The Research Progress

【8/28】Potential topics:

  1. the conflict between mainland China and Taiwan
  2. the conflict between mainland China and Hong Kong
  3. the conflict between the US and Okinawa
  4. the conflict between the Chinese government and Xinjiang
  5. the conflict between the Sri Lanka government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam


I think I will change my topic into something related to “demolition in China,” because it is more related to my personal experience. It is an issue that will affect almost everyone that lives in China. Librarian Bishop suggests me to compare the mode in China with the migrant workers in the Middle East. I think that makes sense because China also has the unique “Huko” system for its citizen–registered permanent residence. It sets tons of limitations for people tried to stay in a place different from the address written on their ID card, especially in the big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. However, in China, not only the inner immigrant worker but also the locals can be forced to replace them. I’m still thinking about a proper topic to generalize all those conflicts…


Although there is an article that defines the evictions in China as “dignity taking, “I think I’m still struggling with what exactly the conflict is…

The Chinese government is using “utilitarianism” to force peasants to give up their land. However, most people in China care more about compensation rather than the ownership of land or their human rights. The ones who were treated unfairly during evictions and tried to appeal to the higher authorities for help were usually ignored by the Chinese government or court, such as see them like a madman. The example of Wukan village did not bring any positive change to the whole system either. So basically the government will continue to use the Hukou system to take more land from the peasant (instead of releasing the wealth gap), and ask them to move to somewhere else (more likely without enough welfare as the people with urban Hukou). China will adopt strict regulations like international immigrant law to limited people who want to move to big cities – usually the educated white-collar worker; however, for the small cities it is fairly easy because there is neither much employment nor good social welfare. More and more peasants prefer to keep their land waiting for more compensation from the government instead of giving up their land and take urban Hukou. So far I can only predict there will be more evictions happen in China.

Most scholars focus on land and house ownership policy in China or the situation of immigrant workers or the human rights violence of the Chinese government or the Hukou system. Many of them mention eviction as a form of replacement of peasant, but not many of them focusing on eviction as a kind of conflict I think.


I talked to Professor Bishop today and he really helped me a lot. Thanks to him, I got to realize that the problem is not about urbanization or land ownership policy, but about citizenship and class. Although Hukou (the household registration) is an explicit example of the conflict, the conflict will still be there even if they canceled this binary system. He compares the situation with racial discrimination in the US. In China, although religion or racial does not really play a role, the conflict between the so-called middle class and the lower class is there. The government will just continue using them as an approach to boost the economy, but nobody cares about what the lower class – the farmers, the immigrant workers’ appeal. The government always afraid there will be large scale uprising of the lower class, it is because the government always excludes them from the system and erase their voice. Or, say, the rural people’s citizenship is denied by the government. I think my paper will focus on how do the people with rural household registration empower themselves as a citizen, rather than what kind of policy that the government should apply because the root of the problem is discrimination.


I cannot believe that the last time I wrote this was a month earlier. I just turned the literature review but I don’t know how it will be scored since it is my first time to write one. I think the fundamental problem for my thesis is that I haven’t really sure what kind of conflict I’m dealing with. I know it is class conflict, and I will be focusing on the resistance of demolition, but then, is my conflict the demolition or the class one? Maybe it is time to go over the history of Hukou and policies related to the rural area, and then coming back to the theory of citizenship and the rightful resistance.


The paper will be due next Tuesday and I have not started writing it. I’m kind of regret that I did not pay more attention to the conflict map at the beginning. I think I need to review my literature so for and make a clear logic line about: the connection between the lower class, migrant workers, people with rural household registration, and the farmers. Also, the relations between land grab and eviction and demolition is not the same. I need to be more specific I think. Because a lot of people – both rural and urban are protesting for violent eviction, but for the Wukan’s one it is not the case. And for my discussion part, I need to focus more on analyzing Wukan’s rightful resistance in the citizenship framework…

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