Essay

Burning Coal in Tangshan: Energy Resources as Commons

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Edwin Schmitt

The extraction and use of energy resources to drive modernisation has been one of the key concerns of the Chinese Communist Party. By tracing the history of coal mining in China, this essay argues that the physical characteristics of coal as a common pool resource have shaped the ways in which coal has been harvested and used, as well as the political and institutional structures that have developed around its governance.

Edited by Ivan Franceschini, Kevin Lin, and Nicholas Loubere

The Made in China Yearbook series—published in collaboration with ANU Press—offers original articles in which scholars and activists analyse the latest trends in Chinese labour and civil society. With their unique blend of in-depth scholarly work written in a direct, accessible style, these books allow readers to situate current events and policies in a wider context, and therefore serve as an indispensable reference for international activists, practitioners, and policy-makers.

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No expertise comes without constant doubt and a willingness to challenge established truths. Chinoiresie represents our attempt to question some of today’s understandings and certainties about China. It blends the image of a ‘chinoiserie’—a foreign interpretation and imitation of Chinese artistic traditions, a term that over time has come to assume the meaning of a clichè, a stereotypical view of China—with the concept of ‘heresy’—an unorthodox view aimed at challenging a given truth.

MADE IN CHINA – ISSUE 2, 2017

The Good Earth

In June 2017, the government of the United States announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Accords, severely undermining the global effort to contain climate change. Since then, China has entered the fray, attempting to portray itself as a world leader on environmental issues. While global attention has focussed on China’s top-down environmental efforts, this issue considers the engagement of Chinese citizens with state policies on the environment, and looks into their potential for articulating workable grassroots alternatives. In particular, we consider the management of public resources—the so-called ‘commons’.