The Politics of the West: Equality, Nation-Building, & Civilization
David S. G. Goodman
Wednesday, November 13, 2002
2:00 PM - 2:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Since the onset of the reform era in the late 1970s, the regional policy of the People’s Republic of China has privileged the development of the eastern and coastal economies. In the second half of 1999 it was announced that there would be adjustments to this regional development policy starting with 2000. A new program has placed greater emphasis than previously on developing China’s interior under the rallying cry to ‘Open Up the West.’ This emphasis on China’s West has generated considerable energy within the PRC, and been greeted with some surprise and speculation outside. In particular, speculation has concerned the causes and intents of the new policy, its methods of implementation, and the possible consequences that may result. These aspects of the campaign to ‘Open Up the West’ are best understood in its wider political contexts, not least in order to appreciate the limitations that surround its emergence and development. China’s West is not so much a region as a state project derived from three inter-related discourses - an appeal to equality, an exercise in nation-building, and a drive to colonize those parts of the PRC less integrated into Chinese society.
David S. G. Goodman is Director of the Institute for International Studies, and Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Technology, Sydney. Professor Goodman works on social and political change at and below the provincial level in China. He is currently engaged in a research project on China's Qinghai Province: Migration, colonisation and the contest for political space.
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Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies