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Local Environmental Politics in China: Explaining Policies Implementation Gap and assessing its implications

USCI's postdoctoral fellow, Ran Ran, will examine China's environmental policies.

February 11, 2010 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Environmental deterioration, particularly since the booming economic development in recent 30 years, has generated tremendous social economic, public health, and security problems in China which have had complex political implications not only in domestic but also in the international realm. A paradoxical problem is: on the one side, Chinese authorities show great awareness of environmental problems and provide a high-quality framework for pursuing sustainable development by constructing a comprehensive and modern set of environmental policies. However, on the other side, many of the environmental policies have produced outcomes with little concrete effect. This research defines the difference between the central government’s official environmental policies and these policies’ practical outcomes at the local levels as the “environmental policy implementation gap”. Based on  fieldwork in three cities in China and documentary analysis, this research seeks to explore the dynamics of the environmental policy implementation gap at local levels in China, and its implication for Party-State legitimacy and “authoritarian resilience”.