We are organising a series of events including workshops, seminars and conferences to gather thoughts, inspire research and disseminate outputs.
Online seminar 3/03/2023  The Party-Statecraft of China’s Regional Governance and the Emerging Greater Bay Area

On 3rd March, the ChinaUrban project hosted an online seminar to discuss Great Bay Area (GBA) in China. Prof. Jun Zhang was invited to share their preliminary findings about governance in GBA. This event attracted 44 participants.

Prof. Zhang’s talk
Prof. Zhang’s talk

Prof. Zhang first introduced the GBA region and the GBA development plan (initiated in 2019) to situate this research. He then illustrated China’s regional governance and party-state spatiality. He identified four important features: zoning, rescaling, experimenting, and bordering. These characteristics have been widely discussed in previous studies in China. In addition, he compared “party-state authoritarianism” and “democratic liberalism” in various aspects to explain the difference in China’s governance.

Focusing on GBA, Prof. Zhang then explained party-state spatiality and GBA governance. First, zoning is a multi-purpose intervention or sovereignty manipulation. It is followed by successive layering with path- and place-dependence. Although local experiments continue, there are diminishing marginal returns. He then illustrated zoning and experimenting practices in Nansha, Hengqin and Qianhai. 

Prof. Zhang concluded that GBA governance was conducted by China’s unique party-statecraft and characterized by a unique spatiality. Zoning, a path-dependent, multi-purpose intervention has been the most favored policy instrument of the party-state. Not just strengthened central &state control is shown in this case, but also local discretion and market competition. 

The final discussion was about the state mission and the understanding of party-state in China.