Eviction and the Right to the City

Beijing’s eviction of migrants from their dwellings in November 2017 following a deadly fire left tens of thousands homeless within days. It was rightly seen not as a legitimate response to a fire hazard but a convenient opportunity to push forward new political goals with regard to the city’s migrant population. The evictions were undoubtedly […]

Beijing’s eviction of migrants from their dwellings in November 2017 following a deadly fire left tens of thousands homeless within days. It was rightly seen not as a legitimate response to a fire hazard but a convenient opportunity to push forward new political goals with regard to the city’s migrant population. The evictions were undoubtedly not just an unintended consequence of a disaster. They were preceded by the forced closing of shops, restaurants and housings in similar areas, and by the announcement of a plan to relocate Beijing’s city government and public institutions to a nearby province. This is part of a wider strategy to supposedly slow down the urban growth of the capital—moves that have produced heightened anxiety and uncertainty among the Chinese floating population. This poses the question: do migrants in today’s China have a right to the city?

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The Abolition of the Two-term Limit: A Sea Change?

On 25 February, almost at the same moment his visage appeared on screen at the Closing Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Korea, Xi Jinping made a play to keep himself at the centre of Chinese politics for many years to come. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced that it would advise the repeal of term limits for the President and Vice President from Article 79 of China’s 1982 Constitution. On 11 March, the National People’s Congress duly voted to codify the changes…

Beyond the Great Paywall: A Lesson from the Cambridge University Press China Incident

On 18 August it was revealed that Cambridge University Press had complied with the demands of Chinese government censors to block access on its website in China to hundreds of ‘politically sensitive’ articles published in its prestigious China Quarterly journal. The ensuing debate has generally overlooked the problematic nature of the commercial academic publishing industry. Isn’t it time to take the profit motive out of the equation and to rediscover a certain measure of idealism in academia?

Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom: A Response to William Hurst on the Field of Chinese Politics

In his powerful essay, William Hurst raised the question of how to make the study of Chinese politics relevant to the discipline of political science. Yet, the prevailing question should not be ‘how do we make China relevant to the discipline?’, but ‘how can the study of China help us rethink the study and practice of comparative politics?

Treating What Ails the Study of Chinese Politics

For almost as long as political science has existed as a discipline, the study of Chinese politics has been afflicted with a chronic disease. Depending on one’s perspective, this malady’s manifestations have amounted to either neglected isolation or arrogant exceptionalism. To treat this illness, it is important to set aside any rigid orthodoxy and resort to diversity and bold experimentation.

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