The Transformation of Coastal Governance, from Human Ecology to Local State, in the Jimei Peninsula, Xiamen, China

Zhe Zou, Yu Yan Zhang, Su Hsin Lee, Shu Chen Tsai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The coastal zone, situated at the sensitive interface between land and sea, serves as a pivotal area of human economic activities. As one of China’s economic special zones, Xiamen exemplifies the comprehensive trajectory of coastal governance in China. However, there are still research gaps in the human ecological transitions in coastal governance. This study adopts the research approach of scale politics and the local state, with the purpose of explaining the governance model of the coastal zone transformation. Sources include interviews with fishers, direct observation, participant observation, and content analysis. The study demonstrates how local governments strive to maximize the profits of scenic tourism, by (1) appropriating the international scale, absorbing international aid and technical assistance; (2) confiscating the access rights of the coastal zone; and (3) vertically integrating all relationships from local to international organizations to create new governance patterns. Xiamen’s coastal landscape not only presents the meltdown of human ecology under local state governance but also demonstrates a keen adaptation to the shifting dynamics of the international tourism market. From the theoretical perspective of the local state, this paper effectively points out the political characteristics of local government and bridges the loss of cultural ecology in the transformation of governance patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2659
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jul


  • coastal exclusion policy
  • confiscation
  • function shift
  • local state
  • reform
  • scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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