Spatial restructuring through poverty alleviation resettlement in rural China

Tek Sheng Kevin LO, Longyi Xue*, Mark Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

126 Citations (Scopus)


Poverty alleviation resettlement (PAR) is one of China's key poverty reduction initiatives. Through this state-led resettlement programme, the government aims to improve the living standards and access to infrastructure and services of the rural poor. This paper examines PAR from the perspective of spatial restructuring through a household survey conducted in Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces. A total of 30 resettlement sites were examined. The results show that PAR has two spatial forms: long-distance resettlement, which resettles people to cities or towns, and short-distance resettlement, which resettles people within the administrative boundaries of their village or to a nearby village. Furthermore, the type of spatial restructuring is an important factor shaping the outcome of resettlement. While long-distance resettlement outperforms short-distance resettlement in terms of gains in income, the advantage is offset by higher post-resettlement expenses. Furthermore, long-distance resettlers face a greater challenge in securing non-agricultural employment. Consequently, the level of satisfaction is lower among long-distance resettlers. Significant challenges remain to be addressed for both types of resettlement, including establishing two-way communication between villagers and the government about resettlement plans and providing better financial support for the resettlers, safeguards for the livelihoods of non-movers, and post-resettlement support programmes to help resettlers adjust to their new environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-505
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Poverty alleviation resettlement
  • Rural China
  • Spatial restructuring


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