China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
China’s post-Mao evolution has been studied as a process of spatial reconfiguration, whether it be neoliberal state rescaling (Lim 2017), point-to-surface experimentation (Heilmann 2008), establishment of zones of exception (Ong 2004), decentralized territorial competition (Ngo, Yin and Tang 2017; Chien and Gordon 2008), etc. A main conclusion from the literature is that the Chinese political economy is a “disparate and inherently unstable territorial mosaic” (Lim 2018). The aim of this panel is to investigate how such a mosaic has transformed under Xi Jinping, who has created new geographies of governance, including the Belt and Road Initiative, city-clusters, high-tech parks, etc. These three strategic spaces are examined by our panelists using theoretical frameworks in critical geography (planning and state rescaling), public administration (multiple streams framework) and international relations (grand strategy). In order to identify the logic of spatial reconfiguration under Xi, our three papers collectively answer two questions. Firstly, what are the new political and economic regulatory relations in these strategic spaces? Second, how are these relations shaped by the interaction of different levels of government, businesses, and society at large? Each of our paper addresses these questions based on detailed case studies drawn from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which is destined by Beijing as a national development priority, and has always troubled the authorities by its strong tradition of local protectionism, from Hong Kong’s resistance to integration with the Mainland to lax regulation in Shenzhen, as is evident from the widespread existence of semi-legal urban villages.