2005 Volume 114 Issue 4 Pages 507-524
This paper investigates recent trends of Chinese mining cities, which have emerged from large-scale resource development during the process of modern industrialization since the 1950s. In this paper, a definition of mining cities that is based on the principle of “forming for mining” is proposed. According to this definition, 58 of 667 organizational cities are identified as mining cities. Because of limited available data, only 40 organizational cities, for which statistical data were available in 1999, are closely examined.
Under the definition mentioned above, mining cities composed 9 percent of all cities in China at the end of 1999. Their populations accounted for 14 percent of the entire urban population. These mining cities can be divided in terms of type of mines, into colliery cities, oil-field cities, metal-mining cities, and nonmetal-mining cities. They are located mainly in Northeast China and Central China. The development of mining cities in Northearn China, is however, most prominent.
The statistical data indicate that the population size and the scale of mining cities development have been expanding since 1990. However, the growth rates of economic activities as well as population have been slowing. This phenomenon is called the relative peripheralization of mining cities by some Chinese commentators. On the other hand, resource crisis, environmental pollution, unemployment, and poverty still exist in the mining cities. Environmental problems caused by the mines, the problems of Danwei (work-units) disorganization, and unemployment caused by the reforming of mining corporations are becoming more and more serious. Because of a lack of information about the real conditions of mining cities, little attention is paid to a problems that should be important subjects in the future.