Hidden Spaces of Conflict and Contention in Today’s China
1: Inequality after Eviction: Pliable Citizenship on China's Urban Fringe
Saturday, March 26, 2022
10:30am – 12:00pm EST
Location: Conv. Center, Room 308A
Hamilton College, United States
Co-authored with Rongbin Han Many cities in China expand their boundaries by evicting villagers on the urban fringe and effectively urbanizing this segment of the rural population. Peasants lose their land in exchange for benefits said to offset the trade-offs of modernization and urbanization. However, existing studies about eviction and its impact tend to focus on contestation between state and society during the contentious negotiation of demolition and relocation, especially around the value of homes and land. But less is known about what happens to evictees after they must move. In this paper, we intend to close the gap by examining how local governments treat the newly urbanized population. We argue that the process is one of partial inclusion because doing so allows the state to acquire valuable land while avoiding the financial burden of providing the evictees full urban citizenship. Sources include documents on official chaiqian policies and supplemental information from media reports on evictees’ experiences and a limited number of interviews with those who have encountered forced relocation firsthand. Incomplete incorporation provides a window into understanding what happens after the louder, more visible conflict and coercion of demolition and eviction are over.