What contributes to a higher degree of voluntarism in China’s rural displacement programmes?

Poverty Alleviation Resettlement as a case study

Authored by: Tao Xue , Mark Wang

Routledge International Handbook of Poverty

Print publication date:  October  2019
Online publication date:  September  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367178666
eBook ISBN: 9780429058103
Adobe ISBN:


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Though it has been an anti-poverty instrument in China since the 1980s, little scholarly attention has been paid to Poverty Alleviation Resettlement (PAR) as a subset of Development-induced Displacement and Resettlement (DIDR). The small number of studies raise questions about the rationale for PAR and the degree of voluntarism. This chapter aims to understand PAR’s voluntary nature in China by asking: (1) what is PAR and what are its characteristics? (2) How voluntary is it? (3) What factors contribute or hinder volition? To address these questions, the chapter delves into the practice of PAR between 2013 and 2015, drawing on 34 cases in the provinces of Shaanxi and Shanxi. The findings demonstrate that currently, even though it presents a relatively high degree of voluntarism compared to other resettlement projects, there remain problems with the nature of this voluntarism. To reduce poverty, PAR in China should foster full participation for the resettled by introducing institutional and supervisory mechanisms, and providing post-resettlement support.

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