Skip to main content

Powershed Politics: Yunnan Hydropower under Great Western Development

  • Darrin Magee

This article uses hydropower development on the Lancang (upper Mekong River) and Nu (upper Salween River) as a lens for exploring institutional change and decision-making processes among governmental units and hydropower companies under the Great Western Development campaign. Scholars of the campaign tend to focus on central government policies and individual provinces' responses, and on the campaign's role as a central-state-strengthening project aimed at curbing regionalist tendencies. Large-scale hydropower development in Yunnan, however, is a complex affair involving national and provincial power companies, regional grids and governmental units at many levels. Conceptualizing Yunnan as the “powershed” of Guangdong, I argue that the Western Development campaign paves the way for increasingly strong interprovincial linkages between Guangdong and Yunnan that are not necessarily central-state-strengthening, and that consideration of such linkages should be fundamental to any attempt to understand the impacts of China's western development.

Hide All
This research was supported by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, the Jackson School of International Studies, and China's National Key Basic Research Development Plan 973 (#2003CB415105).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 129 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 400 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th March 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.