How grassroots cadres broker land taking in urbanizing China


Yanhua Deng, Kevin J. O’Brien & Li Zhang

The Journal of Peasant Studies, 47:6

View article

Abstract: Grassroots leaders in peri-urban China are increasingly integrated into the bureaucracy but maintain their community ties, and for that reason are often recruited to broker land taking. Incomplete bureaucratization allows frontline cadres to act as both state agents and community members and can expedite dispossession. Strategic favouritism and collective pressure are frequently employed to make evictions happen. Although these strategies accelerate expropriation, they divide a community and typically leave relocation facilitators feeling exhausted, anxious and mistreated. Compared to India, land taking in urbanizing China, though routinely manipulative, sometimes harsh, and almost always ’successful,’ tends to be more inclusive, collective and negotiated.

About the author: Yanhua Deng is a HYI Visiting Scholar from 2020-21.