1st Edition

Prospects for Sustainable Development in the Chinese Countryside The Political Economy of Chinese Ecological Agriculture

By Richard Sanders Copyright 2000

    This title was first published in 2000:  An examination of the potential for Chinese ecological agriculture providing a basis for sustainable development in the Chinese countryside. Richard Sanders involves primary research in seven villages and four countries in China that have adopted ecological agriculture. He examines the concept of sustainable development generally and analyses China’s political-economic policies towards the countryside since 1949, the impacts on the environment and the state of China’s environmental protection. The study addresses three main questions: 1. Is Chinese ecological agriculture worth adopting - specifically does CEA promise a form of sustainable rural development? 2. To the extent that it does, what are the social, political and economic conditions in the Chinese countryside which most favour its extension? 3. To the extent that these conditions are restrictive, what can the Chinese authorities do to make them less so and thus encourage its extension? The study concludes that the CEA, despite certain difficulties and problems, holds out the prospect of a more sustainable future for the rural economy than more usual forms of activity in the Chinese countryside. It finds that the conditions for adopting CEA are restrictive and that while the Chinese government is in favour of extending CEA it must reconsider questions of land management and ownership and assess long-term needs.

    Contents: The problems in context; Growth, development and sustainability; Developments in the Chinese rural political economy, 1949-1998; Rural reforms and the sustainability of the Chinese rural political economy; The Peoples Republic of China: the environment and environmental protection; Chinese ecological agriculture: Shengtai Nongye; Research in the Chinese countryside; Case studies; Conclusions; References.


    Richard Sanders

    ’The villages and counties that Sanders visited...display sufficient ecological and economic variety to give a good impression of activities at this level. The descriptions and analyses of his case studies consitute half the book...all of which makes for fascinating reading.’ The China Journal 'Sanders conducts in-depth case studies...His field work clearly shows that Chinese Ecological Agriculture can be successful, not just in reversing environmental degradation but in promoting economic growth and raising standards of living.' Journal of Asian and African Studies