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Rules without RightsLand, Labor, and Private Authority in the Global Economy$
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Tim Bartley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198794332

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198794332.001.0001

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The State Strikes Back

The State Strikes Back

Forest Certification in Authoritarian China

Chapter:
(p.119) 4 The State Strikes Back
Source:
Rules without Rights
Author(s):

Tim Bartley

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198794332.003.0004

This chapter examines the rise of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification in China, as well as the challenges of implementation and competition from a state-sponsored homegrown system. Despite challenges to its operations, the FSC grew rapidly in China, especially in comparison to Indonesia. To make sense of this puzzle, the chapter identifies a “dual logic of certifying in authoritarian places”, in which the state crowds the space of private regulators but also edits out the messiness and contention that can otherwise impede certification. Using interview and documentary evidence, the chapter identifies the implications and blind spots of forest certification in China and shows how authoritarian governance suppressed underlying ambiguity and conflict over rights to forest land, making it easier for apparent land grabs to be certified as compliant with the FSC’s high standards.

Keywords:   China, forestry, timber, Forest Stewardship Council, Ikea, chain of custody, China Forest Certification Council, land grabs, land tenure, authoritarian resilience

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