Developing China: Land, Politics and Social Conditions, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Developing China

Land, Politics and Social Conditions, 1st Edition

By George C.S. Lin


344 pages | 52 B/W Illus.

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In the first systematic documentation of the pattern and processes of land development taking place in China in the last two decades George C.S Lin advocates a fresh and innovative approach that goes beyond the privatization debate to probe directly into the social and political origins of land development. He demonstrates the special and paradoxical nature of China’s land development and challenges the perceived notion of a causal relationship between property rights definition, efficient land use, and sustained economic growth.

In contrast to the existing literature in which changes in urban and rural land are treated separately, the rural-urban interface is shown to be the most significant and contentious locus of land development where competition for land has been intensified and social conflicts frequently erupted.

Theoretically provocative and empirically well-grounded, Developing China provides a systematic, insightful, and authoritative account of the enormous development of China’s precious land resources. As such, it will be of great interest to scholars, students, and professional practitioners in the fields of development studies, political economy, regional political ecology, planning, economics, geography, land use management, and sustainable development with a special focus on contemporary China under market transition.


"[T]his empirically rich and theoretically informed book is an important contribution to understanding the complex land-power relationships in China and probes us to think deeper about the roles of land and space" - Choon-Piew Pow, Environment and Planning A 2010, volume 42

"Land development has become central to China’s accumulation and distribution politics in the past three decades. This monograph is a major contribution to our understanding of this profound yet under-researched process…this book provides an unprecedentedly comprehensive account of the changes in the land system in contemporary China…the solid empirical data supports a series of insightful arguments." - You-Tien Hsing, The China Quarterly, 201, March 2010

"Lin’s book is substantial and thorough… Scholars of modern China from a variety of academic fields will profit greatly from reading and studying the findings and conclusions of Professor Lin." Clifton W. Pannell, Eurasian Geography and Economics, 2010, 51, No. 5

"George C. S. Lin’s Developing China: Land, Politics and Social Conditions provides a comprehensive and detailed examination of the trajectory of land use and development in China since 1949…[it is] a very significant contribution to the literature on the political economy of development in contemporary China and to studies of capitalist development and land-use change more generally." Yeh, Emily T.(2010) 'A Review of "Developing China: Land, Politics and Social Conditions"', Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 100: 3

"Developing China represents an important step towards a deeper and systematic understanding of the root causes of land use and land development in China. It critically engages with theoretical as well as empirical debates on land use pattern and land development process, and provides a valuable addition to the literature on China studies in general and the geography of China in particular." - Pacific Affairs: Volume 84, No. 1 – March, 2011

Table of Contents

Part 1: Understanding China’s Land Development Processes 1. Introduction: The Myths of China’s Land Development 2. The Debate over China’s Ambiguous Land Property Rights 3. Social and Political Origins of Land Development Part 2: Land Development in Contemporary China 4. The Evolving Land System and Land Markets 5. Land Resource Base and its Changing Utilization 6. Re-utilizing Agricultural Land 7. Expansion of Construction Land Part 3: Urbanization and Land Development in Different Regional Contexts 8. City-centered Urbanization and Land Development: Guangzhou and Hefei 9. Land Development under Rapid Industrialization and Urbanization: Jiangsu 10. Land Development under Marketization and Globalization: Guangdong 11. Conclusion: A Developing China and its Challenges

About the Author

George C.S. Lin is Head of the Department of Geography in the University of Hong Kong. His research interests include China’s urban development and urbanization, land use and land management, the growth of urbanism, rural industrialization and regional development in the Pearl River Delta, transnationalism, cross-border population mobility, and the geography of Chinese diaspora.

About the Series

Routledge Contemporary China Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General