For nearly four decades, China’s manufacturing boom has been powered by the labor of 287 million rural migrant workers, who travel seasonally between villages where they farm for subsistence and cities where they work. Yet recently local governments have moved away from manufacturing and toward urban expansion and construction as a development strategy. As a result, at least 88 million rural people to date have lost rights to village land. In Beneath the China Boom, Julia Chuang follows the trajectories of rural workers, who were once supported by a village welfare state and are now landless. This book provides a view of the undertow of China’s economic success, and the periodic crises—a rural fiscal crisis, a runaway urbanization—that it first created and now must resolve.
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