This paper draws on Christopher McNallyâ€™s (2012) concept of â€˜Sino-capitalismâ€™ to analyse the complex set of forces that have shaped Chinaâ€™s urbanisation experience to date, as a prelude to understanding the challenges facing the central government as it embarks on its â€˜National New-type Urbanisation Planâ€™ for 2014-2020, which places urbanisation at the centre of Chinaâ€™s modernisation drive and its ongoing efforts to rebalance the economy towards domestic demand. It is clear that some aspects of Chinaâ€™s urbanisation process have been â€˜top down and state ledâ€™, as reflected in the central governmentâ€™s (partial) control over rural-to-urban population movements via the hukou system of household registration and its (partial) control over urban land expansion via state ownership of all urban land â€" two topics that receive much attention in the new (top-down) Plan itself. Meanwhile, some aspects of the process have been â€˜bottom up and market ledâ€™, as in the rapidly industrialising and urbanising province of Zhejiang, where private entrepreneurialism has been the dominant source of industrial clustering at the village- and town-levels, many of these areas becoming urban as a result. Most of Chinaâ€™s urbanisation process, however, has been underpinned by diverse and complex interactions between local governments with private entrepreneurs, government-connected and foreign-funded enterprises, and local and migrant workers. These interactions have furthermore exhibited substantial regional variations, as seen in Chung and Ungerâ€™s (2013) â€˜Guangdong model of urbanisationâ€™ and â€˜Coordinated urban-rural development planningâ€™ in Chengdu (Ye, LeGates and Qin, 2013). Above all else, this paper emphasises the fact that Chinaâ€™s urbanization process in the decades ahead, as in the decades passed, will not be determined by market forces alone.
About the Speaker
Jane Golley is an Associate Director of the Australian Centre on China in the World, ANU. After studying economics and Japanese at the ANU, she joined the Asia Section of the Australian Commonwealth Treasury, before spending eight years in Oxford completing her Mphil and Dphil and teaching undergraduate economics. She returned to the ANU in 2003, and has since published research on a wide range of Chinese development issues relating to industrial agglomeration and regional policy; demographic change and economic growth; rural-urban inequalities in education, urban household consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, â€˜greenâ€™ productivity growth, and â€˜Socialism with Chinese characteristicsâ€™.
After the Seminar
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The China Seminar Series is sponsored by the China Institute, with the Australian Centre on China in the World and the College of Asia & the Pacific.