Under Construction. Visions of Chinese Infrastructure

Under construction. Visions of Chinese infrastructure. Made in China : a quarterly on Chinese labour, civil society, and rights. Vol. 4, n° 2, April-June 2019. [En ligne] URL : https://madeinchinajournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Made-in-China-02-2019.pdf (Consulté le 25 juillet 2019)

Présentation

Although the smoking serpents of erstwhile have been replaced by the sinuous lines of aseptic high-speed trains, and steamships have long disappeared from the horizon, these words penned by an Italian poet at the beginning of the twentieth century are a surprisingly apt description of the infrastructural frenzy that has overcome China in recent history.

Rushing to catch up after the political turmoil of the twentieth century, over the past four decades the Chinese authorities have been remoulding the urban and rural landscapes in the service of economic growth. Starting from the township and village enterprises and special economic zones of the 1980s, factories have sprung up everywhere in China, boosting a new industrial revolution that has carried the country’s economic miracle well into this century. This was before the Party-state decided that it was time to launch a new green tidal wave of revolution in the now-postmodern metropolis, in an attempt to sever the pillars of spiralling smoke that used to link these plants to the sky (but in so doing, also forcing an entire working class to set their eyes to the ground).

New highways and high-speed railways now crisscross the country, enabling the great masses shaken with work, pleasure, and (little) rebellion to travel with an ease and a speed never experienced before. Bridges of unprecedented length span rivers and seas, bringing together places and people that do not always desire to be connected.

If there is a place where the futurist utopia of the early twentieth century has come to fruition, it is China. It is to this infrastructural fever that we dedicate this issue of the Made in China Journal.

Numéro intégralement en libre accès.

Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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