Chinese Agriculture Abroad

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Date & Time

June 7-8, 2019


Palacký University, Křižkovského 10, Conference room 2.25., Olomouc, Czech Republic


China’s presence in neighboring countries is growing at a fast pace. One of the recent manifestations of this is Chinese “land rush” and investments in agricultural infrastructure. Mass media constantly report that Russian, Tajikistan or Kazakhstan government would lease huge areas of farmland to China; that Chinese companies would invest in chemical (pesticides) production, agricultural storage or processing companies or that Chinese small farmers occupy new niche markets (like green-houses) in bordering with China regions.

Not only journalists but also scholars inform that both small- and large-scale Chinese agricultural enterprises operating in neighboring countries have a strong commercial orientation. Even more, it is argued, that Chinese agri-businesses strongly differ from the most of host – local (national) – companies which are still in the trap of post-soviet legacy. Furthermore, it has been claimed that Chinese agri-businesses abroad differ sharply from national agrarian companies, which are prevented from being competitive by institutional or structural restrictions.

Thus, although the main priority of the workshop is Chinese agricultural businesses abroad (in particular in the Russian Far East), we also aim to discuss agriculture adjusting to institutional arrangements inside China. To be more specific agenda includes the following topics:

  • recent changes in Chinese agriculture; more specifically, “capitalist” dynamics, land dispossession, capital accumulation;
  • the diversity of Chinese actors (such as agrarian ‘capitalists’, peasants, smallholder farmers, farmworkers, etc.) involved in the agrarian sector of neighboring countries/border areas;
  • discourses on Chinese “land grab,” “land rush” as well as practices of land property abroad;
  • shifting agricultural policies and domestic/ international production regimes between China and neighboring countries (seeds production, circulation, etc.);
  • infrastructure as a “socio-material assemblage,” including the role of the state and other institutions in revitalization/ redevelopment of rural areas adjoining the Chinese border;
  • the use of infrastructure to normalize land acquisitions in bordering with China regions in juxtaposition to Chinese presence and/ or investment in land and infrastructure.


1st day 
9-30 – 10-00Registration. Tea & coffee
10-00 – 10-30Welcome and introductory remarks
10-30 – 12-00Session 1: Changes in Chinese agriculture
 Jiayi Zhou, Stockholm international peace research institute, Sweden
 The Agricultural Belt and Road: New Political Economy and Policy Landscapes
 René Trappel, University of Freiburg, Germany
 Guiding peasants into the future? Vision and practice of agricultural modernization in China
 Sayana Namsaraeva, Palacký University in Olomouc, Czechia
 Live-Streaming Craze of Chinese Famers: Hi-tech Apps for building trust in food safety and organic farming
12-00 – 13-30Lunch
13-30 – 15-00Session 2: Land and property puzzle
 Stephanie Ziehaus, Palacký University in Olomouc, Czechia
 Is Chinese settler colonialism a thing? “Yellow peril” and land rush in the colonial age in the Amur borderlands
 Hyun-Gwi Park, Chung Ang University, Korea
 To remain a khoziain [owner] or not: Koreans’ agricultural enterprise in the Russian Far East
 Yulia Koreshkova, Palacký University in Olomouc, Czechia
 Invisible hand of a Chinese entrepreneur
15:00 – 15-30Tea & coffee
15:30 – 17-00Session 3: The diversity of Chinese actors in Russian agriculture
 Sergei Ivanov, Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography FEB RAS, Russia
 The rise and fall of Chinese development strategy in agriculture of the Russian Far East
 Konstantin Grigorichev, Irkutsk State University, Russia
 Chinese agricultural entrepreneurship in the Irkutsk suburbs: between “invaders” and “benefactors”
 Natalia Ryzhova, Palacký University in Olomouc, Czechia
 Social topology of agricultural infrastructure in the Russian Far East
2nd day 
10-00 – 10-30Tea & coffee
10-30 – 12-00Roundtable “In conceptualizing the puzzle of Chinese agricultural ‘capitalism’ abroad”
12-00 – 13-30Lunch
13-30 – 15-00Olomouc excursion