Vol.3, Issue 4
TO THE SOIL
The Labour of Rural Transformation in China
China’s four decades of reform and opening have been rooted in a fundamental socioeconomic restructuring. Contemporary China has changed from a largely agrarian society to a rapidly urbanising one, characterised by a floating populace moving back and forth between rural and urban spaces, which are in a continuous state of flux.
Going hand in hand with China’s ascent into modernity is the subordination of rural areas and people. While rural China has historically been a site of extraction and exploitation, in the post-reform period this has intensified, and rurality itself has become a problem, best typified through the ubiquitous propaganda about the need to revitalise the countryside, and ongoing attempts to reconstruct rural areas in a new image.
This issue of Made in China focuses on the labour that these attempts to restructure and reformulate rural China have entailed, and the ways in which they have transformed rural lives and communities.
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Made in China is a quarterly on Chinese labour, civil society, and rights. This project has been produced with the financial assistance of the Australian Centre on China in the World, ANU, and the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 654852. The views expressed are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of the European Union, CIW, or the institutions to which the authors are affiliated.