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Shaken AuthorityChina's Communist Party and the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake$
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Christian P. Sorace

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501707537

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501707537.001.0001

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The Ideological Pursuit of Ecology

The Ideological Pursuit of Ecology

Qingchuan County

(p.124) 6 The Ideological Pursuit of Ecology
Shaken Authority

Christian P. Sorace

Cornell University Press

This chapter introduces a relatively new concept in the Chinese Communist Party's political vocabulary: “ecological civilization” (shengtai wenming), which offers a new metric of development apart from growth. Several years before the Sichuan earthquake, Qingchuan County was promoted by local officials and the media as an ecological society and an experimental pioneer in rethinking development in ecological terms. Qingchuan's ecological consciousness and dialectical strategy of protecting the environment and advancing the economy were said to differentiate it from other agricultural counties. This new discourse transformed Qingchuan's developmental constraints into political advantages. Among the most remote and impoverished counties in the earthquake zone, Qingchuan designed a reconstruction plan that would capitalize on environmental protection, forest conservation, and green modes of agricultural production. Using the case of Qingchuan, the chapter highlights the enormous obstacles for recasting not only production practices but also the very definition of economic development.

Keywords:   ecological civilization, Chinese Communist Party, Sichuan earthquake, Qingchuan County, reconstruction, environmental protection, forest conservation, agricultural production, economic development

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