Green Shoots of Revival: Political Leadership and the Differentiation of Space in a “Zero Pollution Village” in Rural Zhejiang, China Neil Munro, Nai Rui Chng and Lu Chen, 20 October 2021, 4pm-5:30pm BST
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Abstract: This paper uses a case study of a “Zero Pollution Village” (ZPV) initiative in rural Zhejiang, China, to illustrate how the Chinese state achieves its goals at different scales by harnessing the differentiation of space and political leadership in ways consistent with the principles of uneven and combined development (UCD). The ostensible goal of the initiative is to contribute to revitalisation of this village through improved solid waste management and ecotourism. For the officials sponsoring it, an underlying goal is to create a model suitable for replication elsewhere in the province. For the village residents and the returned, well-to-do rural residents, known as “country sages” who lead the initiative, the goal is to maximise returns on human, natural, social, and material capital at the scale of the village and household. The case shows how UCD can become a driver of both positive and negative changes which are manipulated by the state in pursuit of hybrid capitalist-socialist development. The research is based on interviews, document analysis and images gathered during a research visit in December 2019.
Neil Munro holds a BA (combined honours) in Chinese and Russian (Queensland, 1990) and a PhD in public policy from University of Strathclyde (2004). His research focuses on governance in post-communist and developing societies. He has published on a wide range of themes ranging from acceptance of bureaucratic norms through national identity, public participation, regime legitimacy, trust and social cohesion. He has held research positions at the Universities of Strathclyde and Aberdeen and is currently Senior Lecturer in Chinese Politics at the University of Glasgow.
The Scottish Centre for China Research Seminar Programme gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the MacFie Bequest.
First published: 11 February 2021