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Schwartz, "China's periphery in perspective: A comparative look at the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and Shenzhen Special Economic Zone," 2004

USC thesis in Minority Groups.
August 24, 2009

Juli C. Schwartz, M.A.

Abstract (Summary)
There are useful conclusions to be reached from comparative analysis even when the subjects being compared seem altogether different from one another. The Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone share commonalities, despite social, historical and geographical differences. First, they are both territorial units, with interior boundaries that are designed to separate those inside from those outside. Second, because they are situated in close proximity to national borders, they are greatly influenced by cultural and economic metropoles on the other side. And most importantly, their relationships with Beijing exhibit patterns that fit within a center-periphery framework. These relationships are constantly changing, depending on the mix of centripetal and centrifugal forces currently at work. Ultimately, it is the author's contention that the situations of Yanbian and Shenzhen are representative of a larger phenomenon in China where actors, practices and policies emerge and evolve without achieving fundamental, qualitative change.

Advisor: Berger, Gordon