GUANGDONG: FROM ECONOMIC PIONEER TO LEADER IN POLITICAL REFORM?

Open Access
Author:
Choy, Jarlene
Area of Honors:
International Politics
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Gretchen Casper, Thesis Supervisor
  • Michael Barth Berkman, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • economic and political development
  • Guangdong
Abstract:
My thesis is on the economic development of Guangdong and how it could contribute to political liberalization in the province. I will examine the political relationship between the southern Chinese province, Guangdong, and the capital, Beijing. I will research how Guangdong’s geographical distance from Beijing in the north has historically allowed it to be a more politically "independent-minded" province. I plan to research centralized vs. local government control between Beijing and Guangdong at the national, provincial, prefectural and county levels. I plan to examine the pattern of Guangdong’s local political appointments, their political and personal backgrounds, and how closely they implement policies ordered by the central government in Beijing. Guangdong is worth examining because it has historically been a center for revolutionary activities. Guangzhou warrants further study because it is a city of major economic and historical importance to China, despite often being politically overshadowed by Shanghai and Beijing. Guangzhou is the third largest Chinese city and the largest mainland economy in terms of GDP as of 2007. Guangdong province will be compared with Hong Kong due to its geographical proximity and economic cooperation. Guangdong will also be compared with Shanghai in the Yangtze River Delta region because they are both major leading economic regions in China. I argue that Guangdong province deserves greater political attention in the upcoming years, as it has great potential for political openness.