Rural Revitalization in Contemporary Korea and China

Title: 1230 | Rural Revitalization in Contemporary Korea and China
Area: Border Crossing and Inter-Area
Stream: Sociology
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Do Hyun Han, Academy of Korean Studies, South Korea (organizer, presenter, chair)
Yuanyuan Hu, Shandong University, China (presenter)
Juren Lin, Shandong University, China (presenter, discussant)
Shanfeng Li, Shandong Academy of Social Sciences, China (presenter)
Suhwan Jung, Academy of Korean Studies, South Korea (presenter)


Korea and China have similar patterns in rural modernization and rapid urbanization. More and more rural communities are incorporated into the urban area. In rural areas of the two countries, it is easy to see high rised apartments in rural towns. Traditional rural life has been fundamentally tranformed. This radical transformation entails serious challenges. For these challenges, the two countries actively introduce policies of rural revitalization. In this panel, five papers discuss the rural revitalization in China and Korea. HU analyzes international marriages between Northeast China and Southeast Asia. The world system of the internatinal marriage migration in Asia shows a new challenge for rural revitalization in Northeast China. LIN discusses how a large rural area is closely connected to the provincial capital city. The integration of rural area and cities is very common to Korea and China. LIN shows the process by focusing the case of Lenshuigou near Jinan. This integration has a reaction in a different directin. HAN discusses this by focusing the community organizing in Korea. Community organizing is an important strategy of rural revitaliztion of China and Korea. Against this community organizing, LI focuses on social disorganization in rural China. JUNG discusses the both of organizing and disorganization of rural society by focussing the experience of Korean rural revitalization of the 1970s and its expansion to the developing countries. Thus, with the five papers, this panel will discuss the rapidly changing rural landscape of contemporary Asia, especially Korea and China.

Panel Abstracts:
Community organizing for Rural Revitalization in Rural Korea
Community organizing is an important strategy of rural revitalization of China and Korea. In current China, the government, business, and civil society work together to revitalize rural villages. This revitalization drive is also active in contemporary Korea. Korea's rural revitalization emphasizes local empowerment. However, since the human capital and social capital in rural villages are limited, it is not easy to implement the local empowerment. In this paper, the author focuses on a successful case of community organizing in contemporary Korea. The case comes from a village in an island, Jeju Island in Korea. Community organizing in the village has a long history. In Japanese colonial times, the village was organized based on the village pasture. And in the 1970s, the village implemented the Saemaul Movement which was very widespread in 1970s Korea. In the 21st century, the village launched a very ambitious community organizing initiative. For the ten years since 2009, the village executed a dozen of new development projects; these projects are based on the local initiative and local empowerment. Thanks to these successful projects, this village has become nation-wide famous in the field of community organizing and rural revitalization in contemporary Korea. This paper relies on in-depth interviews, primary sources, and previous research papers.

The Northeastern Type of China’s International Marriage
Northeast China is an important rural area in China. This paper focuses on the international marriage in North East China that is closely related with rural revitalization or development. A great number of local women immigrate to Japan. This provides a large space for the acceptance of foreign wives in North East China. Southeast Asian women get married to Chinese men in North East China. The global marriage market from South East Asia (Periphery) to China (Semi-Periphery) to Japan (Center) is formed through the level of economic development of the country. The international marriages between South East Asian wives and Chinese men in North East China are mostly made through international business entities. I call this type of international marriage ‘Cross-ethnic Marriage with Business Intermediary’. Finding a marriage partner in the international marriage market is the last marriage means for Chinese men of the low stratification in the local area. As the marriage was made through a business intermediary and the family’s economic conditions are not good, Chinese parents-in-law are always worried if foreign wives from South East Asia would run away from home. Because of this concern, Chinese parents-in-law have found out strategies of dealing with their foreign daughters-in-law from South East Asia. Parents-in-law try to give some flexibility to their foreign daughters-in-law and help them to remit money to their family in their homeland. From this study, we will understand the changing landscape of rural communities for rural revitalization policies.

China Current Rural Transformation: Lengshuigou Village as a Example
Recently the cities and villages of China are undergoing remarkable urbanization processes, and the rural society changes greatly. The large-scale and acceleration of such transformation constitute the most prominent features of current rural development in China. Shandong Province, for instance, has led massive urbanization campaigns such as the movements to create new cities by transforming old villages into fancy towns under the active policy of merging neighboring villages into one urbanized town. The pace and scope of this new urbanization in China are changing the face of rural and urban areas profoundly, as well as the conventional rural-urban dicotomic social fabric of China. In this paper, I will focus on the case of Lengshuigou, a village of the North China plain, is located in the suburbs of Jinan, the capital city of Shandong Province. Benefiting from the increasing integration of Lengshuighou into Jinan city through the construction of urban infrastructure in the village of Lengshuigou and in its surroundings, many villagers circulate across the Municipality of Jinan in their private vehicles or by public transit. Many villagers commute to Jinan on a daily basis for work or school, and thereby rural-urban spaces are being merged. These change entails the integration of mindsets and life-styles of rural villagers into urban ones.

The “Local Knowledge” for Suicidal Behaviours of the High-Risk Group in China Rural Areas
In China, suicide in rural area is increasing. Traditionally in China, suicide is considered to be a private matter; people have assumed that the cause of suicide comes from personal issues, not from structural issues. Thus, it is seldom discussed as a public concern. Even sociologists have not paid due attention to this social phenomonon. As Durkheim showed a suicide is not only an individual behaviour, but also closely connected to a set of complex social moralities and cultural inferences. Suicide has close relationship with “local knowledge” including village customs, personal values, family roles and social environments. In this paper, I emphasize the importance of the life world of the suicidal group in understanding the behaviors of those who commit suicides. For this analysis, I focus two high-risk suicidal groups in rural China. I will do comparative analysis of these two groups by discussing the social reality where the groups are located. Through this study, I will show Chinese society has to take a sociogical perspective to intervene in the issue of suicide in rural Chian. This study will clearly tells that the causes of increasing suicides in rural China are not personal but social.

Korean Rural Development Legacy for the International Development
This research explores the contemporary Korean rural development model and its trajectory. The Korean government introduced Saemaul Undong(New Village Movement) to raise incomes of rural households and to improve their village environment. This program, focusing on economic achievement and environment, is widely accepted as a development model in developing countries. Despite the increased interests in the Korean development experiences, policy makers or scholars are not serioulsy interested in studying the drawbacks of the movement. In addition, they do not have serious studies how to adopt the Korean experiences to meet the diverse local demand and to respect the local culture. The challenges of 1970s Korea were rather simple. Even in contemporary Korea, rural problems are much more complex and diverse than in the 1970s. In light of this, this paper will discuss the merits and drawbacks of the Korean meodel of the Saemaul Movement for the developing countries. And then the author will discuss diverse rural challenges in developing countries. From understanding these challegnes, we find the necessity of expanding the vision of the Saemaul Movement. For the expansion of the vision of the Saemaul Movement, I will emphasize the importance of local knowledge of developing countries. As local indigenous knowledge, the tradition of reciprocity and cooperatoin will not be overemphasized. Combining local knowledge and Korean experiences, we can also ovecome the current drawbacks of the International Development Aid practices in developing countries

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