Domestic land grabbing is defined as the process of land expropriation and displacement put in place by governments within their country borders to supposedly enhance development. While development-induced displacement occurs all over the world, China is responsible for a large fraction of such type of displacement and resettlement projects. Urban sprawl and land commodification for food security and agricultural modernization are the main consequences of domestic land grabbing in the country. Although attention towards the implications of land grabbing and urbanization on the social stability of China has recently increased, studies which try to identify the main drivers of domestic land grabbing and urbanization, as well as to look at the impacts, trade-offs and migrant views, are still rare. These aspects need further study in order to provide better insights into the relationship between rural development, urbanization and land expropriation. Drawing on a case study from a rural island in east China, this paper analyses the impacts of displacement and resettlement projects in relation to: (i) land tenure rights and compensation measures; (ii) rural workers’ livelihoods and the hukou registration system; (iii) environmental degradation. Results reveal that landless people and rural areas in general are facing the risk of unemployment, food self-sufficiency problems, the mismanagement of resettlements, and environmental degradation. Under such circumstances, it is very difficult to view the urbanization strategy and resettlement policy of China as a good opportunity to improve development.
Siciliano, G. LDPI Working Paper 14. The social and environmental implications of urbanization strategies anddomestic land grabbing in China: The case of Chongming Island. The Land Deal Politics Initiative, (2013) 26 pp.