School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences - Research Publications

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    What contributes to a higher degree of voluntarism in China's rural displacement programmes? Poverty Alleviation Resettlement as a case study
    Xue, T ; Wang, M ; Greve, B (Routledge, 2020-01-01)
    Though it has been an anti-poverty instrument in China since the 1980s, little scholarly attention has been paid to Poverty Alleviation Resettlement (PAR) as a subset of Development-induced Displacement and Resettlement (DIDR). The small number of studies raise questions about the rationale for PAR and the degree of voluntarism. This chapter aims to understand PAR’s voluntary nature in China by asking: (1) what is PAR and what are its characteristics? (2) How voluntary is it? (3) What factors contribute or hinder volition? To address these questions, the chapter delves into the practice of PAR between 2013 and 2015, drawing on 34 cases in the provinces of Shaanxi and Shanxi. The findings demonstrate that currently, even though it presents a relatively high degree of voluntarism compared to other resettlement projects, there remain problems with the nature of this voluntarism. To reduce poverty, PAR in China should foster full participation for the resettled by introducing institutional and supervisory mechanisms, and providing post-resettlement support.
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    Between Project and Region: The Challenges of Managing Water in Shandong Province After the South-North Water Transfer Project
    Chen, D ; Luo, Z ; Webber, M ; Rogers, S ; Rutherfurd, I ; Wang, M ; Finlayson, B ; Jiang, M ; Shi, C ; Zhang, W (WATER ALTERNATIVES ASSOC, 2020-02-01)
    This paper examines the challenges that a region of China is facing as it seeks to integrate a centrally planned, hierarchically determined water transfer project into its own water supply systems. Water from China's South-North Water Transfer Project (SNWTP) has been available in Shandong since 2013. How has this province been managing the integration of SNWTP water into its water supply plans, and what challenges is it facing in the process? This paper demonstrates that Shandongʼs planners consistently overestimated future demand for water; this, together with the threats posed by reduced flows in the Yellow River, encouraged the Shandong government to support the building of the SNWTP. However, between the genesis of the plans for the SNWTP and its construction, the supply from the Yellow River became more reliable and the engineering systems and the efficiency of water use in Shandong Province itself has improved. As a result, by the time the SNWTP water became available, the province had little pressing need for it. Besides this reduced demand for SNWTP water, there have been difficulties in managing delivery of, and payment for, water within the province. These difficulties include unfinished local auxiliary projects that connect cities to the main canal, high water prices, conflict and lack of coordination among stakeholders, and ambiguous management policies. The result is that in 2016, on average, cities used less than 10% of their allocated quota of SNWTP water, while seven cities used none of their quota. The story of the SNWTP in Shandong is that of a centralised, hierarchically planned, fixed infrastructure with its deterministic projections coming into conflict with the fluidity of water demand and local political circumstances.
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    The over-cascading system of cadre evaluation and China's authoritarian resilience
    Qi, R ; Shi, C ; Wang, M (SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2020-05-27)
    China’s cadre evaluation system – the personnel management system used to assess the performance of government officials in the party-state – is considered an important tool for upper-level governments to supervise and regulate lower-level agents. This system is one of the key factors contributing to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) authoritarian resilience. Deficiencies of this system are exemplified by the ‘blind pursuit of GDP’, selective implementation, gaming, collusion, and data fabrication. The CCP has been reforming this system to strengthen its monitoring and political control over local government cadres, especially at the county level, and it is a crucial component in the step-by-step hierarchical power structure. While current literature focuses largely on the assessment content of such reform, this article pays specific attention to the changes in the cascading evaluation structure of province to prefecture to county. The article identifies a new dynamic of ‘over-cascading’ whereby provincial governments bypass prefectural governments and directly evaluate county officials, resulting in the co-existence of prefecture-county and province-county evaluations. This article also explores the functioning mechanism of this dual structure and argues that this structural change in the cadre evaluation system is breaking the traditional hierarchical governance structure and enhancing authoritarian resilience of the CCP because it provides a new route for over-cascading governance between provincial and county governments. This research contributes to the conceptualization of the over-cascading governing structure of the CCP and fills gaps in the literature on structural changes in China’s cadre evaluation system.
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    Reconfiguration of state-society relations: The making of uncompromising nail households in urban housing demolition and relocation in Dalian, China
    Li, C ; Wang, MY ; Day, J (SAGE Publications, 2021-06-01)
    Based on an ongoing housing demolition and relocation project in Dalian, this article describes uncompromising nail households, who have resisted resettlement through intractable conflict and prolonged bargaining. Building upon a state–society approach, this article reveals a new relationship between state, society and governance in the institutional background of neoliberal urbanism in China. Uncompromising nail households within this transforming governance system are able to individually equip and maintain their resistance. The article identifies heterogeneous uncompromising nail households: ‘hard’, who maintain a firm stance throughout the bargaining process; and ‘hardened’, who increase resistance during the process of bargaining. These findings contribute to understanding of the reconfiguration of state–society relations, and demonstrate significant contradictions between the central and local states in the dynamics of change in neoliberal urbanism in China.
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    The hidden mechanism of chemical fertiliser overuse in rural China
    Zhang, Y ; Long, H ; Wang, MY ; Li, Y ; Ma, L ; Chen, K ; Zheng, Y ; Jiang, T (PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2020-08-01)
    A comprehensive understanding of the reasons for over-fertilisation is critical to agro-environment sustainability, especially for the fast-growing farming areas under urbanisation. Previous studies are more quantitatively biased and in most cases, merely focus on demographical, economic and political factors whilst excluding in-depth qualitative and holistic investigation. To address this gap, this paper attempts to construct a conceptual framework to investigate the hidden mechanism of chemical fertiliser overuse through an empirical study in the Dancheng county of China. Such a framework is based on Kollmuss and Agyeman (2002), and Blake's (1999) works, but incorporates demographical factors and external barriers for explaining the awareness-behaviour gap. Results indicate that environmental awareness is not necessarily related with chemical fertiliser overuse as the reasons for farmers' inappropriate behaviours are embedded within an intricate network of economic, social-cultural and policy-influenced factors incorporating labour and time constraints, risk-averse decisions, intergenerational division, farm size, attachment to instant gratification, land attachment, peer pressure, distortion of agricultural and land use policies, which has roots in the agricultural marginalisation and urban-rural dichotomy. Based on the results, policy recommendations are provided.
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    Producing a Chinese hydrosocial territory: A river of clean water flows north from Danjiangkou
    Rogers, S ; Wang, M (SAGE Publications, 2020-11)
    Hydrosocial territories are produced not just through concrete water infrastructure, but through flows of people, water, money, and ideas at multiple scales. As part of China’s South–North Water Transfer Project, water drawn from the distant Danjiangkou Reservoir now supplies the megacities of Beijing and Tianjin with the majority of their drinking water. To provide this new service – supplying drinking water of sufficient quality and quantity – the Reservoir and its upper reaches are in the midst of socio-economic and ecological transformations. In this article, we outline the tools being mobilised to send a river of clean water north, including administrative interventions, displacement, and discursive imaginings. We argue that what is being attempted is a wholesale reorganisation that marginalises local territorialities, reflects China’s particular governing rationalities and practices, and highlights new spatialities of water governance. Our analysis of the remaking of Danjiangkou pushes hydropolitical scholarship to more precisely define the geographies of power in hydrosocial territories.
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    Alternative water supply solutions: China's South-to-North-water-diversion in Jinan
    Liu, Y ; Wang, M ; Webber, M ; Zhou, C ; Zhang, W (ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2020-12-15)
    Inter-basin water transfers are intended to have a positive impact on the development of a region, but are always accompanied by huge energy consumption. The feasibility and effectiveness of water transfer projects have not yet been clearly evaluated, especially in the light of their energy consumption and effects on social development. This paper develops a method that combines life cycle approach and system dynamic model to reveal the effectiveness of different water supply alternatives (transferred water, reclaimed wastewater and rainwater harvesting) when they are all constrained to consume equal energy. This approach is applied to the case of Jinan city in Shandong province, China, the main water-receiving city on the Eastern Route of the South-to-North Water Transfer Project (ER-SNWTP). The results show that in normal years, Jinan's reclaimed water and rainwater harvesting supply are effective replacements for transferred water under the constraints of equal energy consumption and capital costs; even in dry years these two alternatives still play an important role. The results of this study indicate the relative effectiveness of reclaimed water and rainwater harvesting in supplying urban water while conserving energy and capital.
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    Targeted Poverty Alleviation in China: A Typology of Official-Household Relations
    Davie, G ; Wang, M ; Rogers, S ; Li, J (SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2021-07-01)
    ‘Targeted Poverty Alleviation’ (TPA) is the Chinese government’s latest anti-poverty policy, aiming to lift the remaining 70 million Chinese citizens above the poverty line by 2020. The TPA scheme is novel in that every impoverished household is paired one-on-one with a local government official, who then bears responsibility for the eradication of their poverty. Despite being at the core of TPA, this pairing mechanism has received little academic attention. Based on an empirical case study of ten households across two villages in rural Shaanxi Province, China, this article aims to investigate this pairing mechanism at the micro level and its outcomes for poverty alleviation, in order to better understand how the notion of ‘precision’ is being realized through TPA. Two distinct traits that influence the TPA pairing system emerged: first, the ranking of the assigned local official is important in that higher-ranked officials have greater social and financial resources at their disposal, bringing about enhanced poverty alleviation outcomes for their households compared with lower-ranked officials. Secondly, the willingness and ability of impoverished households to actively participate in their poverty alleviation programme is beneficial within the TPA scheme, achieving better outcomes in the long-term compared with households who are passive receivers. TPA has the potential to work effectively and to achieve China’s poverty reduction goals; however, our analysis shows that some pairing mechanisms are more effective in achieving poverty alleviation goals than others.
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    Environmental justice and park accessibility in urban China: Evidence from Shanghai
    Wang, C ; Li, C ; Wang, M ; Yang, S ; Wang, L (WILEY, 2021-07-13)
    This article applies the pluralistic concept of environmental justice to the issue of park accessibility between people across different socioeconomic strata in the metropolitan region of Shanghai. Data were obtained from China's 2000 and 2010 population census, Shanghai Landscaping and City Appearance Administrative Bureau, semi-structured interviews and secondary sources. The article finds significant environmental injustice between foreign citizens and Chinese citizens (including people from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan and mainland people with and without Shanghai hukou) and between blue collar, white collar and wealthy white collar people from distributive, recognition, participatory and procedural justice perspectives. The article then discusses why such injustice is the result of urban China's unique authoritarian mode of governance, power structure, neoliberal practice and globalisation development. The findings offer insights into the development of the concept of environmental justice in the Chinese context and the country's objective to build an impartial society.
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    Inside-out: Chinese academic assessments of large-scale water infrastructure
    Webber, M ; Han, X ; Rogers, S ; Wang, M ; Jiang, H ; Zhang, W ; Barnett, J ; Zhen, N (WILEY, 2021-09-04)
    Little is known in the international academic community about Chinese-language research on water management. To remedy this deficit, this paper reviews current mainland Chinese understandings of the role of large-scale water infrastructures as tools of water resources management. We reviewed 461 papers published in mainland Chinese journals by Chinese scholars. This review suggests that the dominant approach to water management reflects the confines of government priorities—large-scale, concrete-heavy, infrastructure-based means of moving water around the country so as to meet demands and stimulate economic growth. Suppression of critical voices means that infrastructure is generally rendered apolitical: the critiques are about practical issues, such as technological, managerial, or administrative problems. There are exceptions to this characterization that adopt more critical frames; however, they reflect on water management elsewhere or in the past rather than on contemporary China. While these more critical papers are interesting and important contributions to our understanding of the politics of hydraulic infrastructures, the literature as a whole says little about the politics of infrastructure in China now. In effect, much of the literature in Chinese on water management in China simply acts as an arm of a machine—a network of corporations, universities, international institutions, and arms of the government, together tasked with identifying and framing what are water management issues, formulating standardized procedures for tackling those issues, and then constructing solutions to them. This article is categorized under: Engineering Water > Planning Water Human Water > Water Governance.