Journal article

Voluntary and involuntary resettlement in China: a false dichotomy?

Brooke Wilmsen, Mark Wang

DEVELOPMENT IN PRACTICE | ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD | Published : 2015

Abstract

The success of involuntary resettlement is contingent on recasting the involuntary as voluntary. To explore this proposition, this article presents two projects in China – one “voluntary” (Poverty Alleviation Resettlement or PAR) and relatively “successful” and one “involuntary” (Three Gorges Project Resettlement or TGPR) and less so. The research finds the voluntary–involuntary dichotomy a false one. It is not volition that leads to better outcomes, but people-centred practices that are embedded in policy, planning, and implementation of PAR. Perhaps the most important lesson drawn is that all resettlements should be based on a commitment to settlement and not just resettlement.