Mianyang: The Legacy of State Socialism and Local Construction

Main Article Content

Minglu Chen


This paper provides an account of the development trajectory of Mianyang City, a prefecture-level administration in the Southwest of China, as relevant to the Chinese government’s two major attempts to develop the country’s vast West, i.e. the ‘Third Front Construction Project’ and the ‘Open Up the West’ Campaign. Based on empirical research, the author argues that the past of socialist construction under Mao should not be dismissed when one tries to understand China’s current prosperity. This paper also provides a local perspective to examine the rather under-viewed development scheme—the ‘Third Front Construction Project’. Although seen as a failed endeavour at macro level, the project’s impacts on local development could be positive and constructive.

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Author Biography

Minglu Chen, China Studies Centre, University of Sydney

Research Fellow