The Colonized Thirst: Rural-Urban Divide and the Rural Drinking Water Problem in North China


  • Zhifang Song University of Canterbury


drinking water, rural China, internal colonialism, rural-urban divide


Tracing the history of drinking water supply in a North China Village, this article attempts to examine the drinking water problem in rural China in the context of the rural-urban divide in the past six decades of the Communist rule. It finds that the rural-urban divide implemented by the Chinese Communist government, as an internal colonial system, facilitated the capital drain out of rural communities and deprived rural communities of the means to improve their drinking water supply system. There also existed a kind of environmental internal colonialism, which helped to channel water resources from rural areas to urban centres, with the benefits from the human engineering of the environment reaped by the urban sector and the negative effects left to the rural sector. All these factors contributed to the lack of improvement in drinking water supply in rural China in the past six decades.


Author Biography

Zhifang Song, University of Canterbury

Lecturer in Anthropology

Department of Anthropology


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How to Cite

Song, Z. (2013). The Colonized Thirst: Rural-Urban Divide and the Rural Drinking Water Problem in North China. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Studies, 1(3). Retrieved from