China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: China's transition from a planned to a market economy, as commemorated recently in the fortieth anniversary of reform and opening-up, often focuses on central and top-down policy. This panel explores the bottom-up experience of the reform-era transition by focusing on a variety of actors in South China and Hong Kong: officials and ordinary people in Guangzhou’s food market, the architects and financers of iconic buildings in Shenzhen, the overseas investors who built factories in Dongguan, and the Hong Kong author Leung Fung-Yee and her mainland readers. Together the papers show how individuals took advantage of past and present systems, created new built environments and systems, initiated the practices of the market economy, and understood their role in the reform era.
Examining the transition between rationing to marketization of food in Guangzhou, Michelle Chang demonstrates how the dual pricing system attempted to protect the command economy, but instead enabled the market takeover. Andrew Liu traces the investment of overseas Chinese from Hong Kong through Shenzhen to cities like Dongguan, highlighting the role of family networks in early reform-era manufacturing. Cole Roskam takes the analysis of the Special Economic Zone to the level of the building, examining Shenzhen's first reform-era buildings to illuminate the influence of market practice and state planning, as well as Hong Kong knowledge and financing. Finally, to understand how entrepreneurial subjectivity was created in the post-Mao era, Zhang Yu studies the production, reception, and readership of Leung Fung-Yee's "finance novels" from Hong Kong to mainland China.
Paper Presenter: Michelle M. Chang – Stanford University
Paper Presenter: Andrew B. Liu – Villanova University
Paper Presenter: Cole Roskam – University of Hong Kong
Paper Presenter: Yu Zhang – Hong Kong Polytechnic University