An examination of the potential for Chinese ecological agriculture providing a basis for sustainable development in the Chinese countryside. The study involves primary research in seven villages and four counties in China that have adopted ecological agriculture. It explores the concept of sustainable development generally and analyzes China's political-economic policies towards the countryside since 1945, the impacts on the environment and the state of China's environmental protection. The author addresses three main questions: is Chinese ecological agriculture worth adopting?; Specifically does CEA promise a form of sustainable rural development?; to the extent it does, what are the social, political and economic conditions in the Chinese countryside which most favour its extension?; to the extent that these conditions are restrictive, what can the Chinese authorities do to make them less so and thus encourage its extension? The study concludes that CEA, despite certain difficulties and problems, holds out the prospect of a more sustainable future for the rural economy than more usual forms of activity in the Chinese countryside. It finds that the conditions for adopting CEA are restrictive and that while the Chinese government is in favour of extending CEA it must look at land management and ownership and assess long-term needs.
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