Activities > Wednesday Seminars

Party and Prosperity Dreams in Rural China: Poverty Alleviation Campaigns in Yunnan

05 Sep 2018

Ritu Agarwal

Venue: Seminar Room, ICS
Time: 3:00 PM


Since the 18th Party Congress, President Xi Jinping has made poverty alleviation as one of the national priority agendas and promised to build China into a moderately prosperous society.  As usually happens with important central government initiatives, the poverty reduction policy has also been implemented through a campaign mode. The public policy slogan crafted for the local government was “identify the real poor, assist the real poor and ……” (kanzhen pin, fuzhen pin and zhenfu pin). This slogan has introduced a new element in China’s developmental discourses by focusing on the real poverty than the earlier objectives of rising general income levels. The local party cadres were assigned with the responsibility of designing a comprehensive approach towards poverty alleviation efforts. It seems that the local cadres have been able to adopt a composite set of programmes which included educational assistance, health care services, cash transfers for housing and income earning opportunities in the villages.   

This paper, based on my recent field- visit to Kunming and Jiulong town in Luquan county of Yunnan province, examines how the township government has devised a new approach for poverty reduction in the mountainous areas by synergizing party, enterprises and farmers. This multi-pronged approach has a composite perspective where poverty is seen as arising from set of local factors than a mere problem of low income levels. Therefore,the thrust of the new policy is to encourage cooperative farming, infrastructure development,and educational assistance.  While these policies are beginning to show significant outcomes, their long term viability can only be tested with time. The paper will elaborate on the cooperative farming of the specific local agrarian products such as tobacco and medicinal herbs; prevention of migration through local employment generation in the villages; compulsory primary education; and promotionof tourism through Yi and Miao culture relics.

About the Speaker

Dr. Ritu Agarwal is an Associate Professor at Centre for East Asian studies, School of International Studies, JNU. She holds a Ph.D. in Chinese studies from University of Delhi. She completed her M.A. in Political science, JNU. Her doctoral work explored the micro-level agrarian transformation in Yunnan province and she is currently engaged in questions of provincial transformation especially in Yunnan. Her research interests are: rural political economy, urbanization, gender studies and provincial politics. Dr. Ritu Agarwal studied Mandarin Chinese from Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing. She was a visiting scholar to Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences, Kunming, and visiting fellow to Yunnan Minzu University and Yunnan University recently.  She was also affiliated to Chinese University of Hong Kong and East Asia Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore to collect material for her research work.        





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