China Deconstructs: Politics, Trade, and Regionalism

By David S. G. Goodman; Gerald Segal | Go to book overview

1

The politics of regionalism

Economic development, conflict and negotiation

David S.G. Goodman

At the start of the 1990s the capacity of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to remain united has become a matter of considerable concern and debate. Drawing on a past frequently characterised by division and civil war, writers of popular non-fiction in the PRC have several times hit the best-seller lists to discuss guo shi— 'the project of China' —and ask whether the country can stay united or must break up. 1 Elsewhere in the PRC academics, government advisers and different parts of the state administration have similarly written papers and reports on this topic, even though, to be sure, the issue has sometimes been raised in order to make an inherently political point: to slow the pace of reform, for example, or by those who wish to strengthen centralised government. 2 Many of these themes have been echoed in the writings of external commentators, who focus not simply on the pattern of the Chinese past but on the new challenges facing both the PRC and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with modernisation, particularly economic growth, and changes in the international world order. 3

The collapse of communism and national political disintegration in Eastern Europe, as well as popular interpretations of the PRC's current economic development and recent history all suggest future challenges to the unity of the PRC, and not just the leading role of the CCP. The PRC's rapid economic development since 1978 has been based on decentralisation and an explicit regional policy, in which some regions have been positively encouraged to become wealthy before others. The result is a highly differentiated economic geography and pattern of regionalism that has suggested to some a replay of the 'warlord era' of the 1920s, except that power is now based on economic rather than military might.

China is undoubtedly changing shape, not least because the increasing pressures of modernisation ensure organisational complexity and

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China Deconstructs: Politics, Trade, and Regionalism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vii
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - The Politics of Regionalism 1
  • 2 - 'Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated' 21
  • 3 - Reform and the Restructuring of Central-Local Relations 59
  • 4 - Economic Reform and the Internal Division of Labour in China 99
  • 5 - The Many Worlds of China's Provinces 131
  • 6 - Guangdong 177
  • 7 - Regionalism in Fujian 202
  • 8 - Shanghai and the Lower Yangzi Valley 224
  • 9 - North China and Russia 253
  • 10 - Xinjiang 271
  • Notes 285
  • 11 - Regional Economic Integration in Yunnan 286
  • 12 - Deconstructing Foreign Relations 322
  • Index 356
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