Cities in China: Recipes for Economic Development in the Reform Era

By Jae Ho Chung | Go to book overview

Preface

As decentralization, along with marketization and privatization, has constituted a crucial cornerstone of post-Mao Chinese reform, 'unpacking the state' has almost become a norm in the study of contemporary China irrespective of the disciplines involved. In the 1990s in particular, several collaborative research endeavours were launched to produce valuable contributions to the understanding of provinces. I myself have been involved in some of these projects and, along the way, I came to realize that much of the important dynamics in China's transition to a developed economy has been taking place as much at the sub-provincial levels as at the provincial and national ones. This is how the 'cities project' was initiated back in 1995 and is now materialized in this volume.

The most difficult task of all in managing this project concerned the selection of contributors with the willingness to commit themselves to the project through-out as well as with sufficient prior experience and necessary connections with the provinces where their respective case cities were located. As scholarship inevitably flows with the trends of policy and market, maintaining a reasonable coastal-inland balance was not possible. Nevertheless, seven contributors managed to deliver interesting and useful findings about the fourteen case cities in terms of similarities and variations among their 'recipes of local economic development.' I owe sincere thanks to all of the seven contributors. It is hoped that the findings presented in this volume will be further discussed and investigated with more future research on different sets of cities. After all, it seems, that is the whole point of researching, debating, and cultivating scholarly communities in our research field.

Throughout the tenure of this project, spanning about four years, David S.G. Goodman, as a friend and colleague, has been unsparing in providing constructive support, advice and comments. My association with David over the years on the much larger 'China's Provinces in Reform' project was also essential to the development of various ideas presented in this volume. I would also like to thank Victoria Smith, Senior Editor for Routledge, for her meticulous support, with-out which this volume would not have become what it is now. Last, but not least, I am grateful to my wife, Hye Kyung, and my daughter, Jean, for their patience and perseverance during the four-year journey.

Jae Ho Chung
Seoul National University
March 1999

-xiii-

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