Four Stories in One: Environmental Protection and Rural Reconstruction in China

  • Tiejun W
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Examines the debate within the People's Republic of China over environmental protection & land privatization. The lack of an economic theory that explains China's experience in development is addressed through four stories that shed light on the "rural-urban dichotomy" that is said to be China's fundamental systemic contradiction. The first story, which describes a personal encounter with Zapatista militants in Mexico, highlights the "negative externality" induced by the privatization of agricultural land. The other three stories focus respectively on the fragmentation of land in China's Guizhou Province due to soil erosion/environmental destruction; "land enclosures" in Beijing; & harmful carcinogens present in fresh green vegetables. Taken together the tales illustrate the need for the integration of environmental protection & the reconstruction of rural culture. It is argued that peasants should organize themselves, refrain from inorganic farming or the accelerated growth of pigs, & emphasize the concept of ecological civilization that reunites China's agricultural civilization with its legacy based on elements of the traditional cultures of Confucianism & Taoism. Translated by Lau Kin Chi. Adapted from the source document.

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  • W. Tiejun

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