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Rural revitalization, agricultural modernization and rural politics in Chengdu

Authors: Emily Yeh*, University of Colorado
Topics: China, Development
Keywords: China, agriculture, rural development, functional zoning, cooperatives
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The national strategy of rural revitalization proposed by Xi Jinping in 2017 calls for the intensification of several processes already underway in China’s countryside: rural planning, spatial zoning, rural-urban integration, the optimization of the layout and scale of agricultural production, and accelerated agricultural modernization. After a review of the policy, including its continuity and differences from the New Socialist Countryside, this paper turns to the case of the Chongzhou Modern Agricultural Functional Zone, established by the Chengdu Metropolitan Government in July 2017. Encompassing 268.8 square kilometers, the zone is one of four functional zones of Chongzhou city, and one of 66 functional zones established by Chengdu in 2017. Administratively, the Chongzhou Modern Agricultural Functional Zone has been tasked with governing agricultural production within its boundaries, cutting out some of the traditional authority of townships and villages and thus altering rural governance. The modern agricultural zone is tasked with building a “high-quality grain and oil industry,” responding to the ongoing push for agricultural modernization to resolve the contradiction between the need to adhere to the “red line” of basic farmland on the one hand, and the ongoing conversion of rural to urban land for real estate development on the other. Within the agricultural zone are land sharing cooperatives as well as a purportedly novel “agricultural co-management system.” The paper discusses this zone within the national push for rural revitalization and spatial functional zoning, as well as the implications of the profit-sharing model and governance of the land-sharing cooperatives for rural residents.

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