Thesis Title: Rethinking sustainability: a case study of state-led bamboo forest governance and sustainability in Lin’an China between 1949 and 2012
Primary Supervisor: Dr. Andrew Flynn
Secondary Supervisor: Dr. Yu Li
Reviewer: Professor Terry Marsden
Starting Date: 1/10/2011
Completion Date: 30/9/2014
Funding Source: The President’s Research Scholarship
- MA, University of Calgary, Canada (2011)
- BA Hons (First Class Honours), Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong (2007)
Kin Wing (Ray) Chan is a PhD researcher, studying at the Cardiff University’s School of Planning and Geography. His doctoral research is to examine the governance and sustainability of the bamboo production industry in Lin’an, China. He is currently (2013-2014) completing his doctoral dissertation and publishing his master thesis.
Prior to studying at the Cardiff University, Ray has received both geographical and anthropological research trainings at the University of Calgary with Dr. Byron Miller, and Professors Alan Smart, and Josephine Smart. Ray participated in urban renewal, citizen participation, and urban sustainability projects both at the Hong Kong Baptist University with Prof. Wing-Sing, Tang, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University with Dr. Chi-Wai, Yeung between 2007 and 2010. In 2004-2005, Ray received Lam and East Exchange Study Scholarship to study at the Ohio University and worked at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. USA. These previous research trainings equipped Ray with cross-disciplinary capabilities, global-local outlooks, and multi-cultural awareness. Ray is also indebted and grateful to the inspirations from Dr. Maria Lai-Ling, Lam, Mrs. Alice Lam, Dr. Martha Cook, Prof. Carolyn Cartier, Dr. Conny Davidsen, and Dr. Nancy Bain. These skills and friendships are crucial for Ray to conduct grounded research in China, Canada, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom.
Until recently, Ray has developed his bamboo research with urban planners and bamboo experts in Cardiff, Hangzhou, Lin’an, and Beijing.
2011. Abstract Selection Committee, Canadian Assoc. of Geographers Conference Dept. of Geography, the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Honors and Fellowships
2011-2013. President’s Research Scholarship (Cardiff University, UK)
2011. Outstanding Masters Student Presentation Award (U of Calgary, Canada)
2011. Thesis Research Grant Graduate Award (U of Calgary, Canada)
2009-2011. Geography Excellence Award (U of Calgary, Canada)
2009-2011. Faculty of Graduate Studies Research Scholarship (U of Calgary, Canada)
2007. Hong Kong Housing Society Bursary Award (HK)
2007. Epson Foundation Scholarship Fund (H.K. Territory)
2006. The American Chamber Charitable Foundation Prize Book Award (HK-USA)
2006. Hong Kong Baptist University Geography Alumni Scholarship
2005-2006. Agricultural Products Scholarship Fund (HK)
2004. Lam and East Exchange Study Scholarship at Ohio University, U.S.
2003. The Best Project Competition of the Hong Kong Young Ambassador
2000. Outstanding speaker in the Hong Kong Radio Youth Talk (RTHK)
2013. President’s Research Scholarship Interview, Cardiff, U.K.
2012. President’s Research Scholarship Interview, Cardiff, U.K.
2007. Sustainable City Tour, South China Morning Post, H.K.
2007. Community engagement and conservation, HK commercial daily, H.K.
Bamboo production and consumption have presented a shift of food values, rural-urban linkages, and human-nature relations under China’s modernization. My research aims at addressing the major actors concerning sustainability and multi-faceted dynamics in the bamboo governance in Lin’an, China.
My central research question is how state policy instruments influence the modes of production in the bamboo production industry in the post 1978 reform rural China? It addresses the interconnections between bamboo governance and rural transition. In so doing, the researcher employs both vertical and horizontal dimensions; (1) examine how central-local state’s policies are functioning in the forestry administrative system, (2) elucidate how state and non-state actors make use of bamboo materials to implement and achieve political, socio-economic, and ecological goals.
In the study of conceptual impact on bamboo governance, this research contributes four major ways:
- Understanding bamboo policies’ practices, implementations, and tensions
- Engaging farmers and officials to co-produce knowledge & ponder alternatives
- Exploring and enlarging the value capture in the bamboo commodity chain for China’s pro-poor policy implications
- Promoting the social and ecological values of bamboo to policymakers, academia, general public, and communities in both China and other developing countries
Bamboo is a multi-purpose crop. This project calls for rethinking the role of bamboo as both material and social resources in rural China with the goal of searching for an adaptable developmental model to achieve socio-economic and environmental sustainability.
Field study sites
The researcher selected two villages in Lin’ an, Tai Wu Yuen Township - the hub of the Chinese bamboo shoot production: Bai Sha village on a mountaintop and Xia Gao village in a river valley. The researcher conducted 80 semi-structured surveys with bamboo farmers; there were 60-indepth interviews with state actors, farmer representatives, entrepreneurs, co-ops, traders, middlemen, forestry experts, and NGOs. In addition, reliable and substantial secondary data such as GIS data and forestry change data were collected from the county, provincial, and national level of government.
Areas of Research Interest
- Bamboo production
- Environmental governance
- China sustainability
- Governmentality and pig farming
Let the voiceless speak and make impacts through research
Conducting research is a humbling process which allows the researcher to exchange ideas, integrate knowhow, and engage with public to co-produce knowledge. Upholding research ethics, integrity, and passion are the abiding values for me to help the voiceless speak and make impacts though research. My research focuses on ecological transition, social marginalization, and environmental governance in both bamboo and pig production industries in China and Hong Kong. Studying these sectors provide lens to examine the role of state and the responses of farmers under China’s modernization.
Bamboo governance, pro-poor capacity, and sustainability
My research aspiration in bamboo began with my dialogues with bamboo farmers and bamboo experts in China. Inspired by Dr. Andrew Flynn, Dr. Yu Li, and Prof. Terry Marsden, my bamboo research is to examine how state policy instruments influence the modes of production in the bamboo production industry in the post 1978 reform of rural China. After two field studies in Lin’an county, I have strong aspirations to understand how does the local state govern the bamboo production industry to achieve political, socio-economic, and ecological purposes? How can state and non-state actors in Lin’an utilize bamboo to eliminate barren hills and soil erosion (ecological functions), alleviate rural poverty, and create a bamboo economy (social functions), and fulfill the central state forestry’s guidance and directives (political function)?
Governmentality and pig farming
My concern for agro-food systems stems from my parents’ pig farm work. Based on my personal experience, I have witnessed how government policies and market demands have propelled changes in farm modernization, and restructured the pig industry in Hong Kong. I feel there is a need to document how pig farmers negotiate with the government in land resumption and help farmers in H.K. to voice their concerns through researching and my Master’s Thesis. My master thesis contributes to the understanding of how government policies (1950-2008) have affected the Hong Kong pig farming industry.
In this research, I argue that there are three major forms of governmentality of pig farming. In the first form of the governmentality of pig farming, the governing institutions used the Farm Improvement Program (1950-1970) to create a new pig farming order and basis for pig farming knowledge, with the intent of converting refugee farmers into productive farmers during the British colonial period. In the second form of the governmentality of pig farming, the governing institutions advocated the Livestock Waste Control Scheme (1987-1997) to remove indiscriminately pig waste discharge practices and produce environmentally-friendly farmers in order to give way for new town development in the 1980s. In the third form of the governmentality of pig farming, the governing institutions employed the License Buy Back Scheme (2006-2007) to control the whole pig farming industry and develop a new system of sanitary regulations to produce the subjectivity of sanitary farmers with the goal of safeguarding the financial economy for global capital and tourism.
Participated Research Projects
2010. A Study of the Phenomenon of Villages-in-the-City in China Sustainable Development and our Obligations to Future Generations(P.I. Dr. Chi-Wai Yeung & Milton C.H. Lau. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Building and Real Estate Department) Research Assistant (Aug – Sept, 2010).
2008-2009. Social Impact Assessment and People-centered Urban Renewal in Hong Kong - An Institutional Analysis Research Project (P.I. Dr. Chi-Wai Yeung. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Building and Real Estate Department) Research assistant.
2008. The suburbanization process in China, a case study of Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou (P.I. Dr. Chi-Wai Yeung. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Building and Real Estate Department) Research assistant.
2007. The Vision Plan for Wan Chai District Future Development Project. (P.I. Dr. Wing-Shing Tang. The Hong Kong Baptist University, Geography Department) Research assistant.
2007. Community Mapping – Writing spatial stories and re-map the communities for Wan Chai District Council (P.I. Dr. Wing-Shing Tang. The Hong Kong Baptist University, Geography Department) Organizer (Collaborated with Wing-Shing Tang and Tammy Wong).
Becoming a Future Scholar
After receiving doctoral training, I would like to work in academia and promote research on issues related to bamboo production, pro-poor policy initiative, and environmental challenge, and rural sustainability in China. There are five major commissioning plans for this doctoral research:
- contribute to the conceptual debates on the role of state, agro-forestry transition, commodity chain, and developmental model in China
- publish the PhD research works and write to the newspaper journals to diffuse the knowledge of bamboo utilization, material recycling, and development of a model in Lin’an China
- develop long-term collaborations with Lin’an Forestry Bureau and bamboo farmers to tackle soil degradation and monoculture problems under intensive bamboo cultivation
- establish research platforms and partnerships between China and the United Kingdom in exploring bamboo production as a method to devise pro-poor initiatives, tackle soil erosion, and extend the commodity chain of bamboo in China
- expand current research framework into cross-regional case studies within and outside China by understanding the technological and knowledge diffusion of bamboo from China to the Philippines, Kenya, and Columbia mountainous areas.
Mother Theresa and Amartya Sen call for a fuller understanding between freedom and development. Let people live with dignity and have a better access to social resources, a vision of combing both top-down and bottom-up views, producing communication and collaborative platforms, and integrating knowledge and ideas which are needed to explore possible trajectories for searching rural sustainability in contemporary China.
2013. Examining the Mechanism and Effectiveness of Social Impact Assessment in Urban Renewal in Hong Kong. Co-authored with Chi-Wai Yeung (Under review)
2013. An Ethnographical Exploration of Pig Farming Practices in Post 1997 Hong Kong (Under review)
2013. Review of J. Shapiro “China’s Environmental Challenge.” International Planning Studies (Forthcoming)
2013. Review of Joseph Tse-Hei Lee, Lida V. Nedilsky, and Siu-Keung Cheung “China’s Rise to Power: Conceptions of State Governance.” International Planning Studies (Forthcoming)
2007. Assessing citizen perceptions on community participations and social bonding –the case of urban renewal in Hong Kong. Proceedings of the Advancement of Construction Management and Real Estate International Symposium, Nov. 1-3, pp. 117 - 122. Co-authored with Chi-Wai Yeung
Academic Report Writing
2007. The Vision Plan for Wan Chai District Future Development Report. Wan Chai District Council, Hong Kong. Co-authored with Wing-Shing Tang, Tammy Wong, pp.1-136
Papers and Presentations at Conferences and Meetings
2013. Environmental governance, Ecological Transitions, and Barren Hill Elimination Movement in Lin’an, China (1952-1982). Critical ecologies: Theory, Culture and the Environment, Cardiff, Wales, May, 24
2013. Unsettling nature: Governance, Ecological Transitions, and Bamboo Forest in Lin’an. Poster Presentation, PhD Away Day, Cardiff, Wales, May, 3
2012. Politic of Meat Production: Governmentality, License-Buy-Back-Scheme, and Pig Farming Industry in post 1997 Hong Kong. Place to Plate Conference, Cardiff, Wales, April, 3
2012. Rethinking sustainability in rural-urban linkages: a study of bamboo shoot policies and supply-chain system in Lin’an, China. AESOP 3rd Sustainable Food Planning Thematic Group Meeting, Cardiff, Wales, October, 28 - 29
2011. Unpack the political dimensions and the governing tactics in the License Buy Back Scheme (2005 – 2006) in Hong Kong. The 5th IPA Conference, Cardiff, Wales, June, 23 - 25
2011. Colonial power on practices: Governmentality, Farm Improvement Project and Pig Farming in Hong Kong’s New Territories, 1950-1970. The Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Seattle, April 12 - 16
2010. The political ecology of land politics, border integration and pig farming: H.K. – Shenzhen trans-border region. The Association of American eographers Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., April 14 - 18
2008. A critical review on the agricultural governance and pig production system in Hong Kong. The Social Science Graduate Student Conference, University of Calgary, Calgary, March 25 - 26
2008. Social Impact Assessment as a Governmental Technique? The Kwun Tong experience. The 13th Asian Real Estate Society Annual Conference, Shanghai University of Finance & Economics, Shanghai, July 12 – 15
2007. The Land Politics and Acquisition in Rural HK. Using HK-Shenzhen trans-border region as a case study. The International Critical Geography Group (ICGG) Conference, Tata Institute, Mumbai, Dec 3 – 7
2006. Examine the H.K. Government’s new rationality to discipline pig farmers.Using the Yuen Long District as a case study. The East Asian Critical Geography Group Conference (EACGC), the Taiwan National University, Taipei, Jun 26 - 30
2009-2010. Urban Social Geography (Geography Department, The University of Calgary)
2008. Planning and development in Hong Kong (Building & Real Estate Department, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
Substitute Undergraduate Tutor
2006. Queen Elizabeth School Old’s Students’ Association Secondary School