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.
Fu, Qiang and Lin, Nan (2013) The weaknesses of civic territorial organizations : civic engagement and homeowners associations in urban China. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Prepublished September, 3, 2013. DOI: 10.1111/1468-2427.12080
China’s massive transformation in urban governance, which is characterized by breaking the link between workplace and residence and consolidating state territorial agencies at the grassroots level, has profound implications for urban residents. While community building is employed as a deliberate (top-down) approach to restore a governable urban society, the establishment, development and problems of bottom-up civic territorial organizations — homeowners associations — are garnering increased attention from academia. Based on field research conducted in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Meizhou in Guangdong Province from 2009 to 2011, we show that civic engagement, a necessary condition for the development of homeowners associations, is inadequate across urban communities. To understand why, we identified and analyzed three elements — lack of awareness of partitioned property ownership, the hidden costs of civic engagement and deficiency in social capital — as factors that impede civic engagement across urban communities. These elements also provide yardsticks for scholars to evaluate why, whether and how homeowners (dis-)engage from neighborhood affairs.
Arup, Tom. (2013) Where there’s smoke there’s China. The Age World, 8 May (accessed 7 June 2013).
As a former top diplomat in Beijing, and after three decades of professional and personal engagement with the country, Professor Ross Garnaut is no stranger to China.
In January, the respected economist and former Labor climate policy tsar found himself in Beijing again, this time to open a workshop hosted in part by China’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission.
Gathered were a group of international policy wonks, including many Australians and local government officials. They met to discuss options for what some in the public debate deny is happening – the introduction of a national carbon price in China.
In just over a month China will begin a massive experiment in emissions trading when the first of seven regional pilot schemes kicks off (and which one day may develop into a national scheme).
The stakes are high. China emits one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gases. It is easily the world’s largest consumer of coal. In 2011 it released an estimated 9.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide – more than the US and India combined.
In his speech Garnaut painted a cautious, but encouraging, picture of where China stands on climate change.