'A Glass of Milk Strengthens a Nation.' Law, Development, and China's Dairy Tale

61 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2020 Last revised: 8 Dec 2020

See all articles by Xiaoqian Hu

Xiaoqian Hu

James E. Rogers College of Law The University of Arizona

Date Written: September 11, 2020

Abstract

Historically, China was a soybean nation and not a dairy nation. Today, China has become the world’s largest dairy importer and third largest dairy producer, and dairy has surpassed soybeans in both consumption volume and sales revenue. This article investigates the legal, political, and socioeconomic factors that drove this transformation, and building upon fieldwork in two Chinese counties, examines the transformation’s socioeconomic impact on China’s several hundred million farmers and ex-farmers and political impact on the Chinese regime. The article makes two arguments. First, despite changes of times and political regimes, China’s dairy tale is a tale about chasing the dreams of progress, modernization, and national rejuvenation. Second, and more tentatively, China’s recent moves toward hard authoritarianism have global roots and can be interpreted in part as political reactions to the systemic job losses and social dislocation in rural-agricultural China after its embrace of globalization.

Keywords: Property reform, agricultural transformation, trade-inflicted job losses, globalization discontentment, authoritarianism, soybeans, dairy

Suggested Citation

Hu, Xiaoqian, 'A Glass of Milk Strengthens a Nation.' Law, Development, and China's Dairy Tale (September 11, 2020). 16 Journal of Food Law and Policy 1 (2020), Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 20-30, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3581270

Xiaoqian Hu (Contact Author)

James E. Rogers College of Law The University of Arizona ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

HOME PAGE: https://law.arizona.edu/xiaoqian-hu

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