We are organising a series of events including workshops, seminars and conferences to gather thoughts, inspire research and disseminate outputs.
Online seminar 08/12/2022  The Making of “New citizens”: Landless Farmers and Urban Governance in China

On 8th December 2022, the ChinaUrban project hosted an online seminar to discuss landless farmers in China. Professor Beibei Tang was invited to present her research work entitled “The Making of “New citizens”: Landless Farmers and Urban Governance in China”. The event attracted 21 participants.

Prof. Tang’s talk
Prof. Tang ‘s talk

Prof. Tang situated this research in the context of urbanisation in China. As urbanisation in China is mainly implemented by the expropriation of land, landless farmers have increased. She aims to understand the role of the state in dealing with landless farmers. Especially, how the central government’s initiatives on the landless farmers’ integration into the urban economy have been carried out through local governance. 

Her research engaged with the literature on urbanisation and local state-building. This study goes beyond dichotomous interpretations of Chinese urbanisation as market-driven agglomeration or state-led urbanisation. Instead, it interrogates governance of everyday living in the neighbourhood and urban development strategies, together with city-region planning. 

She used qualitative methods to investigate landless farmers in Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP). Since 1994, T area has started land expropriation and relation according to the SIP urban development plan. The compensation package included monetary compensation and compensation housing. 

The local government mainly governs T neighbourhood through the establishment of two community shareholding cooperations. The first cooperation is called DJ Assets Management Company and the other one is called Lotus Housekeeping Company. The first cooperation is used to manage rural collective assets, while the other one is used to provide job opportunities to the landless farmers. Now the landless farmers are transforming into “new citizens” in the SIP area because they take advantage of urban employment and imitate consumption and lifestyles of urban middle class. 

Prof Tang concluded that the making of “new citizens” goes hand in hand with local state-building through urbanisation. In the discussion session, the speaker compared the SIP model and the Guangdong model in relocating villagers and managing collective assets.