Poverty alleviation as an instrument of political manoeuvring and technical governance in rural China

Stream: Chinese social policy: poverty reduction
Date: Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Time: 10.55 am – 12.35 pm


Despite Chinese government’s enormous efforts on economic development and social policy implementation in rural areas, poverty as a problematic persistent issue is still perplexing owing to institutional constraints and policy failure. In 2015, Chinese central government launched a new national campaign entitled the Targeted Poverty Alleviation Programme aiming to eradicate the problem of poverty in rural areas by 2020. How will this national development strategy influence farmers’ quality of life and township and village-level cadres’ behaviors? What are the main consequences?

In this paper, the author mainly discusses the following issues: First, how does this national plan on poverty reduction in the new era differ from the previous ones? Second, what is the main impact of the targeted poverty alleviation programme on the farmers’ life and local government? Third, what are the main limitations of the top-down model of poverty alleviation programme in the centralized regime and its implications for the socio-economic development in future in China.

Based on the qualitative interviews conducted in Jiangxi Province, Southern China from 2016 to 2017, the author will link the empirical data with theoretical interpretation on social changes in the countryside. It is concluded that a built-in mechanism of top-down model implementation and special timing of social politics has unexpectedly affected the process and outcome of poverty alleviation in rural China.


Yuegen Xiong (Presenter), Peking University, China
Xiong Yuegen is Professor and Director, The Centre for Social Policy Research in the Department of Sociology at Peking University. He was the British Academy KC Wong Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford during November 2002- September 2003 and the faculty of 483rd Salzburg Global Seminar on “ Economic Growth and Social Protection in Asia ” held in Austria during 7th-12th November, 2011. He is the editorial member of Asian Social Work and Policy Review (Wiley), Asian Education and Development Studies (Emerald), The British Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies (UK) and The International Journal of Community and Social Development (Sage).