Table of Content

    09 January 2018, Volume 36 Issue 12 Previous Issue    Next Issue
    Special Issue|Political Geography
    An overview of political geographical thoughts in ancient China
    Yungang LIU, Fenglong WANG
    2017, 36 (12):  1450-1462.  doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.12.001
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    There are rich political geographical arguments and practices in ancient China, which are of great significance to the development of contemporary Chinese political geography. However, neither political geographers nor historians had summarized the historical political geographical thoughts and their implications for the development of modern political geography in China. To help narrow this gap, the current article briefly reviews a large body of historical works and records from the pre-Qin period to the late Qing dynasty from the perspective of modern political geography. The contents are classified into three topics: territorial advantages (mainly including siting of capital and establishment of towns with important military functions), geographical administration (mainly including maintaining the central control over local places, and governing the land and the people), and geopolitical relations (mainly including securing the borderland and defeat the surrounding barbarous nations). The article summarizes the key points of each topic and discusses the similarity and difference between Chinese historical political geographical thoughts and related concepts and theories in Western political geography. We hope that future political geographical research will pay more attention to the traditional wisdom and thoughts in ancient China, as well as to supplement and refine the framework and findings proposed in this article.

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    Progress in Chinese political geographical research: A perspective based on projects supported by the National Science Foundation of China
    Ning AN, Bangxing LIANG
    2017, 36 (12):  1463-1474.  doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.12.002
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    The National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) has the purpose to support projects with the most practical value and advanced research in certain subject areas, which to a significant extent reflect the progress and the overall level of related studies. Based on the analysis of the funding situation of NSFC (in both natural sciences and social sciences), as well as political geographical research-related journal articles published by NSFC funding recipients, this study reached the following conclusions. First, political geographical research has been recently recognized by NSFC, in particular since 2011. The main research centers are located in Beijing, Guangzhou, Kunming, and Shanghai. Second, Chinese political geographical research has primarily focused on issues of borderlands and boundaries, environmental politics, territory (sovereignty and security), administrative division and governance, scale and space, and social and cultural politics. Finally, it can be concluded that Chinese political geographical research is increasingly connected to international political geographical research despite that Chinese political geography has its own feature, such as the studies on administrative division and governance. Alongside the increasing support from NSFC, we look forward to a disciplinary development of political geography with Chinese-characteristics by focusing on the international research frontier of political geography and demands within China.

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    Special Issue|Geopolitics
    A comparative study on foreign and Chinese geopolitical studies since 1992:An analysis from the viewpoint of geography
    Qi QIN, Shengkui CHENG, Fei LI, Liang WU, Dan ZHANG, Xiaopeng CHEN
    2017, 36 (12):  1475-1488.  doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.12.003
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    Comparative studies on development tracks of Chinese and international geopolitical studies are seldom found in contemporary academia. This article reviews the development of Chinese and international geopolitical studies and compares their differences, and examines the prospect of Chinese geopolitical studies. This research found that there are significant differences between Chinese and international geopolitical studies on their essence, goals, contents, and basic understanding. With regard to their ideology and study area, mainstream contemporary international geopolitical studies are critical geopolitical research, and the diversification and generalization of its research subjects are increasingly obvious. Chinese geopolitical studies are practice-focused and mainly serve the national strategies. With regard to research method, international studies emphasize qualitative analysis and field research, and have deep understanding on specific areas. Chinese scholars focus on spatial and quantitative analyses, and pay special attention to macro-level spatial configuration and differentiation. This article concludes that Chinese scholars should investigate the essential relationship between geographic elements and geopolitics, strengthen cross-field research and make the results more reliable and practical, build a global worldview, widen the research fields, and ultimately found geopolitical thoughts with Chinese characteristics to assist the rejuvenation of China.

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    Geopolitical space of China's high-speed railway diplomacy
    Yu HUANG, Yuejing GE, Teng MA, Xiaofeng LIU
    2017, 36 (12):  1489-1499.  doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.12.004
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    With its extremely strong transportation capability and tremendous cost of construction, high-speed railway not only brings rapid and significant effects on geo-economics and geopolitics, but also extends its trade pattern into the domains of international politics and diplomacy. China, Japan, Germany, and France are the major exporters of high-speed railway and all get involved in a keen competition in the international high-speed railway market. From the power and space perspectives of geopolitics and based on the national interests of security, development, and international influence, this article adopts an overlay analysis of the construction conditions, spatial interest pattern of exporting competitors, and China's competitive advantage, to demonstrate the geopolitical space and cooperation methods of China's high-speed railway diplomacy. The conclusions are as follows. First, the priority space of China's high-speed railway diplomacy includes Russia, Kazakhstan, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, South Korea, the United States, and Brazil; Second, China can develop a multi-level cooperation with the United States, South Korea, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Australia. We also suggest that cooperation with other candidate countries should start with pre-engineering projects such as power generation and transmission. It is possible to cooperate with Brazil and Indonesia by pre-project engineering cooperation based on market demand. Third, in addition to cooperate with countries in the priority space, China can provide financial aid to Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and other countries with careful consideration of the high-speed railway market demand and risk. Finally, considering only the economic interest, other countries with existing railway project cooperation may be the potential high-speed railway cooperators, such as Romania, Belarus, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, and Serbia.

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    Special Issue|Scale
    Towards a theoretical framework of 'politics of scale'
    Fenglong WANG, Yungang LIU
    2017, 36 (12):  1500-1509.  doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.12.005
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    Since Neil Smith initiated the arguments of "politics of scale" based on his studies of the homeless, scale has become a hot topic in political geography. However, it is a pity that a comprehensive theoretical model of "politics of scale" has still not been developed despite of a large number of debates on the concept of scale itself and various empirical studies conducted in different cultures. In this article, we propose a three-step theoretical model of "politics of scale" based on the existing literature, especially the structural and post-structural perspectives to power, the second-abstraction view of scale, and the large volume of empirical studies on scalar politics. We argue that "politics of scale" is pillared on the processes of scalization, rescaling, and articulation of scale with power relations. Specifically, in "politics of scale" power relations are embedded in various forms of scale that can be mainly decomposed into size in material space, level in organizational space, and scope in discursive space. The existing scale frames or scalar relations are reshaped or rearticulated by different political actors. A three by three matrix is developed to incorporate the dazzling strategies of rescaling in terms of scaling-up, scaling-down, and rescaling. Different political actors will adopt different rescaling strategies to transform the power relations and legitimate/problematize governmental rationality according to their own interests. Several basic laws and paradoxes of "politics of scale" are summarized. The specific characteristics of "politics of scale" in China compared with its Western counterparts are also summarized, including the dominance of administrative level, underdevelopment of scaled discourses, and decisive roles of the Internet and international intervention. We also point out some issues worth further exploration, such as the problem of political justice in "politics of scale" and extension of the "geographical meaning" of scale in political geography. This article may contribute to the growing literature on scale and Chinese political geographical studies.

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    The production and restructuring of interurban cooperative space:From the perspective of territory, network and scale
    Xueguang MA, Luqi LI
    2017, 36 (12):  1510-1520.  doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.12.006
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    Space-based cooperation is an important form of interurban cooperation and a multidimensional sociospatial process concerning reterritorialization, network building, and rescaling. Based on the case study of the Shenzhen-Shanwei Special Cooperation Zone and considering three sociospatial dimensions including territory, network, and scale, the production and restructuring of interurban cooperative space is analyzed. This research suggests that the reterritorialization involved both capital and regulatory power; the network that link actors together serves as tools for political mobilization and information sharing; the key factor for rescaling is the mobilization of actors at higher scales. Common interests of relevant actors are fundamental factors of space-based interurban cooperation. Specifically, the actors at higher scales tend to embed their own interests into the political strategies crossing scales. Moreover, a complex interaction is found among the three sociospatial dimensions, with four major types of combination including identical, parallel, substitution, and realization, which could be of significance in future studies aiming to further examining the production of multidimensional space.

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    Special Issue|Border
    Border identity of Quemoy
    Heqiang ZHANG, Yungang LIU
    2017, 36 (12):  1521-1530.  doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.12.007
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    Quemoy has long been regarded as a border area in the cross-strait geopolitical strategy. Different forces with different political considerations have intervened in the affairs of Quemoy at different times, which resulted in the constantly changing identity of Quemoy. Based on field interviews and a thorough review of literature, and using the research methods of scale analysis and border studies, the authors examined the grassroots "border identity" in Quemoy. The redefinition process of the meaning of border was also discussed. This research concludes that, the "border identity" was gradually formed as a result of Quemoy residents' passive or active adjustment to changes in geopolitical relationship and borderlines between Taiwan and the mainland of China. In the temporal dimension, Quemoy has experienced several times of geopolitical changes during different historical periods, including the period of "Fan Qing Fu Ming" (rebelling against the Qing Dynasty and rebuilding the Ming Dynasty), Japanese-ruled period, the Nationalist Party-ruled period, and when the cross-strait "Three Links" were restored. In the spatial dimension, due to its special geographical position, and the fact that it used to be under the governance of different governments at different times, Quemoy has four different but interlacing scales of identity: it is a county, a province, and meanwhile an island and the community for the local residents. As a result, a local identity was gradually formed among the residents. They launched a series of social movements so as to get rid of the martial law imposed on Quemoy. From being passively adjusted to new situations, to actively utilizing the "border effect," the local people have re-institutionalized and reconstructed Quemoy's identity, changing it from a battle front into a peaceful trade island. This research provides a grassroots analytical perspective of geo-strategy and may help deepen the understanding for the cross-strait border area and China's reunification process. Apart from this, it will also contribute to the current studies on China’s border areas.

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    Borders and borderscapes under contemporary globalization
    P. LAINE Jussi
    2017, 36 (12):  1531-1539.  doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.12.008
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    Recognising the close interrelationships between social change and paradigm shifts, this paper contributes to an interpretation of conceptual change in the study of borders. While borders continue to have considerable relevance today, we need to revisit them in light of their constantly changing historical, political, and social contexts, grasping their shifting and undetermined nature in space and time. The paper underlines the multilevel complexity of borders - from the geopolitical to the level of social practice and cultural production at and across the border at different levels and, thus, not only along the dividing lines of nation-state sovereignties. It seeks to make a constructive contribution to debate within border studies by encouraging a productive understanding of the processual, de-territorialised, and dispersed nature of borders and their ensuring regimes in the era of globalisation and transnational flows, as well as showcasing border research as an interdisciplinary field with its own academic standing. Adopting the borders capes concept as a central organising element, this article advocates for a relational approach to borders which takes into account complementary perspectives that consider the interaction between political visions and everyday sociocultural practices, as well as social representations and artistic imaginaries.

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    Special Issue|Territory
    Acting on Thresholds: Policies and geographical thresholds to mobility
    van der VELDE Martin, van NAERSSEN Ton
    2017, 36 (12):  1540-1551.  doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.12.009
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    This paper aims for a better understanding of the mutual relationship between national polices and migrant mobilities. The theoretical background is given by the threshold approach that we have developed on borders, mobility and migration. Central in this approach are the mental processes individuals who (want to) move in space are involved in. During this process they have to decide on three geographical thresholds. The first threshold concerns the idea to become mobile, to leave the familiar places and to cross national borders (for many people not that obvious), the second the location of the destination and its borders and 'bordering', and the third concerns the mobility trajectories or routes. Examples are presented from the EU and the ASEAN, respectively the crossing of borders between the Netherlands and Germany, mobility in the EU during the 2008 financial crisis, the 2015/16 flows of refugees crossing the Turkish-EU border, Philippine labour emigration and the Indonesian-Malaysian migration corridor. Finally, the approach and cases will be discussed in relation to policies and governance with regard to mobility and borders.

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    Territorial trap and China's transnational anti-drug practices in northern Myanmar
    Xiaobo SU, Xiaomei CAI
    2017, 36 (12):  1552-1561.  doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.12.010
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    Illicit drugs generate numerous threats to national security and social stability as more and more countries face how to handle these drugs. Geographers are motivated to raise critical questions about geographical factors and socioeconomic problems that underpin the widespread problems brought by illicit drugs. Nowadays, China has become a major market for illicit drugs produced in northern Myanmar, the core area of the notorious Golden Triangle. The Chinese state complies with the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, particularly the non-intervention policy, and thus cannot crack down on drug lords dwelling in northern Myanmar. In this sense, the Chinese state falls into what Agnew calls a “territorial trap.” How can the Chinese state launch effective narcotics control in northern Myanmar without jeopardizing Myanmar's national sovereignty? The ultimate goal is to maintain border security between China and Myanmar and weaken the damage brought by illicit drugs to Yunnan and even the whole country. Built upon policy report analysis and in-depth interview, this article explores illicit drugs as a non-traditional security challenge and analyzes China’s narcotics control practices in northern Myanmar—coercive crackdown and opium substitution. It is found that coercive crackdown targets drug lords and transitional drug cartels while opium substitution aims to help ex-poppy farmers to plant licit economic crops. These two practices focus on different groups to cope with the chain of drug plantation and trafficking. By doing so, these practices achieve a balance between Myanmar's national sovereignty and the China-Myanmar border security. Through these practices, the Chinese state evades territorial trap by an effective transnational governance regime for narcotics control. This article furthers our understanding of territory, geopolitics, and border security in the context of transnational regionalization, and generates some theoretical implications for building the “belt and road” between Yunnan and mainland Southeast Asia.

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    Quantitative evaluation of human settlement environment and influencing factors in the Bohai Rim area
    Chengyi CHEN, Wenzhong ZHANG, Dongsheng ZHAN, Xueli LI
    2017, 36 (12):  1562-1570.  doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.12.011
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    Urban human settlement environment plays a very important role in the life quality and satisfaction of urban residents. This study employed descriptive statistics and GIS mapping methods to analyze the spatial heterogeneity and socioeconomic influencing factors of human settlement environment in the Bohai Rim area. The conclusions are as follows. There are significant spatial heterogeneities in "hard" human settlement environment index (HHI), "soft" human settlement environment index (SHI), and human settlement environment quality composite index (HSCI). The quality of human settlement environment in coastal cities is significantly higher than that in inland cities. For the provincial administrative units, Liaoning has the highest HSCI; HSCI in Tianjin is the lowest. The correlation analysis between socioeconomic factors and HSCI further shows that there is no significant positive correlation between the HSCI values and the level of economic development and urbanization in the Bohai Rim area—more prosperous economy and higher urbanization rate cannot bring in higher quality of human settlement environment; but there is a significant negative correlation between the HSCI and population in the Bohai Rim area. Therefore the control of urban population in the region will be helpful for improving the quality of human settlement environment.

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    Tradeoffs and synergies between ecosystem services in Ordos City
    Wenhuan WU, Jian PENG, Yanxu LIU, Yi'na HU
    2017, 36 (12):  1571-1581.  doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.12.012
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    The city of Ordos is in the central part of the ecotone between agriculture and animal husbandry in northern China, and the rapid economic development brings great pressure to the ecological environment. Ecosystem services and their inter-related changes in Ordos have great significance for the sustainable development of ecosystems in this semi-arid area. This study calculated the four key ecosystem services of food supply, carbon storage, water production, and soil conservation in Ordos in 2000 and 2010, and used the relevant analysis to explore the tradeoffs and synergies between the four services at the 30 m × 30 m grid scale and introduced the rose map. The relationship between the ecosystem services of different land-use types was analyzed. The results show that there is a synergistic relationship between water production and soil conservation, a synergistic relationship between food supply and soil conservation, a tradeoff relationship between soil conservation and food supply, and a tradeoff relationship between food supply and carbon storage. The eastern agricultural area of Ordos contains most of the hotspots of multiple ecosystem services. The production of water reduced as soil conservation and carbon storage improved in cultivated land and woodland, while in the grassland the four ecosystem services increased simultaneously.

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