2013)  The Swedish production of sustainable urban imaginaries in China, Candidate Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. (accessed 25 July 2013)


Sweden and the broader region of Scandinavia have been widely praised for their efforts to develop and promote models of sustainability for the rest of the world to follow. Swedish international architecture and urban planning firms are driven by the advantage of being able to brand their projects as “Sustainable and Scandinavian”. In this sense, ‘the sustainable city’ has become a Swedish service to export. In 2007, the Swedish Trade Council initiated a marketing platform for eco-profiled companies under the name of “SymbioCity” in order to strengthen a coherent image of Swedish sustainable urban development. This paper seeks to explore the production of imaginaries at play in the performance of “SymbioCity”. It especially addresses the way in which notions of progress and a better city-life was presented to Chinese audiences in the Swedish pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010, which had the overall theme of “Better City, Better Life”. The Swedish pavilion is here regarded as a node in a wider network of Swedish export of
sustainable urban planning services. I argue that the imaginaries which Sweden produces through activities associated with the SymbioCity underlines a view which equivocates “progress” with the notion of “decoupling”.
In presenting an image of decoupling as a Swedish experience possible to transfer to China it also establishes views of progress as linear and space as static, which in turn enables
questions of equality and spatial segregation to belong to another dimension. Consequently, “the social” becomes the constitutive other. Instead, I argue that we need imaginaries of better city-life based on an understanding of space as relational, which does not only challenge the concept of decoupling, but also of ”the social”. This paper aims to highlight the interests of “fact-builders” and open up some “black boxes” to make space for generative controversies of how to reconsider ways in which imaginaries are to be constructed, established, circulated and reformed.

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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Energy efficiency policies in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam

Loïc Chappoz, Bernard Laponche, Global Chance. April 2013. Les politiques d’efficacité énergétique en Chine, Inde, Indonésie, Thaïlande et Vietnam. Document de travail n° 133. http://www.afd.fr/home/recherche/actualites-publications-rch?actuCtnId=97876 [Accessed 4 July 2013]

Most reports dealing with energy efficiency policies concentrate/focus on measures established by OECD countries; this could give the impression that only rich countries make any efforts on this issue. On the contrary: emerging countries just like the poorest developing countries, have understood that efficient energy is essential to their economic development, for a environment friendly development. Amongst these countries China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have developed – some even for several decades – some interesting policies. The AFD is particularly active in these countries.

This report describes the current demand in total energy in these countries as well as recent trends. It gives details of policies and measures established in terms of energy end-use efficiency.

Download the article (in French)

Aurélia Martin

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

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China’s Great Uprooting: Moving 250 Million Into Cities

“It’s almost like another Great Leap Forward,” says Gao Yu, China country director for the Landesa Rural Development Institute, in Seattle. Unsustainable urbanization practices—such as current large-scale programs to move farmers into apartments in towers with often generous but short term compensation—must be urgently addressed by Chinese leadership. The Chinese government has been pledging a comprehensive urbanization plan for more than two years now. The plan—which is supposed to include provisions that will give ex-farmers a permanent stream of income from the land they lost, among other measures—was scheduled for presentation at the National People’s Congress last March, but various concerns have delayed a full disclosure. Its formal presentation is now scheduled for the fall.


Luis Balula

Ph.D. Urban Planning and Public Policy (Rutgers University, New Jersey); M.Sc. Urban Affairs (Boston University); Architect (Technical University of Lisbon). Urban and regional planning consultant. Research fellow at Instituto de Ciencias Sociais – Universidade de Lisboa.

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Gardens of wisdom in China and Japan by Yolaine Escande

jardins-de-sagesse-3953482-250-400Yolaine Escande (2013), Jardins de sagesse en Chine et au Japon, Paris, éditions du Seuil, 144 p.

Chinese and Japanese gardens are the ultimate places of wisdom, spaces of meditation, self-cultivation as well as openness to the world. Just as wisdom is described as a journey, the garden, as a path physical, sensory and spiritual all at once that combines contemplation and travelling, guides man towards a state of inner availability and non-attachment.

This illustrated book by Yolaine Escande explores the significance of Chinese and Japanese gardens as paths towards wisdom, a wisdom which is truly the heart of the garden. With the guidance of Chinese and Japanese philosophy, Escande discusses the historic and contemporary relationship people have with these gardens: the simultaneous self-containment and openness of this stationary path, the transience found in the predominant presence of rocks in these gardens (a far more important feature than in Western gardens), the worthlessness of the trees and how these embody the wise man and his moral values, and the powerful aesthetics of crudeness and simplicity, the expression of the natural in opposition to the artificial. Throughout, the beautiful original images, photographs and paintings alike, provide a visual understanding of the concepts considered within the text.

  • Yolaine Escande, a director of research at the CNRS (CRAL, CNRS-EHESS) is a sinologist, a specialist of painting and art of gardens in China. She has published several books on Chinese art (L’Art en Chine – La résonance intérieure (Hermann, 2001), Traités chinois de peinture et de calligraphie (Klincksieck, 2010).

Aurélia Martin

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

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EDF in China 1983-2011

9423f7cd0856ef81126d9e60085471fe-mediumFelix Torres, avec la collaboration de Boris Dänzer-Kantof (December 2011),  Le chemin partagé  : une histoire d’EDF en Chine (1983-2011) (The shared path. An EDF history in China 1983-2011),Paris :  François Bourin, 416 p.  ISBN : 978-2-84941-247-3

A history of EDF’s experience in China over the course of three decades, from nuclear to hydraulic, from thermal generation to cooperative studies and projects of all kinds.

Contents of the book

  • Choosing to build a Western nuclear power station in Guangdong (1978-1985)
  • Building and launching Daya Bay (1986-1994)
  • Helping China to equip itself (1984-2000)
  • EDF, partner to the Chinese electrical system reform (1984-2000)
  • Shandong, Guangxi : becoming an investor and operator in China (1993-2005)
  • From Daya Bay to Ling Ao (1995-2005)
  • China remains the world’s largest electricty market (2000-2005)
  • China helps EDF’s progress (2006-2010)

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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Gearing up for China’s urban billion

This Policy Spotlight is organised within the framework of the Europe-China Forum, a joint initiative of Friends of Europe and the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union, and with media partner Europe’s World.

The world is watching closely as China’s cities get big, bigger, biggest. China’s rapid urbanisation is unprecedented in human history: by 2030, the country’s urban population will reach 1 billion – roughly one in every eight people in the world. Not surprisingly, China’s new leaders have put urbanisation at the top of their priorities. But their task is not easy, with the country’s new urban dwellers demanding not only cleaner air but also better housing, sanitation, mobility, health, education and recreational facilities. Tom Miller, Managing Editor at GK Dragonomics and author of the book “China’s Urban Billion”, will be sharing his insights on China’s urbanisation challenge.
Please visit the event page for the full program and latest updates from Friends of Europe.


  • Brussels


  • 23 April, 2013


  • 12.30 p.m to 2 p.m


  • To register, please got to the Registration section of the event page.
  • You will receive a confirmation of your registration prior to the event, including further logistical details. In the meantime, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at the following number: +32 2 8939824.

Aurélia Martin

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

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China’s workers and peasants: changing class identities

China’s workers and peasants : changing class identities (2012). Ed.by Beatriz Carrillo and David S. G. Goodman. Cheltenham : Edward Elgar Publishing. 176 p. (CSC China in Perspective). ISBN: 978-1781005729

This book explores three decades of economic change in China and the consequent transformation of class relations and class-consciousness in villages and in the urban workplace. The contributors illustrate how the development of the urban economic environment has led to changes in the urban working class, through an exploration of the workplace experiences of rural migrant workers, and of the plight of the old working class in the state owned sector. They address questions on the extent to which migrant workers have become a new working class, are absorbed into the old working class, or simply remain as migrant workers. Changes in class relations in villages in the urban periphery – where the urbanization drive and in-migration has lead to a new local politics of class differentiation – are also raised.


  • Introduction: the sociopolitical challenge of economic change / Beatriz Carrillo and David S.G. Goodman
  • Status groups and classes in a Chinese village/ Jonathan Unger
  • Awakening the god of earth / Luigi Tomba
  • The making and re-making of the working class in South China / Parry P. Leung and Alvin Y. So
  • Chinese migrant workers / Anita Chan and Kaxton Siu
  • Industrial restructuring and class transformation in China / Joel Andreas
  • Working-class cultural spaces / Jack Linchuan Qiu and Hongzhe Wang.

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Monique Abud

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

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Dreaming in Chinese: accountable development

Barbara L. Bezdek (2012). Dreaming in Chinese: accountable development. Maryland journal of international law 27, 48-81.

Economic life in the PRC today is marked by rapid privatization, marketization, and urbanization. This triad of forces effects a profound restructuring of China’s urban spaces and is giving rise to new forms of private, voluntary associations of citizens such as neighborhood campaigns of resistance to urban redevelopment. Civil society theory ascribes to such organizations outside of state control, the potential to constrain government officials by enabling citizens to express their collective interests more effectively, and to resist government encroachment more powerfully than they otherwise could. Because resort to China’s courts has produced little protection for citizens’ formal legal rights in the event of forced demolition, relocation, and compensation, urban homeowners have resorted to extra-legal modes of resistance including protests, petitions, and confrontations – some of them deadly. This article assesses the potential to construct an ‘accountable development’ frame as a set of strategies to channel resentment and resistance into bargained-for development agreements – situations between the market and the state, neither anti-regimist nor stymied by the ‘turn from law.’


Monique Abud

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

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The rapid march towards urbanisation

Posted by Kate Mackenzie on Aug 30 14:09.

In our first post in this series, we examined the widely-held belief that China’s steel demand will continue to rise at a rapid rate. FT Alphaville, along with others, contend that such forecasts are on shaky ground. This is, in part, because of the dubiousness of one of the underlying assumptions: that China will rapidly urbanise more of its population. (Here’s a very recent example of this argument, from Stephen Roach.)

The proportion Chinese living in urban areas just passed the 50 per cent mark in the past year but, the story goes, there is more to come. This will in turn mean more industrialisation, more modernisation, a bigger and consuming middle class and of course more GDP growth. In other words:

[…] farmers who once led simple, subsistence-level lives now become factory and service workers in the city, reside in apartments furnished with appliances, occasionally eat out, and perhaps even send their kids to college. In the process, self-sufficient rural households are transformed into workers receiving higher wages and participating in the commodity economy of consumption. As such, urbanization is as much an economic and social transformation as it is a spatial and demographic process.

Sounds great doesn’t it?

The above quote however comes from a paper by Kam Wing Chan in Eurasian Geography and Economics early this year. Chan is a professor of geography at the University of Washington, and he doesn’t agree that this is how things will continue to play out for China.