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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The water margin : security and securitization in China's water crisis Chen, Yunnan


It is increasingly apparent that China’s freshwater availability and supply are becoming a serious constraint upon its developmental and human needs – to the point of internal crisis, as supply is set to peak by 2030. This has been a running trend alongside other environmental problems caused by the economic boom. Whilst China has made significant inroads in tackling water and environmental issues, this paper argues that water has been treated as a security issue in rhetoric and action. This paper employs the Copenhagen School framework to analyse how the government has securitized water resources, and also attempts to analyse the rationale and interests behind its response, using the lens of fragmented authoritarianism to explain the diverse emergent responses to water shortage within the state. The supply-side strategies the Chinese state has espoused as part of the securitization of water are also shown to be detrimental to its other environmental goals and political interests.

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