Chinese Middle Class and Cities

Chinese Middle Class and Cities

Chinese middle class communities are significant and healthy to the Chinese economy and also to the global economy. It has been noted that consumption is largely propelled by the middle class communities. China is growing at the fastest rate in the world. Findings indicate that Chinese consumers have been directly related with the current transformation of the products and the services. It has come to a time that each and every multinational company is eyeing at the Chinese market, basing on the consumerism effect of the middle class societies, china has privileged bureaucrats (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 254). The Chinese economy is mainly dependent on investments and exports; in the recent decades, the same economy has been classified under the consumerism economy.

Chinese economy is the third in the world and the most populous nation in the world. China is currently experiencing rapid development and urbanization as noted in most nations in line with the twenty first century. Findings show that China has attained exemplary social and economic progress, a model that eliminated poverty in China, and placed China at the international stage according to the economic status.

Demolition Policies in Post Socialist Cities

The economic transformation has encountered demolition of the post socialist cities in preference of modern houses due to rapid urbanization and modernization in the face of historical communism (Chun 28). The issue of land is at the national limelight, as postmodern skyscrapers are raising high into the sky in each and every day. The socialist past is fading away with time as China gets westernized. Socialism is the aspect in which social ownership defines the economic system, in a way that cooperative management and production of services and products takes shape (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 254). It has been noted that social ownership is defined by state ownership, cooperative enterprises and equity being owned by citizens (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 258). Socialism in China is fading away with time, as individualistic culture of the West takes shape.

The Chinese socialism is characterized with soviet-style bureaucratic socialism which was practiced in Russian post communism with elements of peripheral capitalism (Chun 20). It has been noted that the Chinese communist revolution over time has evolved to republican revolution basing on colonial modernity (Chun 17). Communist Party of China (CPC) propels socialism, which is changing with time due to socialization and globalization in developing scientific socialism, geared at enhancement of socialist market economy largely owned by the public sector (Chun 18).

Chinese government argues that the government still supports the attributes of Marxism, which is part of Marxist theory. The Chinese government with time has developed policies that govern the changes happening due to the new economic system. It is argued that socialism is compatible with modernity. CPC has engaged economic policies that are flexible in encouraging industrialization.

It has been noted that the Chinese economic transformation has led to institutional transformation due to changes in the global market mechanisms (Chun 18). The economy of China is controlled centrally (Chun 20). The land in China is owned by peasant collectivists and the State. There have been changes in the urban areas where the lease hold of land is at seventy years. Collective land ownership in the rural areas still stands un-rebuked. China in the past decades is facing serious challenges in land policy issues, the model of solving the arising issues will contribute to the systems of urbanization and economic development of the nation (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 272).

Chinese urban housing demolition has affected the Chinese people social context, in the sense that the developers of the real estate and the local authorities has ganged up in withdrawing the rights of house owners to an extent that people are left with no alternatives, rather than supporting demolitions of post socialist cities in development of Westernized postmodern skyscrapers. The move has developed into a conflict basing on the fact that individual households are inadequately protected by the laws, the laws favors developers and government link in responding to urbanization.

Urban housing demolition in China is also referred to as the city demolition or city removal, which happens on land that is state owned in urban areas (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 258). Findings indicate that the move is geared at expanding the cities, while at the same time renewing the Chinese cities. The same challenge faces other developing nations where demolishing of building considered old is inevitable, as globalization calls for urban renewal, in coping with the current global changes (Chun 18). Old buildings are demolished and new ones are reconstructed with the intention of benefiting the city development. Demolishing houses in China has generated serious conflicts in the Chinese urban society (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 269).

Surveys done in 2009 indicated that more than one thousand, five hundred and four point seven square kilometer of land was placed under expropriation by the government for urban construction (Wu 3). In the same year, it was agreed that more than sixty three thousand, three hundred and eighty three houses were set for demolition following signed demolition agreements (Wu 3). In 2010, the Chinese government went ahead punishing more than six thousand, six hundred and seventy eight people basing on illegal activities; since the land that was under government housing demolition and land expropriation (Wu 3).  Local governments argued that house demolitions and land expropriation was inevitable for the good of the Chinese people, in that the new model will host more people and encourage more diverse business opportunities, not forgetting that the new model will bring about better and advanced living environment.

Land in China is largely owned by the public, unlike in the Western nations where land ownership is a private affair. China has a public land ownership as defined by collective ownership and the state ownership (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 258). People’s Republic of China constitution in article ten argues that land located in cities is wholly owned by the state (Wu 4), while in article three, it is argued that land in suburb areas and rural areas is largely owned by the collectives, with portions of the land being owned by the state (Chun 5). Collectives indicate that the whole Chinese community owns the land as guided by relevant laws.

Revisions of the constitution done in 2004 argued that the government has the rights of expropriating the land situated at the urban areas and offering compensation to the affected people as per the regulations and laws of the land, mainly for the public interest. The Chinese constitution fails to elaborate the meaning of the public interest, in the sense that the government has misused the phrase.

Land Management Law were was amended in the year 1998, arguing that the State has the powers of changing the uses of the State land under a number of circumstances identifying with; in effecting urban development by replacing old buildings and for public interest (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 258). There are a number of administrative regulations governing the relocations and urban housing demolition. There are confusions between commercial demolition and public demolition, a model that has significantly contributed to the demolition conflicts in China (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 269).

Developers in China acquire permission of the land use from the local governments and not from the original land users; this is clearly stipulated by the land management system in China. The government of China attains the rights of the land, in which the government later transfers the land use to the willing developers. It has been noted that land use rights are transferred to the willing developers even if the original owner of the land is still using it, and that the local government has yet to recover the land. Developers have been accused of lowering the standards of compensation, a model that has resulted in demolition conflicts in a number of occasions (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 269).

The Chinese government stands in the place of resolving disputes between the developers and the original land users. Forced demolition follows any household that ignores the orders. Surveys done between 2003 to 2006 indicated that the petition cases had more than forty percent relating to relocation and demolition conflicts were filed by the National Petition; with more that seventy percent of the petitions being at the urban and rural development and housing ministry in China (Wu 5).

Land Speculation due to urbanization

Land rights is part of the property rights, it has been noted that rapid growth of China has forced the Chinese government to transfer land particularly in the rural areas to industrial uses and urban uses. The property rights protecting the farmers are poorly defined, to an extent that some of the farmers are left not compensated for the converted land. In the recent decade, there has been civil unrest in China in dealing with the poor land policies affecting the farmers. In urban areas, the civil unrests are fuelled by strengthening property rights among the urban leaseholders.

Globalization in the recent past has led to changes in the property tax implementation, in which the tax reforms focused on empowerment of the local officials, hence reducing the revenues collected by the local governments (Chun 18). Local officials in the recent times heavily relied on land fees, land lease receipts and off budget revenues allocated by the finance government expenditures. The government of China in the recent past has been lobbying on creating a property tax in increasing the local revenues, as a way of cashing from the real estate market that is developing at a very fast rate in China (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 254).

Issues of farmland have raised serious debates in China; it is argued that farmland preservation has weak policies that have been surpassed by the rapid urbanization. Land is converted from agricultural cultivation raising the issues of food security in China. It is argued that if China does not embrace agricultural practices, then the nation will fail to feed its population amounting to billions of people.

Urban planning and development has been boasted by globalization and socialization, it has been noted that rapid urbanization has led to high levels of urban poverty, challenges in affordability of houses, social and economic inequality between the urban and the rural populations and disparities in religions (Chun 18). Urban planning and development needs reforms in addressing the changes brought about by economic behavior and on the market forces (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 272).

China is facing environmental challenges in sustainability basing on the changing demographic and economic disparities. Land in China has experienced severe degradation, an indication that China must be concerned with sustainable models of managing the environment, in preserving the resources of the future generations.

Land Management Law in China has been subjected to a number of revisions as land issue is at the top agenda needing attention; China is struggling with defining land expropriation, land use efficiency, land observation, land use planning, rural land rights and public good.  Rural and urban rights sprawl and land expansion among other aspects.

Rapid urbanization in China has resulted in explosive growth of populations and cities, a model that has resulted in diverse challenges in the development and management of infrastructure, city planning and transportation model (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 272). There has been massive calls for new approaches in urban planning, which copies the Western styles in setting up world standard fundamental management and development of cities in setting up the right pace for urban planning. The Chinese government has been sensitive in controlling rampant urbanization of cites.

Necessity of Demolition

Demotion of old houses in China as a way of responding to globalization and modernity in China is justified, in the sense that the current structures are congested and pose environmental challenges (Chun 28). Post modern skyscrapers will hold more people and at the same time create diverse business opportunities to the Chinese population that is the largest in the world. The move has generated conflicts as people are not willing to move,  the government and the developers have liaised in pushing the people away from the old housing units in urban centers (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 269).

Taking a historical perspective, it has been noted that housing demolition is not only happening in China, but also happened to the developed nations when they were at the developing stage. Urban housing demolition according to scholars and researchers is a critical part of the urban management and urban planning. United Kingdom in 1947 formed the Town and Country Planning Act; the Act addressed the input of the public, on issues of urban planning. The Act was revised in 1968 in enhancing more participation of the public on issues of urban planning. Urban housing demolition at most times ignores the private rights of the owners of the houses. The same model was experienced in the United States, a show that urban housing demolition is part of the urban planning that is inevitable; therefore, urban housing demolition is a critical part of modernity and urbanization in China (Chun 17).

The main challenge facing China is the slow model of developing policies and legislations than the rate of economic development in the country, hence arising into a social conflict, such as the urban housing demolition in China. A number of scholars in China have argued along stakeholder analysis, institutional analysis, cost benefit analysis and game theory among others. It is argued that the conflicts in China on urban housing demolition are as a result of poor engagement of the stakeholders, with the owners of the property having the least rights (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 269).

Some scholars in China argue that the demolition conflicts are a show of the current struggles between the State powers and the powers held by the people of China. An indication that laws should be amended to reflect the rights of the Chinese people and the powers of the government, researchers has argued that the challenge may be resolved by raising the standards of the compensations, enhancing public participation and encouraging strengthening of the law enforcement. A significant number of scholars argued that the demolition conflicts are as a result of public powers verses the private rights, although the public powers has immense powers as compared to the private rights, therefore, the government ends up winning the cases of demolition conflicts (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 269).

Westernization of China

This paper supports the assertions of Lin Chun, in showing that demolition of the urban spaces and in return rebuilding with postmodern skyscrapers is a link to the Western socialization, as socialism is done away slowly by slowly (Chun 20). Socialism was useful in the post socialist era, in the sense that communal ownership ensured equality of people in the society; in the sense that people progressed due to innate desire of making a ‘better community’.

Socialism has been associated with high economic efficiency as compared to capitalism, in the sense that the production of goods and services are regulated and controlled centrally by the authorities involved in planning (Chun 20). The efficiency of the economic model is realized through active utilization of resources in getting the socially accepted goods and services in meeting the needs of the people. It is argued that socialism is more bureaucratic and works just like a machine, democracy is not exercised (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 254).

Assimilation theory evaluates and relates the ethnic and cultural relations with the minority culture conforming to the dominant culture (Chun 36). The interaction between the Chinese and Western cultures is at all time high due to socialization and globalization, in the sense that the Western cultural groups and the Chinese cultural groups have a better understanding in business relations in the global arena (Chun 18). Surveys done on a number of youths in China indicated that they valued and got attracted to the Western culture, characterized with democracy and not bureaucratic systems (Wu 8). There are a number of Western academic institutions in China that teach Westernized system of education and culture (Chun 36).

China in the recent decades has been incorporating the Western culture while at the same time clinging to the Chinese traditions. The Western culture is largely common with the Chinese youths accustomed to the urban life. It has been noted that the earlier Chinese generation strongly abides to the Chinese culture. There are high chances that in the future, the Chinese State will start selling off the land to the private bodies and people and allow private ownership of property as is the case of the West (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 258). The youths have less friction with demolitions of the old structures and the erecting of skyscrapers, since majority of them will be accommodated at the urban centers.

Western culture portrays a huge wave to China (Chun 36). Demolition conflicts have also happened to the Westernized nations at some point. The fact that the same is happening to China is a proof of slow Westernization. Chinese youth prefer Westernized films and movies as compared to the domesticated films, with the Chinese Hollywood earning the largest share of the film market in China. Chinese traditions has influenced the values, traditions and the lifestyle of the urban Chinese community, there are high chances that China will do away with the socialism past in favor of Westernization, although it will take centuries (“Rethinking the Chinese Model” 254). It can be argued that China is at war with the attributes of ‘Westernization’. Surveys from other Asian nations like Japan and Korea indicate that Westernization is unavoidable (Chun 52).

Works Cited

Chun, Lin. The Trasformation of Chinese Socialism. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2006.

“Rethinking the Chinese Model.” China (n.d): 250-287.

Wu, Xiaoxue. “Conflict In China’s Urban Housing Demolition, Apolicy Network Approach.” The Conflict in the 21st Century (2012): 3-15.


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