Moving millions to eliminate poverty: China's rapidly evolving practice of poverty resettlement

Unlike in other places where resettlement is largely a by‐product of large infrastructure projects, in China, resettlement is used as a tool for poverty alleviation. With the introduction of Xi Jinping's Targeted Poverty Alleviation, and the goal to end absolute poverty by 2020, resettlement has become central to China's poverty‐alleviation practice. Rather than investing in dispersed, remote villages, the Chinese government prefers to bring people to development by constructing high‐density resettlement sites in small towns and peri‐urban areas: up to 16 million people are being resettled between 2016 and 2020. Despite the scale of these interventions, the English‐language literature on poverty resettlement is limited and is yet to detail rapidly evolving policies or how these are playing out on the ground. In this paper we examine how poverty resettlement projects are working under Targeted Poverty Alleviation, with a focus on the implementation and impacts of, as well as overlapping motives for, projects in Shaanxi and Gansu.