Though a case study in a village located in suburban Haikou City, Hainan Province, this article suggests the existence of a local development regime that exercises illegal farmland conversion in China's urban periphery. This regime consists not only of state officials and business investors, but also of local farmers anxious for off-farm employment. Our study highlights the broad transitions that led to the rise of local development regimes in China's urban periphery. These transitions include (1) the development of the local state, (2) farmers' changing relations with local authorities, and (3) the asymmetrical liberalization of land transaction rights in rural and urban areas. Whereas the state government still manages to intervene in the local conversion of farmland, such intervention is increasingly ineffective as economic liberalization intensifies. A series of potential policies are recommended to protect farmland and agricultural livelihoods in the context of rapid urbanization.
- Local development regime
- Property rights