Turning Crises into Opportunities? Post-disaster Management in Contemporary China

Project: Research project

Project Details


Disasters are often thought to stimulate learning and bring about change. However, when thorny political issues arise in this process, the prospects for learning and change become obscure. This project seeks to understand the impact of various natural and man-made disasters on policy and governing practices in contemporary China. Have policymakers and bureaucrats taken advantage of the window of opportunity that the various disasters had tended to open, and if so, how? How did the political structure affect the outcomes? Particular research attention will be paid to 1) intragovernmental relations in reconstruction, 2) different modes of post-disaster management, e.g., reactive or preventive, stagnant or developmental, myopic or hyperopic, 3) the role played by nonstate actors like NGOs and civic groups in the process of recovery, and 4) the impact of an increasingly integrated international community on China’s practices.

Two major tasks are expected to be accomplished at the end of this project: First, a database of China’s post-disaster management since 2000 will be built; Second, in- depth analysis of eight cases from four regions in China will be conducted for identifying the micro processes and causal chains that have led to different types of post-disaster change in policy and governance.

This proposed study will contribute to our understanding of the “constructive” force of disasters which constantly reshapes human society. Moreover, through examining the strategies as well as difficulties of the Chinese government in coping with stressful conditions, this research will provide a fresh interpretation of the “resilience” of the regime and account for the adaptation endeavors by the government in a new world milieu featured by globalization and ever-advancing communication technologies.
Effective start/end date1/01/1530/06/18

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.