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Building a New Socialist Countryside – Evidence from the Loess Plateau

Sat, June 25, 8:30 to 10:20am, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 105


This paper will consider the implementation of Building a New Socialist Countryside in a nationally designated poverty county on the Loess Plateau in Shanxi Province. It draws on fieldwork conducted in four villages in 2012-13. While describing what Building a New Socialist Countryside looks like at the local scale (road construction, agricultural modernisation, resettlement etc), this paper will also consider structural factors that shape the success or otherwise of such central government initiatives. These factors include the effects of recent fiscal reform on agricultural counties, and political control over local officials, which together result in a focus on already wealthier, “model” villages to the detriment of poorer, more remote villages. This pattern raises questions about the ability of “Building a New Socialist Countryside” to reach the most vulnerable and to address poverty and rising inequality in rural China.