Resettlement as Poverty Alleviation: Village Organised Rural Development? (16322)
Poverty Alleviation Resettlement (PAR) is a Chinese Government development policy designed to concentrate dispersed rural communities living in mountainous locations, improve housing, infrastructure and provide greater access to roads and transport, connecting villages to rural towns. The policy makes reference to participatory engagement with village communities through the resettlement process. County governments have, as a result, devolved some responsibilities for implementation of resettlements, including the decision to move, down to village governments in an attempt to improve project governance and increase village communities’ satisfaction with resettlement outcomes, relative to past government resettlement programs. Two such villages in Pinglu County, Tudi Miao and Yaotou, have moved under varied circumstances: response to a natural disaster and as part of the village head’s development strategy for the village. The degree to which villages are now responsible for the implementation of the resettlement and the impacts this has on resettlement outcomes given the varied circumstances under which the resettlements are taking place, is one focus of the research. Does the village government system in rural China, which aspires to a representative democracy, provide a robust foundation for participatory decision making through such a major event? Central Government policy focused on scaling up agricultural production is challenging the solidarity of village communities. Coping strategies employed by villages in response to the move are a reflection of these growing pressures on rural life and ever expanding urbanisation.