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State rescaling, experimental reforms and institutional continuity : the shifting spatial logics of socioeconomic… Lim, Kean Fan 2014

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STATE RESCALING, EXPERIMENTAL REFORMS  AND INSTITUTIONAL CONTINUITY: THE SHIFTING SPATIAL LOGICS  OF SOCIOECONOMIC REGULATION IN POST-1949 CHINA   by   KEAN FAN LIM    B.Soc.Sci (1st Class Honours), National University of Singapore, 2003 M. Soc. Sci, National University of Singapore, 2005 PGDE (Distinction), Nanyang Technological University, 2006     A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF  THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF    DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY   in   THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES   (Geography)       THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)   October 2014   © Kean Fan Lim, 2014 !! ii!Abstract !Drawing on the literature on state rescaling, this dissertation investigates how post-1978 layers of policy shifts interact with regulatory logics of Mao Zedong-era policies, and in turn how this reproduces what the Chinese state now deems to be ‘necessary’ forms of uneven development. It proceeds on the premise that the shifting regulatory geographies of the Chinese state constitute a prism through which to evaluate socioeconomic change in China. The analysis is presented in two parts. First, it questions the logics and implications of designating specific territories – Hengqin and Qianhai in the Pearl River Delta and Liangjiang in Chongqing – into “nationally strategic new areas” after the 2008 global financial crisis. These logics were assessed through triangulating three primary empirical sources: policy documents, published comments by state actors and interviews with planners and scholars in China. The contemporary cases are presented in two segments, each comprising two chapters (Chapters 6 to 9). The first chapter of each segment explores how the geo-historical context and key actors enabled the national designation, the second examines the implications of key policy experimentation in the areas. Working from these empirical findings, the dissertation revisited historical sources (memoirs from different state actors of the Mao era, statistics extending back to 1949, academic articles in China, etc.) and developed a geographical-historical narrative that evaluates how the spatial logics of socioeconomic regulation have evolved during and after the Mao era (Chapters 4 and 5). The outcome is a two-pronged, mutually-reinforcing attempt to theorize the past from the lens of the present, and to conceptualize the present through ascertaining the impacts of policies inherited from past regimes. In so doing, the dissertation problematizes simple ‘transition’ models that portray a unidirectional, epochal change in the post-1978 Chinese political economy, a change characterized by decentralized governance and intensified economic-geographical inequality. It emphasizes, instead, a more deeply sedimented pattern of development that is marked simultaneously by significant (and enduring) forms of uneven socioeconomic development and experimental (and capricious) attempts to transcend these forms. ! iii!Preface  The author, Kean Fan Lim, acknowledges this dissertation as an original intellectual product. The data collection process was evaluated and certified by the University of British Columbia Research Ethics Board (Certification number: H11-03072).   Parts of the dissertation research have contributed to the following publications:   Lim, K. F. (2014). ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’: Uneven development, variegated neoliberalization and the dialectical differentiation of state spatiality. Progress in Human Geography, 38(2): 221-247. Publisher: Sage Publications. Adapted from Chapter 1.  Lim, K. F. (2014). Spatial egalitarianism as a social ‘counter movement’: on socioeconomic reforms in Chongqing. Economy and Society. Published online on 8 August 2014 at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03085147.2014.883797  Publisher: Taylor & Francis Group. Adapted from Chapter 9.     !! iv!Table of Contents Abstract ......................................................................................................................................... ii Preface ........................................................................................................................................ iii Table of contents ......................................................................................................................... iv List of Tables ............................................................................................................................... vi List of Figures ............................................................................................................................. vii List of Boxes .............................................................................................................................. viii Acknowledgements ..................................................................................................................... ix Dedication ..................................................................................................................................... x  Chapter 1 Introduction: A story of (experimental) change .............................................. 1 1.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 1 1.2 State rescaling, policy experimentation  and the shifting logics of socioeconomic          regulation ........................................................................................................................... 7 1.3 The research design and dissertation outline .................................................................. 19 1.3.1 The research design ............................................................................................. 19 1.3.2 The constitutive framework and research methods: Chapters 2 and 3 ................ 23!1.3.3 The geographical-historical conditions of central control: Chapters 4 and 5 ........ 24 1.3.4 Situating the experimental present: Chapters 6 to 10 ........................................... 26!1.4 Conclusion ....................................................................................................................... 29 !Chapter 2 Conceptualizing institutional continuity and change in post-1949 China  . 32 2.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 32 2.2 Conceptions of politico-economic change in China: contributions and            constraints  ...................................................................................................................... 37 2.2.1 The centralization-decentralization binary ............................................................ 37 2.2.2 On decentralized socioeconomic regulation and economic-geographical           disparities .............................................................................................................. 42 2.3 Towards a geographical-historical conceptualization of economic development in             China .............................................................................................................................. 52 2.3.1 The challenge of periodization .............................................................................. 52 2.3.2 State rescaling: reproducing structural coherence? ............................................. 59 2.4 Conclusion ....................................................................................................................... 69  Chapter 3 Methodological approach and reflections ..................................................... 72 3.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 72 3.2 Overview of research methods ........................................................................................ 74 3.3 Interactions with informants: critical reflections ............................................................... 79!3.4 Conclusion ....................................................................................................................... 86 !Chapter 4 Becoming ‘new China’, becoming the newest and most beautiful painting  ........................................................................................................................... 90 4.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 90 4.2 For a ‘blank’ national slate: ‘scaling up’ to the national .................................................... 94 4.3 Making the spatial leap to communist heaven ............................................................... 100 4.3.1 Spatial bridges to heaven ................................................................................... 100 4.3.2 The socioeconomic logics of the hukou institution  ............................................. 115     4.4 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 123!!! v!Chapter 5 Post-Mao state spatiality in/of China ........................................................... 130 5.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................... 130 5.2 Reconfiguring rural production: rationale and ramifications ........................................... 134 5.3 The (re)turn of coastal bias ............................................................................................ 142 5.4 Solving uneven development with…uneven development? .......................................... 156 5.5 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 165 !Chapter 6 Becoming ‘more special than special’ in Guangdong I: the pressures and opportunities for change ............................................................................... 170 6.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................... 170 6.2 The economic-geographical backdrop: “double relocation” in post-crisis        Guangdong .................................................................................................................... 174 6.3 On the (in)commensurability of spatial restructuring and economic growth .................. 181 6.4 The politics of producing ‘nationally strategic’ socioeconomic spaces in        Guangdong .................................................................................................................... 191 6.5 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 200  Chapter 7 Becoming ‘more special than special’ in Guangdong II: Hengqin and Qianhai as national frontiers of financial reforms ...................................... 205 7.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................... 205 7.2 Hong Kong’s emergent functions as an ‘offshore RMB center’ ..................................... 208 7.3 At once within and without: the ‘extra territorialization’ of Hengqin New Area and            its role in cross-border financial integration ................................................................... 218 7.4 Qianhai New Area as an onshore ‘spatial fix’ for offshore RMB flows ........................... 233 7.5 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 243  Chapter 8 State rescaling in and through Chongqing I: the state as economic actor ......................................................................................................................... 248 8.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................... 248 8.2 The evolving positionality of Chongqing: a geographical-historical overview ................ 251 8.3 Chongqing as a new platform for policy experimentations ............................................ 255 8.3.1 The path of state rescaling in and through Chongqing ....................................... 255 8.3.2 Liangjiang New Area as a post-crisis regulatory ‘fix’  ......................................... 265 8.4 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 275 !Chapter 9 State rescaling in and through Chongqing II: socializing capital accumulation .................................................................................................. 279 9.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................... 279 9.2 Experimenting with spatial egalitarianism: public rental housing provision for migrant            workers .......................................................................................................................... 282 9.3 Market-based Maoism? ................................................................................................. 289 9.4 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 300!!Chapter 10 Concluding reflections .................................................................................. 305 10.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................. 305 10.2 Overview of arguments and conceptual contributions ................................................. 310 10.3 New research directions .............................................................................................. 321  References ............................................................................................................................. 325 !Appendix A Awards  ........................................................................................................... 349 !! vi!List of Tables  Table 1.1 China’s 10 socioeconomic challenges ......................................................................... 3 Table 1.2 China’s ‘nationally-strategic new areas’, 1990-2012 ................................................... 5 Table 2.1 Refinement of state-centric assumptions through the Chinese cases ....................... 68 Table 4.1 Differential treatment of hukou holders, 1958-1976 ................................................ 116 Table 4.2 Three major spatial reconfiguration policies of the Mao era (1949-1976) ............... 126 Table 5.1 Overview of major rural land reform policies in post-1949 China ............................ 139 Table 5.2 Overview of China’s three cross-provincial regional development strategies ......... 162 Table 7.1 Key aspects & implications of newly promulgated <On Measures to Supervise and     Administer Hengqin New Area by the Customs of the People’s Republic of China (Trial Run)>  ................................................................................................................................................. 223 Table 7.2 Key aspects & implications of the <Temporary measures on cross-border RMB loans in Qianhai> .............................................................................................................................. 238 Table 8.1 The changing positionality of Chongqing since its repositioning in 1997 ................ 259 Table 8.2 Key aspects & implications of newly promulgated <Plan for socioeconomic development in Chongqing Liangjiang New Area during the 12th Five-Year Plan> ................. 275 Table 9.1 Key characteristics of evolving hukou reforms in Chongqing (cf. Table 4.1, Chapter 4) ................................................................................................................................................. 286 Table 9.2 Emergent characteristics of Chongqing’s public rental housing provision ............... 297   ! vii!List of Figures  Figure 1.1 New frontiers of reforms: China’s “nationally strategic new areas” ............................ 4 Figure 1.2 Overview of the research design .............................................................................. 22 Figure 4.1 Spatial layout of Wengjiang People’s Commune ................................................... 110 Figure 4.2 Absolute and nett surplus extraction from rural industries (nominal yuan) ............. 121 Figure 5.1 Nominal urban-rural income ratio (rural = 1), 1952-2013 ....................................... 138 Figure 5.2 Gradual demarcation of experimental urban spaces of/for capital accumulation and social regulation ....................................................................................................................... 144 Figure 5.3 In the beginning was…coastal bias? ...................................................................... 148 Figure 5.4 Top 30 inter-provincial migrant flows, 1990-2005 .................................................. 153 Figure 5.5 Changing proportion of de facto rural and urban population in China .................... 154 Figure 5.6 Causes and effects of China’s GDP growth (in current US$), 1960-2012 ............. 154 Figure 5.7 Geographical scope of the three major cross-provincial developmental programs across China ............................................................................................................................ 161 Figure 6.1 New economic-geographical transformations in the Greater Pearl River Delta ..... 172 Figure 6.2 Rare occurrence: full page local government clarification of ‘misunder-standings’ of industrial restructuring in Dongguan in Xinxi Shibao (29 July 2008) ....................................... 184!Figure 6.3 Fixed capital formation in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, 2000-2012  .......... 196 Figure 6.4 GDP growth (total and sectoral) in Guangdong, 1978-2012. ................................. 196 Figure 7.1 Total RMB deposits in Hong Kong, 2004-2013 ...................................................... 214 Figure 7.2 Number of authorized RMB business operators in Hong Kong, 2004-2013.  ........ 214 Figure 7.3 New economic geographies in the (re)making: the confluence of Zhuhai SEZ, Hengqin New Area and Macau SAR ....................................................................................... 220 Figure 7.4 The detailed plan of Hengqin New Area, with indicators of new custom regulatory measures implemented in 2012 .............................................................................................. 221 Figure 7.5 New spatial logics of financial regulation in the GPRD: the emergent functions of Hengqin, Qianhai, Macau and Hong Kong .............................................................................. 232 Figure 7.6 Qianhai New Area (left) and its position within the Shenzhen municipal plan (2010-2020) ....................................................................................................................................... 237 Figure 8.1 Location of Liangjiang New Area (red zone) within Chongqing .............................. 258 Figure 9.1 Fixed Capital Investments and GDP in Chongqing, 1949-2012 ............................. 288 ! ! viii!List of Boxes  Box 2.1 The fiscal origins and contemporary implications of bureaucratic entrepreneurialism . 46 Box 4.1 In the beginning was…socialism? .............................................................................. 102 Box 4.2 Crisis diversion, or mere deferral? Two attempts to sidestep state involution during the Mao-era ................................................................................................................................... 122 Box 5.1 Process of Special Economic Zone formation in China, 1977-1980 .......................... 147 Box 5.2 Evolving logics of financial controls and flows in China, 1949 - present .................... 158 Box 7.1 Is capital account convertibility (un)necessary for capital accumulation? .................. 209 Box 8.1 Eight major state-owned enterprises driving infrastructural development in Chongqing ................................................................................................................................................. 254  ! ix!Acknowledgements !The journey of (self-)discovery over the five years that culminated in this dissertation would not have been possible without the guidance and support of my two supervisors, Professors Trevor Barnes and Jamie Peck. Looking back to the moments before I left Singapore for Vancouver in the spring of 2009, I remember the original research proposal for my graduate school application talked about comparing Macau and Singapore’s gambling industries. It was during the summer of 2009, as I was telling my wife Stephanie about several books by David Harvey that Trevor lent me, that I began to get interested in China’s role in the global system of capitalism. Even so, I did not consider taking on the challenging task of examining the fast-changing economic geographies in China until it was time to draft my dissertation research proposal in the spring of 2011. At the time, an emerging pattern of economic-geographical transformations in China piqued my interest: the designation of ‘nationally strategic new areas’ as frontiers of policy experimentations. Both Trevor and Jamie were particularly encouraging when I mentioned I would like to shift my research focus to examine place-specific experimentation – their subsequent patience and support enabled me to develop a feasible proposal that ultimately led to a highly-rewarding research project. Thank you, Trevor and Jamie, for pushing me all the way. You have been excellent mentors.  Apart from the supervisory support, the friends I made at the Department of Geography in UBC have made me feel truly at home in Vancouver. I enjoyed the regular beer sessions with Noah Quastel, Elliot Siemiatycki, Pablo Mendez and Sébastien Rioux. The discussions at these sessions were always stimulating, and it was an honor to engage with these talented guys. Thank you for being so welcoming from the moment I joined the Department and for helping me so much along the way. I look forward to getting together again. Similarly I always looked forward to the monthly Economic Geography reading group meetings, during which we would discuss cutting edge works and then extend the conversation at the pub. I will miss these meetings. Jim Glassman has been a very supportive faculty and dissertation committee member; his door was always open for me, his smile always reassuring. In the Graduate Program, Suzanne Lawrence and Marwan Hassan (now Head of Department) have given me guidance and support. Over at the National University of Singapore, I am thankful to Professor Henry Yeung, supervisor of my Masters research project, for always believing in me.   Finally, I am eternally grateful to my wife, Stephanie Lim, for her unrelenting support over this period. It is not easy to put everything behind in Singapore and embark on a new journey in a faraway land, but she has done it in the belief that I will do well. She has, in all sense of the word, always been there for me – cooking meals with love, going on long walks, and, most crucially, telling me not to give up when the going got tough. Her dedication in creating a welcoming home was and remains the primary source of comfort for me. I can only hope to repay all her kindness and love in the future.   !! x!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!For my dearest wife,        Stephanie Lim ! 1!Chapter 1 Introduction: A story of (experimental) change  1.1 Introduction  This dissertation tells a story of change in the Chinese political economy. At one level, this tale overlaps a widely accepted narrative of incessant and seemingly inevitable economic growth. Following the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) decision to launch economic ‘reforms and liberalization’ (gaige kaifang) in 1978, the country experienced significant enhancements in domestic standards of living. Over the last three decades, a diverse range of technologies and expertise (e.g. automobiles, medical, IT, solar tech, etc.) has been introduced and adapted by the Chinese populace, leading to further improvements in quality of life. The political commitment to expand productive capacities and lubricate market exchange has seen immense infrastructural upgrades in air, rail and road transport. These developments were reflected in and reinforced in turn by substantial income growth. Per capita GDP in the early 1980s was less than US$300; it increased 20-fold to US$6000 in 2012 1 . In terms of macroeconomic performance, China became the second largest economy in the world in 2010 (after the United States). If there is any consensus amongst politico-economic scholarship on China’s developmental evolution, it is that the rate of socioeconomic transformation in post-1978 China was an unprecedented phenomenon of progress. And the story presented in this dissertation does not aim to deviate far from this consensus: it, too, will be about a Chinese political economy on the up-and-up. As the subsequent chapters will show, however, there is an important nuance to this re-constructed narrative. Rather than present China’s economic growth trajectory as a linear historical process that is an exclusive outcome of market-oriented reforms2 instituted in and after 1978, the dissertation discusses specifically how the post-Mao Chinese state works at various levels to achieve development through the reconfiguration of regulatory relations between the central and local governments. Generated by and expressed through geographically-targeted policy experimentation, the reconfiguration process illustrates the ! 2!logics of policies instituted during the Mao-era (path dependency) but also develops fresh regulatory capacities (path-generation). The shifting spatial forms of socioeconomic regulation thereby simultaneously enable and encumber this growth ‘miracle’.  Beginning with critical analyses of geographically-targeted socioeconomic reforms currently implemented by the Xi Jinping regime (2013-present), the dissertation describes and explains the rationale of these reforms in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) and Chongqing. As is now well-documented, the PRD was the frontier of China’s ‘reform and liberalization’ in the early 1980s, and it remains the leading city-region in export orientation and economic output today. Yet its developmental approach came under pressure during and after the 2008 global financial crisis, which led to a new series of experimental reforms to generate new competitive advantages for this extended metropolitan region. Chongqing, on the other hand, became a reform test bed because it received the short end of Deng Xiaoping’s developmental stick. Home to 30 million residents, the majority classified as ‘agricultural’, and lagging far behind coastal provinces in income and output since 1978, the sprawling city-region was chosen in 2010 as a region to experiment with policies to overturn the (still) widening uneven development across the country. The goal of these analyses, to be sure, is not to focus on experimentation for its own sake. Rather, the emergence of a new round of experimental reforms is taken to be symptomatic of strong underlying problems with national-level socioeconomic regulation. During the buildup to China’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), the Chinese central government issued an unprecedented acknowledgement that its developmental approach is undergirded by ten structural strains (laid out below in Table 1.1). While these challenges were described as outcomes of the post-Mao growth ‘model’, they arguably also enabled this model. The constraints on resource environments, for instance, may be a negative outcome, but it was through the extensive extraction of natural resources and low-cost dumping of waste into the biosphere that generated GDP growth. Similarly, the growth in social contradictions is facilitated by the rollback in rural welfare provision and municipal governments’ corresponding ! 3!denial of (already-minimum) social benefits to rural residents who migrate into and support urban economies. This rollback-cum-denial saved the state and rural collectives massive financial resources, resources that were then ploughed into capital-friendly supply-side measures (Oi, 1999; Whiting, 2001; Wu and He, 2009). The costs of this rollback were borne by rural households and by the ‘floating population’ of migrant workers, albeit in the context of rising incomes. For this reason, the 10 socioeconomic challenges listed in Table 1.1 exemplify the fragile, growth-based social contract on which the Chinese growth ‘model’ rests.  Table 1.1 China’s 10 socioeconomic challenges, identified in the proposal of the 12th 5-Year Plan ! ! 1. Increasing constraints of resource environments 2. Relationship between investment and consumption is        unbalanced 3. Income distribution gap widened 4. Scientific and technical innovation capacity remains weak 5. Asset structure is unsatisfactory 6. Thin and weak agricultural foundation 7. Lack of coordination in urban-rural development 8. Coexistence of contradictory economic structure and        employment pressures 9. Apparent increase in social contradictions 10. Persistent structural and systemic obstacles to scientific        development   !Source: Suggestions on the 12th 5-Year Plan by the Communist Party of China (p. 3, Mandarin document; NDRC, 2010). Author’s compilation and translation from Mandarin.  Just as these challenges were acknowledged officially, it became apparent that the new round of experimental reforms mentioned earlier were beginning to take distinct geographical forms. Specifically, the central government began to designate targeted zones within selected cities as “nationally strategic new areas” (guojia zhanlüe xinqu). New regulatory authorities in these zones were then delegated the power to ‘move first, experiment first’ – known officially as xianxing xianshi quan – with exploratory reforms deemed to be of national significance. In itself, the demarcation of urban frontiers of reform is not a novel process; the key observable difference is the considerable expansion of its scale and scope of implementation since 2006 (see Figure 1.1 and Table 1.2). Following the economic success of the first four Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, the world-renowned Pudong New Area in Shanghai was approved for development in 1990, and has since been ! 4!transformed into a city regional ‘motor’ of China’s economic growth. What is interesting is this strategy to launch “nationally strategic” institutional reforms was not extended elsewhere in China for 14 years until the Binhai industrial region adjacent to the northeastern city of Tianjin was designated China’s second ‘nationally strategic new area’ in 2006.                               Figure 1.1 New frontiers of reforms: China’s “nationally strategic new areas” Source: Author’s illustration.                     ! Nansha New           Area (2012)  ! Pudong New      Area (1990) ! Liangjiang      New Area        (2010) ! Binhai      New Area     (2006) ! Zhoushan      Archipelago     New Area   (2011) ! Lanzhou      New Area     (2012) CHINA   0               250km ! 5!  Table 1.2 China’s ‘nationally-strategic new areas’, 1990-2012  China’s nationally-strategic ‘new areas’ Concise overview  Shanghai Pudong  • The oldest of the new areas, initiated for development in 1990; probably the most widely-known worldwide.  • Now the national base of many TNCs and big domestic firms; a major financial centre; as well as a major global seaport.  • New Shanghai Free Trade Zone within Pudong designated in August 2013; plans underway to extend free trade to the entire Pudong New Area • It is arguably the success and continued transformation of this new area that led China’s central government to formulate similar spatial strategies in other cities.   Tianjin Binhai • Relatively established; was already a designated industrial development zone for several years when it was ‘upgraded’ to zone of ‘national strategic significance’ in 2006.  • Since the ‘upgrade’, perhaps the most high-profile development has been the establishment of Airbus’s first non-EU assembly facility.  • Tianjin has also become a zone of financial innovations. GDP growth per annum has regularly hit or exceeded 20% since 2007. The development of this area is, surprisingly, not covered in much of the social science literature to date.    Chongqing Liangjiang • Officially unveiled as ‘new area’ in June 2010.  • Planning commenced several years before, during to 2006-2010 developmental phase.  • Like Binhai, the area around Chongqing has experienced industrialization in the past decade. It is the first and only inland nationally-strategic new area.  • The primary developmental aim is to redirect more capital flows to the western region, as part of China’s ‘Great Western Opening Up’ strategy. Current plans are to develop high value-added manufacturing capacities and deepening firms’ production chains in the region, as well as experiment with ambitious reforms to enhance social welfare.  • The inclusion of social reforms alongside industrialization strategies have highlighted the tensions associated with socialistic development in contemporary China  Zhejiang Zhoushan Archipelago • Approved for development in July 2011; located off the coast of Ningbo, in Zhejiang province. • Designated to boost the development of China’s ‘oceanic economy’ and ‘land-ocean integration’ (luhai tongchou), it is an intriguing site to examine the commodification of aquatic nature   Gansu Lanzhou • Approved for development in August 2012; located in the arid and mountainous northwestern interior • Integral to the ‘Great Western Opening Up’ strategy: designated to absorb manufacturing industries relocating from coastal provinces  Guangzhou Nansha • Approved for development in September 2012; located at the centre of the Pearl River Delta, just south of downtown Guangzhou, in between two other specially-designated zones, Hengqin (in Zhuhai) and Qianhai (in Shenzhen) • An integral part of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau economic development agreement to enhance the regional integration of the Pearl River Delta (PRD) metropolitan region (yuegangao yitihua) • Aids in the economic restructuring of the PRD as lower-end manufacturing activities relocate due to cost pressures • Expected to experiment in policies regarding China’s financial reforms (jingai) and integration of labor markets between Guangdong province and the Hong Kong and Macau SARs  !Source: Xinhua (11 October 2012). Author’s compilation.    ! 6!From 2009 to 2012, four more ‘new areas’ were demarcated. Two ‘new areas’ are in the western interior, namely Liangjiang New Area in the city of Chongqing and Lanzhou New Area, which overlaps the city of the same name in Gansu province. The other two are located along the coast, namely Zhoushan Archipelago New Area, based offshore in Zhejiang province, and Nansha New Area, strategically positioned between two specialized new zones (Hengqin, in Zhuhai, and Qianhai, in Shenzhen) in the Pearl River Delta. It appears that several more of these ‘nationally strategic new areas’ will be identified across the country in the coming years (Xinhua, 11 October 2012). The acceleration of this seemingly patterned uneven development raises three interrelated questions that drive the research for this dissertation:  • Why and how is the CPC driving state rescaling? • What forms of path-dependency in the post-Mao era are reflected in and through the experimental reforms?  • What kinds of new regulatory capacities are the CPC seeking to attain in the post-Mao era through the experimental reforms? Can these new capacities be extended to the national scale? It would be helpful at this point to be clear that the overarching aim of this dissertation is not to challenge the many persuasive accounts of China’s political-economic transformations over the past 30 years. Through addressing these three research questions, the dissertation hopes to complement and build on extant scholarship on the Chinese political economy by illustrating how spatial configurations strongly influence economic growth and its corollary, state stability. As will be elaborated shortly, actually-existing socio-spatial formations, which include its built environment, administrative boundaries and industrial compositions, actively affect decision-making at different levels of the government. The goal is to study one particular aspect of the decision-making process – the decision to institute experimental geographies of socioeconomic regulation – and connect it to the broader political objectives of economic growth and state stability. In so doing, the dissertation explores how the production and integration of Chinese state space is co-constituted by experimental and inherited institutions to enhance capital ! 7!accumulation. It is from this angle that this dissertation makes its conceptual contribution to existing research on China’s socioeconomic ‘transition’ in the post-Mao era. This introductory chapter will comprise three parts. The next section will explain how the emergent geographies of Chinese state rescaling constitute a prism through which to evaluate socioeconomic change in China. It lays out 1) the three conceptual tools employed to support the analysis, namely state rescaling, policy experimentation and path dependency; and 2) the overarching research design, namely to examine the logics of rescaling specific locations into “nationally strategic new areas”, then to situate the emergence of these logics within broader institutional demands launched during and after the Mao era (e.g. land nationalization, enforced demographic control through the hukou institution, etc.), before re-evaluating the contemporary logics of state rescaling and policy experimentation. Section 1.3 provides an overview of the research design and a concise summary of the individual chapters. It highlights specifically how this dissertation works as an attempt to theorize the past from the lens of the present, and to conceptualize the present through ascertaining how the CPC responds, in geographically-variegated ways, to policies inherited from past regimes. The contributions of the dissertation will be briefly presented in the closing section.   1.2 State rescaling, policy experimentation and the shifting logics of socioeconomic regulation  Three main concepts inform the analysis of this dissertation, namely state rescaling, policy experimentation and path-dependency. Specifically, the production of “nationally strategic new areas” is theorized as integral to and an impact of the multi-dimensional process of state rescaling. State rescaling is defined as the reconfiguration of regulatory relations between the national, subnational and supranational governments, such that what represents the ‘national interest’ is no longer expressed and realized at one scale (i.e. nationwide). Following Peck (2002) and Brenner (2004), this reconfiguration process is viewed as a simultaneous medium and an outcome of political strategies launched at/from different scales. For this reason, the ! 8!discussion does not construe state rescaling as a simple transference of regulatory capacities from a national government to governments or non-governmental entities located at other scales. The notion of ‘transfer’ implies a one-directional movement, whereas in reality state rescaling are effected by strategies that re-define how regulatory power is shared between governments. One of these strategies is the institution of experimental policies in “nationally strategic new areas” across the country.  Before putting the state rescaling concept ‘to work’, a succinct overview of its empirical origins is necessary. The concept was originally developed to understand the transformation of Fordist-Keynesianism, namely the structurally-coherent national economies in post-WWII western Europe. This came about as state spatial strategies are observed to have led to the re-articulation of (nationally-oriented) state spatiality within the global system of capitalism (Peck, 2002, 2003; Brenner, 2004, 2009). Brenner’s (2009: 127) hypothesis in New State Spaces (2004), a major primary book-length reference point for the state rescaling approach, was that “urbanization processes would engender contextually specific forms of sociospatial dislocation and crisis formation, as well as corresponding strategies of political intervention designed to confront the latter.” This essentially means state spatial strategies that qualitatively modified the scalar architectures of western European cities were reactive in the first instance. That scalar reconstruction became necessary was because earlier scaling strategies, in as much as they produced positive regulatory capacities, simultaneously generated constraints on the attainment of new specific socioeconomic objectives. As Brenner (2009b: 128) explains, since the 1990s, new forms of state rescaling have emerged largely in response to the crisis tendencies engendered through the first wave of urban locational policy. This has led to the construction of new scales of state intervention (neighbourhoods, metropolitan regions and transnational interurban networks), to the crystallization of additional crisis tendencies and dislocations and, subsequently, to a further intensification and acceleration of rescaling processes. Processes of state rescaling therefore appear to be animated through regulatory failure.  Primary aspects of “regulatory failure” in western Europe were encapsulated within the dismantlement of what Jessop (1993) terms ‘Keynesian welfare state”. These aspects were the crisis of the welfarist state system; the ‘internationalization’ of previously-Fordist corporations; ! 9!and the “hollowing out” of the state (cf. Rhodes, 1997; Peck, 1996, 2001). For Jessop and Sum (2006: 271, 281), the decline of the national scale as the “taken-for-granted object of economic management” across Atlantic Fordism, the East Asian ‘trading nations’ and important-substituting Latin America marked the emergence of a “relativisation of scale” in socioeconomic regulation, namely “the absence of a dominant nodal point in managing interscalar relations”. Entwined with this scalar reorientation was (and remains) the emergence of a still-in-the-becoming “Schumpeterian Workfare State”. Key characteristics of this new state form, first identified by Jessop (1993), are concentrated in but not exclusive to western Europe and North America.  Specifically, they comprise “the promotion of product, process, organizational, and market innovation; the enhancement of the structural competitiveness of open economies mainly through supply-side intervention; and the subordination of social policy to the demands of labor market flexibility and structural competitiveness” (Jessop, 1993: 9).  As it became clearer that economies would become more functionally integrated at the global scale, Jessop (2002) viewed the Schumpeterian Workfare State as one that has become “post-national”, although how this “post-nationality” is reflected empirically remains an open question and needs to be assessed through specific case studies (see critical discussion in Hay, 2004 and Brenner, 2009). The devolution and outsourcing of central control in this new state form became embedded in the emergence of subnational ‘rule regimes’ – with new politics and socioeconomic policies that involve and impact actors positioned in different scales – in relation to regulatory bodies situated at the national and the global(izing) scales (Peck, 2002; Harrison, 2012; Jonas, 2013). The predominant objective and outcome of state rescaling was and remains the negotiation between different actors to concentrate developmental resources in selected city-regions (Ward and Jonas, 2004; Cox, 2009, 2010; Bayırbağ, 2013).  This dissertation aims to document and explain the deliberations that led to the designation of Hengqin, Qianhai and Liangjiang as “nationally strategic new areas”.   Viewed in relation to its conceptual applicability to the post-Mao Chinese context, certain distinctions must be made regarding the scalar organization of state regulation across ! 10!China during the Mao era. While state rescaling appears similarly as a response to crisis tendencies of Mao-era regulatory logics, post-1949 socioeconomic life was never predicated on a Fordist mode of production and its corresponding state form, the Keynesian welfare state. The primary question that the conceptual origins of state rescaling raises for theorizing state rescaling in China is how the build-up to the allocation of more resources (including labor power, which was literally kept immobilized during the Mao era) to Chinese city-regions was an outcome of earlier regulatory constraints.  As Brenner (2009b: 126) puts it, state scalar structures “are now understood to be historically malleable; they may be ruptured and rewoven through the very political strategies they enable.” The research emphasis, then, is to explore what scalar structures preceded the emergence of city-regions as the primary scales of capital accumulation, what kinds of “political strategies” were “enabled” by earlier waves of scaling strategies, and how these strategies are now the enablers of new waves of scalar reconstructions to consolidate state power. To ascertain this, a robust geographical-historical analysis is necessary. Specifically, the dissertation will first establish the logics of socioeconomic regulation at the national level during the Mao era (ref. section 1.3). It then probes how these logics were layered on and modified by post-Mao strategies that privileged the allocation of capital and labor power to targeted city-regions. The situation of contemporary rescaling tendencies within the history of regulatory reconfiguration in China during the Mao era avoids problems associated with the direct transplant of rescaling frameworks applied to the western European context. By extension, it sidesteps problems associated with periodization by offering a platform to explore the constitutive and constraining effects of inherited policies (more on this shortly). In turn, this approach allows the dissertation to address the following questions: What were the crisis tendencies generated by “first wave” state spatial strategies of the Mao era? How did these tendencies reflect “regulatory failure”, in Brenner’s (2009b: 128) parlance, while they simultaneously enabled the production of new regulatory capacities that were used in turn to drive urban-oriented industrialization over the last three decades?  ! 11!Working in relation to this geographical-historical reconstruction, the dissertation traces the emergence of the “new areas” and explains how this emergence reveals 1) how the sharing of regulatory power is actualized through active negotiation; and 2) how, through the experimental policies instituted in the “new areas”, the ‘national interest’ could potentially be reshaped. These emergent forms are not presented as outcomes of the unidirectional evolution towards meta-governance; they are, rather, expressions of an emergent power-preserving model that reproduces centralized control through decentralization. The outcome is a geographically-sensitive narrative of the contradictions, tensions and struggles involved in generating sustained economic growth in contemporary China.  That decentralization is more than a zero-sum game in post-Mao China is attributed to the Chinese central government’s experimental approach to reforming the spatial logics of socioeconomic regulation (see, e.g. Rawski, 1995; Naughton, 1995; Zhu, 2007). This approach is defined as the institution of reforms that could potentially alter the entire national regulatory structure in selected locations. It differs from the marketizing ‘shock therapy’ transitional approach adopted by economies of the former Soviet ‘socialist’ bloc. Under ‘shock therapy’, the whole national economy gets subjected to drastic changes in socioeconomic regulation: state assets are often sold off swiftly to putatively ‘market actors’ (e.g. in Russia and eastern Europe) while state welfare is rapidly curtailed. The consequence is a situation where the majority of the people were left unemployed by the sudden contraction of the state economic sector and the inability of a nascent market economy to absorb this unemployed population.  Launching market-oriented reforms a decade before the Soviet(-linked) economies, the CPC was aware that changes were needed to achieve transformative change in socioeconomic regulation, but there was uncertainty on what directions to take without undermining its fundamental Marxist-Leninist principles. The end-goal of reforms, as Deng Xiaoping explains in 1978, is to create room for the interaction of relentless experimentation and the resolution of contradictions – it does not follow a predetermined “unified national agenda”: Before a unified national agenda is developed, new methods can be launched from smaller ! 12!parts, from one locality, from one occupation, before gradually expanding them. The central government must allow and encourage these experiments. All sorts of contradictions will emerge during experimentation, we must discover and overcome these contradictions in time. (Deng, 1994: 150; author’s translation)  And what happened through Deng’s tenure in the 1980s and early 1990s exemplified a highly dynamic approach to development that generated qualitatively distinct outcomes. As Rawski (1995: 1152) puts it: China's reforms typically involve what might be termed “enabling measures” rather than compulsory changes. Instead of eliminating price controls, reform gradually raised the share of sales transacted at market prices. Instead of privatization, there was a growing range of firms issuing shares. Production planning does not vanish, but its span of control gradually shrinks. This open-ended approach invites decentralized reactions that the Centre can neither anticipate nor control.  This dissertation argues that the “open-ended” approach continues to define the contemporary spatial logics of socioeconomic regulation in China. Much has changed in post-Mao China, to be sure, but reforms in China remain, in Zhu’s (2007) observation, “without a theory”. “Crucially”, Peck and Zhang (2013: 380) argue, this approach “has meant that endogenous state capacities and centralized party control have been maintained through China’s developmental transformation.” What these recent scholarship suggest is that post-Mao experimental reforms and state rescaling do not lead to absolute autonomy for subnational or supranational governments. Rather, it could be the lack of a “unified national agenda” vis-à-vis dynamic change in the global economy that generates new impetus for experimentation in targeted locations. The important conceptual question, then, pertains to the ability of the experimental approach to transcend the limits of inherited institutions and/or repurpose these institutions to meet the demands of contemporary regulation. While policy experimentation is never launched with the aim to conserve old regulatory logics, the fact that experiments continue to be “contained” within strategically selected spaces strongly suggests it is not easy to overcome regulatory logics inherited from previous regimes. For instance, the 1958 ‘household registration’ or hukou institution continues to deny social benefits to rural migrants. This has inevitably generated social discontent and created longstanding speculations about its removal (Chan and Buckingham, 2008; Fan, 2008). Such is ! 13!the anger at this institution, 13 major newspapers took the unprecedented step of publishing a joint front-page editorial on 1 March 2010 – just before the annual ‘two meetings’ of top CPC delegates in Beijing – calling for its immediate removal. The reforms in Liangjiang New Area marked a tentative step in this direction, as Chapters 8 and 9 will elaborate, but there remains no progress at the national level. Similarly, the preexisting state monopoly on financial capital supply – a Mao era legacy – precludes many private investors from accessing capital from the formal financial market. While the financial system has widely adopted management mechanisms employed by market economies after the ‘reforms and liberalization’ of 1978 (e.g. the public listing of banks, issuance of bonds, separation of owners from management, etc.), the entire system continues to be a function of party developmental goals (see Tsai, 2004; Walter and Howie, 2011). Taken together, these phenomena strongly suggest it has not been easy for the CPC to relinquish Mao-era regulatory logics. And it is for this reason that the contemporary reforms also reflect the constraints of institutional path-dependency.   Given that ‘path dependency’ has evolved into a widely used – and increasingly unclear – concept, it would be useful to define how the term is applied in the subsequent discussion. Arguably the most common definition of path dependence is the dependence of current and future actions/decisions on the outcomes of previous actions or decisions. As Page (2006: 89) puts it, path dependence “requires a build-up of behavioral routines, social connections, or cognitive structures around an institution.” The formation of a path is commonly taken to be an accidental outcome; a chance event. Central to this process is the eventual formation of institutional “lock in”, in which a practice or policy becomes effective or feasible because a large number of people have adopted or become used to this practice or policy. Any drastic alterations to the path, even if the available alternatives were inherently superior to the existing institutional practices, would thus encounter resistance3 from groups of ‘locked in’ actors (in the Chinese context, senior politicians in the Politburo, ministries, state-owned enterprises, village collectives, etc.) whose interests would be compromised by the proposed changes.  ! 14!The key empirical question of the dissertation is to ascertain and explain how the rationale of state rescaling and impacts of policy experimentation in China interact with geographically-variegated developmental pathways instituted by earlier regimes. At one level, the concept of path dependency is an attractive tool to explain this interaction. In exchange for retaining some Mao-era institutions, it could be argued that domestic economic actors gained more ‘freedom’ to accumulate capital, in turn deepening the dependence on these institutions even in the face of their limitations (see Chapters 4 and 5). And it is within this path-dependent context that the contemporary “nationally strategic” reforms are situated (see Chapters 6 to 9). At another level, however, the conceptual application of ‘path dependency’ in this dissertation was mindful of some of its biggest problems. One major problem is the lack of research focus on the “build up”, in Page’s (2006) parlance, to the formation of path-setting institutions. Developing this point, Peters et al (2005) argue that there exists a tendency in research on institutional path-dependence to accord history a logical trajectory, or “retrospective rationality”, such that available alternatives and political conflicts that occurred in tandem with the actual occurrences of historical processes are neglected. It is important, argue Peter et al (2005: 1282), to be cognizant “that prediction of persistence does not help at all in understanding institutional change.”  To theorize “change in a world of persistence”, Peters et al (2005) propose examining the process of policy initiation; the political actors involved in the build up to the policy; policy evolution; the generation of ideas around the new institutions; and the dynamic interaction between structure and agency. This broader focus could potentially advance concepts of path-dependency to an extent that it becomes equally capable of explaining change as it does persistence: Arguably, a theory that is suitable as an organizing frame for at least part of the social sciences needs to be able to explain a range of outcomes. Whether or not change is the ubiquitous phenomenon that some scholars argue it to be, it is certainly an important phenomenon and a theory should be able to cope with it adequately. (Peters et al, 2005: 1288)  Taking these points into consideration, this dissertation developed and put into practice a conceptual framework that is capable of explaining “a range of outcomes” associated with ! 15!policy experimentation and state rescaling in China (ref. Chapter 2). At this juncture, it would be helpful to clarify how this framework is positioned vis-à-vis the broad and relatively mature literature on ‘government’, ‘governance’ and ‘meta-governance’. Contemporary socioeconomic regulation in advanced economies is taken to have departed from the traditional mode of ‘government’, namely the central and commanding way in which the state organizes and controls its subsidiary governmental and non-governmental institutions. Two major characteristics comprise this governmental mode of regulation: 1) stakeholders in the policy formulation process are narrowly confined to actors that are state-linked (e.g. bureaucrats, administrative institutions, state-owned enterprises, etc.) and/or state-endorsed (e.g. non-governmental organizations and business associations); and 2) political power flows in a hierarchical, top-down fashion. With the intensification of globalizing processes in the late 1970s, a new mode of socioeconomic regulation conceptualized as ‘governance’ has emerged. Governance is defined as a regulatory mode that no longer privileges state-linked and state-endorsed actors in the establishment and execution of policies; a wider range of organizations including corporations, NGOs and supra-national organizations like the World Trade Organization negotiate and share regulatory power with the state. Political power flows across different regulatory ‘networks’ – or ‘heterarchies’ – rather than in one clearly defined hierarchy (Rhodes, 1997; Jessop, 1995, 1998; Peters and Pierre, 1998). The emergence of ‘governance’ led to further debates on whether a zero-sum regulatory phenomenon has ensued (i.e. more governance leads to less government). This in turn led scholars of socioeconomic regulation to develop the concept of ‘meta-governance’, which is taken to be a dynamic regulatory process in which ‘self-organization’ (governance) remains ‘organized’ (government). By Jessop’s (1998: 19) definition, meta-governance refers to the facilitation of “self-organization in different fields” and “also the relative coherence of the diverse objectives, spatial and temporal horizons, actions and outcomes of various self-organizing arrangements”. For Sorensen (2006: 102), meta-governance is driven “not only by state actors but also by various networks of public and private actors and a whole range of ! 16!supranational, regional, and local levels in the formal political system”. In terms of geographical expression, write Jessop and Sum (2006: 267), metagovernance is a multi-scalar process: it “is reflected in the continuing redesign, rescaling and adaptation of the state apparatus, sometimes more ruptural, sometimes more continuous, and the manner in which it is embedded within the wider political system.” Viewed in relation to this literature, the key conceptual question is whether state rescaling and policy experimentation (as a form of adaptive governance) represents or perhaps even facilitates a departure from ‘government’ to ‘governance’ and/or meta-governance. At one level, the designation and production of “nationally strategic new areas” as experimental regulatory platforms can be construed as an expression of “meta-governance”. Each new area represents a unique experimental zone, or, in Jessop’s term (1998: 19), a different “field”, within which state actors possess relative autonomy to form new regulatory networks with non-state actors in different locations. The very necessity to form these new regulatory networks beyond the sphere of the party-state apparatus indicates growing interdependence with other economic and extra-economic actors. The critical aspect of this scalar shift is that it indicates the evolution of party-state regulation across China into a multi-level, multi-actor process. In the build-up to and after the formation of Liangjiang New Area, for instance, the Chongqing government was proactively seeking to alter the geographies of transnational production networks through negotiating directly with transnational lead firms like Hewlett Packard and their suppliers like Foxconn (ref. Chapter 8). It was also working simultaneously with the central government and the national governments of Kazakhstan, Russia and parts of the EU to push through a now-functioning trans-continental railway. That this development was never anticipated by the Chinese central government reinforces Jessop’s (2002) view of meta-governance as operating in a context of ‘negotiated decision-making’. It also supports Sorensen’s (2006: 102) view of meta-governance as involving “a whole range of supranational, regional and local levels in the formal political systems”.  ! 17!At another level, however, these new experimental zones remain constrained by developmental paths established by previous rule regimes. As Chapters 6 and 8 will show, the designation of these new experimental territories does occur “in the shadow of hierarchy”, as Scharpf (1994: 40) views negotiations with non-state actors ‘embedded’ within pre-existing state structures. Indeed, as a process involving key CPC cadres like Wang Yang and Bo Xilai, state rescaling is integral to the reproduction of hierarchy (cf. Li and Wu, 2012; Su, 2012). This is because the designation of experimental objectives in each new area is contingent on the approval of agencies linked to the central government. This phenomenon contradicts one characteristic of meta-governance, namely “the shaping of the context within which heterarchies can be forged rather than developing specific strategies and initiatives for them” (Jessop, 1998: 42). Not only is the forging of ‘heterarchies’ through scalar reconstruction and policy experimentation a strategy in itself, the types of policies to be reintroduced in the new regulatory spaces were connected to broader strategic considerations of national-level agencies. Given that the regulatory bureaus of the ‘new areas’ undertake reforms to fulfill specific aspects of a ‘national strategy’, what constitutes state rescaling in China is not a form of meta-governance that represents an “alternative” to hierarchical control (contra Sorensen, 2006: 102). Neither is state rescaling a necessary step towards more democratic establishment and attainment of socioeconomic objectives (contra Sorensen and Torfing, 2009). The emergent processes in these experimental zones exemplify a mix of hierarchical control and heterogeneous regulatory networks, the latter being to some extent a function of the former. Specifically, the proactive establishment of spaces of policy experimentation provides fresh conduits for the Chinese central government to achieve “specific strategies and initiatives” while leaving, at the same time, the flexibility to contain any experimental effects that could destabilize existing policies deemed fundamental to reproducing national-scale structural coherence. This flexible regulatory capacity echoes Bӧrzel’s (2011: 58) caution against “reifying ! 18!networks as omnipresent governance forms and treating them as governance panacea”. It also corresponds with Jessop’s (2003: 4, emphases added) observation that although various governance mechanisms may acquire specific techno-economic, political, and/or ideological functions, the state typically monitors their effects on its own capacity to secure social cohesion in divided societies. It reserves to itself the right to open, close, juggle, and re-articulate governance arrangements not only in terms of particular functions but also from the viewpoint of partisan and overall political advantage.  In view of this retained “right” of the state to reproduce its “partisan and overall political advantage”, the dissertation’s conceptual emphasis on path-dependency indicates how state rescaling in contemporary China is not about the straightforward reassertion of hierarchical control over the national political economy. Hierarchical control never disappeared. What has changed, rather, is the active reconfiguration of top-down regulation through geographically-targeted policy experimentation in relation to the demands and pressures of events emergent at various scales. Instances of these events include the socialist internationalization drive of the 1950s, geopolitical threats in the 1950s through to the early 1970s, persistent religious conflicts in Tibet and Xinjiang, pressures from global regulatory regimes to further ‘liberalize’ markets after the 2008 global financial crisis, etc. Flows of political power and control were affected, leading in turn to experimental strategies to reconstitute that power. As mentioned previously, the extent of the reconstitutive process is triggered by and an outcome of policies inherited from earlier national rule regimes. Policies instituted by these regimes may have encountered constraints in the current conjuncture, triggering further reforms. One particular constraint is path-dependency. If many interest groups stand to benefit from the place-specific paths established by earlier policies, resistance to change is likely to be significant. Set within the broader macroeconomic and socio-democratic pressures of/for change, the tensions between the actors pushing for geographically-targeted reforms and those against change would thereby strongly determine whether the ‘miraculous’ economic growth of the past three decades could continue in China. And it is for this reason that the dissertation will focus on illustrating the politics during the build-up to and after the formation of the “nationally strategic new areas” in the Pearl River Delta and Chongqing. ! 19!In addition, state rescaling is not delimited to a key characteristic of ‘governance’, namely that of “de-centred context-mediated steering” (ref. Jessop, 1998: 36). Rescaling is context-mediated, to be sure, but its end-goal is – or, at least in the post-1949 Chinese context, has to be – about the attainment of objectives that were instituted to sustain CPC state power (cf. Chapters 2 and 4). Objectives of relevance to the discussion in this dissertation are the interrelated ideological commitments to ‘Common Affluence’ and socio-spatial egalitarianism. This aspect demands further attention for one key reason: the ability of the Chinese central government to reproduce its control over the national political economy is contingent on the success (or failure) of geographically-targeted policy experimentation, yet it is unclear if the formation of new multi-level and multi-actor regulatory networks between economic (including SOEs and TNCs) and extra-economic institutions (e.g. the Qianhai Bureau) would allow the central government to achieve its strategic objectives (e.g. the post-2008 attempt to ‘internationalize’ the RMB, the management of demographic urbanization, macro-scale industrial restructuring, etc.).  In view of these considerations, the dissertation established a research design that explored the formation of new governance platforms (expressed in and through the ‘nationally strategic new areas’), how the new experimental policies unfold in these platforms, and, by extension, whether the inherited regulatory logics are jettisoned or repurposed. Specifically, the approach to data collection and analysis allows for an understanding of 1) how specific institutions were formed in the Mao era through spatial reconfiguration; 2) how this reconfiguration reproduced rather than reduced uneven development; and 3) how these institutions became increasingly untenable in the post-Mao era because experimental policies generated variegated developmental pathways across the country. The primary presupposition of this research design is that institutional emergence and evolution in China are not outcomes of ‘accidents’ or ‘chance events’ – institutions have geographies, and these geographies are actively produced and contested (see Peck, 2002; Martin, 2010). How this research design sets up the remaining chapters of this dissertation will be discussed in the next section. ! 20!1.3 The research design and dissertation outline  1.3.1 The research design  Because of this dynamic interaction between the pre-established institutional practices and place-specific reform initiatives, attempts at path-changing policy experimentation could in fact undermine change by generating new political, economic and/or social problems. It is for this reason that the production of new spaces of policy experiments across China is geographically confined. After all, the geographical delimitation of experimental reforms makes it possible – at least in theory – to reverse change if things go wrong. To gain a more incisive understanding of this dynamic interaction would thus entail a research design that sets up the analysis of how experimentation in the “nationally strategic new areas”, effected through state rescaling, interacts with and (potentially) transforms path dependency. This section presents the outline of this research design and the chapters that were consequently developed. The empirical discussion will be presented in two parts. The first part comprises a geographical-historical re-evaluation of regulatory strategies launched since the Mao era, and the second analyses of contemporary cases of state rescaling and policy experimentation. To produce a coherent and integrated narrative, the primary challenge was to craft and put into practice a research design that could dynamically connect the two parts so that the present could offer distinct avenues to analyze the past, and the resultant geographical-historical analysis could re-inform theorizations of the present. In so doing, this mutually-reinforcing research design could avoid positioning the post-Mao ‘transitional’ present as something like the opposite to the Maoist past.  By extension, it would not construe institutions inherited from the Mao era as fixed constraints for an evolution towards deepening marketization and its putative corollary, political democracy.  The two-part research process is presented diagrammatically in Figure 1.2. The first half of the research process, as the top arc in Figure 1.2 shows, began in 2011 with observations that experimental policies were introduced in selected city-regions (i.e. the Pearl River Delta and Chongqing). It was at this point that research questions began to develop, and an attempt ! 21!was made to deepen understanding of these reforms through the collection and analyses of the new policies. Soon it became clearer that the designation of Hengqin, Qianhai and Liangjiang New Areas exemplified two broader – and potentially contradictory – economic-geographical imperatives confronting the CPC, namely a) the political need to fulfill Deng Xiaoping’s promise to manage uneven development and drive the spatial equalization of living standards across China and b) the challenge of building growth-enabling institutions under conditions of political uncertainty and stark differences in productive potential between the industrialized coastal city-regions and the predominantly agrarian western interior. This called for more research on the policies that came before, which led to the second part of the research design. The objective of this second part is to produce a reconstructed geographical-historical narrative that illustrates inherited spatial projects and strategies that enabled, guided, channeled and constrained this most recent round of regulatory reforms (ref. bottom arc in Figure 1.2). This objective had a direct impact on the fieldwork, as the focus was not only to understand the implications of current reforms, but also to derive more information on and interpretations of policies implemented as far back as the Mao era. In this regard, the geographical-historical exploration is anchored to the present. To be presented in Chapters 4 and 5, the discussion demonstrates how reforms in the “new areas” affect and are affected by three major Mao era policies, namely land nationalization, the People’s Communes and the hukou system of population control. Conceptually, this reconstructed narrative allowed for an exploration of the extent to which institutional path-dependency contributed to state rescaling and policy experimentation in post-Mao China.        ! 22!                     Figure 1.2 Overview of the research design How the remaining chapters constitute and fit into these two parts of the dissertation will be presented in the next three subsections. The rationale of the literature review, conceptual framework and research methods will be summarized in section 1.3.2. Section 1.3.3 will discuss the contributions of Chapters 4 and 5 (the geographical-historical analysis); Chapters 6 to 10 (the cases and conclusion) will be summarized in section 1.3.3. As mentioned earlier, the case studies of contemporary rescaling and the re-evaluation of Mao-era policies of socioeconomic regulation are to be read as dynamic components of a broader theorization process: one component draws from and informs the other. Interwoven through both components is the overarching thesis of this dissertation: each new layer of spatial reconfiguration and policy experimentation illustrates a fundamental attempt to augment central control by way of decentralized governance.  The Chinese economic ‘miracle’ as interactions of successive regulatory layers implemented unevenly over state spatiality Theorize Evaluate Contemporary socioeconomic reforms in “nationally strategic new areas” Identify institutions inherited  from earlier spatial projects Probe the significance of these institutions in earlier spatial projects ! 23!1.3.2 The constitutive framework and research methods: Chapters 2 and 3 On reflection, the dissertation design became clearer following an extensive literature review of centralization-decentralization governance in China and the role of instituted uneven development as constituent and consequence of developmental strategies. Presented in Chapter 2, the primary purpose of these reviews was to determine the extent to which 1978 marked significant shifts in regulatory approach as well as a move towards increasing uneven development. Making clear connections and divergences between regulatory approaches of the Mao- and post-Mao CPC regimes, the review called for a more incisive appraisal of the extent to which these reforms mark a path-generating attempt or, perhaps counter-intuitively, whether they perpetuate regulatory logics instituted in the Mao-era. To do so, the chapter develops a conceptual framework that examines state rescaling as a dynamic process driven by actor-specific political agendas and the constraints of inherited institutions. Aimed at offering a historically sensitive mapping, the framework builds on and develops concepts by rescaling scholars, namely Swyngedouw (1996, 1997), Peck (2002, 2003) and Brenner (2004, 2009). Specifically, it calls attention to the political, social and economic implications of state rescaling. The research methods and critical reflections on the data collection process will be presented in Chapter 3. The chapter explains how the research exemplifies what Peck (2005: 132) terms the “dirty hands” approach to socioeconomic research, namely the production of “empirically rich accounts of concrete and socially-situated processes” in which “history is taken seriously”. Specifically, the research drew on and brought together a broad range of empirical materials that include interviews with state-linked planners, policy documents, newspapers and literature published in China, etc. Data collection began with the collection of policy reports and news articles in the second half of 2011. This was followed by three separate field visits to Beijing, Chongqing and the Pearl River Delta in 2012 and 2013. During the intermittent periods between these field visits, attempts were made to build on the first-hand data through the collection of historical and statistical materials. The chapter concludes by explaining why the triangulation between data sources is more than just the application of mixed methods for its ! 24!own sake – it is a necessary maneuver within a Chinese context where first-hand information from key policymakers are not easy to come by.  1.3.3 The geographical-historical conditions of central control: Chapters 4 and 5 Working in relation to the empirical materials collected for the contemporary case analyses, Chapters 4 and 5 evaluate the politics and policies that made possible the restructuring present. These chapters explain how the ‘miraculous’ outcome of post-1978 ‘reforms and liberalization’ is in effect a partial re-expression of regulatory competencies developed in the Mao-era. “To understand China’s post-1978 economic boom”, Gore (1999: 25) argues, “our