【Author】:Yi Li and Fulong Wu
【Publications】:The China Review,2014,24,147-173.
【Abstract】:Since 2005, China has witnessed the emergence of a new form of administrative organization. In contrast with the earlier model of “City Jurisdiction Over Counties,” which placed counties under the jurisdiction of cities, a new pilot program known as “Provincial Administration of Counties” has been launched. This program places counties and county-level cities under the direct administration of provinces, instead of prefecture-level cities. The central state has played a modest role in implementing this pilot program, whereas provincial and county-level governments have taken a more proactive approach. The central government hopes that such a reform can address development imbalances that exist between counties and cities. Meanwhile, provincial governments see the reforms as a way to promote economic development initiatives in counties and county-level cities. However, the implementation of reforms at the local level is not proceeding smoothly. This is mainly due to an asymmetry of power in city-county relations, itself a legacy of earlier economic reforms that created the City Jurisdiction Over Counties system. This asymmetry has prevented urban-rural tensions from being resolved. Instead, such tensions have been shifted downward to the city district level or upward to the regional level.