Home Institution

University of Minnesota

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Program Name

China: Language, Cultures, and Ethnic Minorities


Over the past few decades, development in rural areas of China has been increasing rapidly due in large part to the growth of tourism throughout the country. My project analyzes this phenomenon using Cizhong, a Tibetan Catholic village in northwestern Yunnan, as a case study. Since 2006, the popularity of Cizhong as a tourist destination has grown slowly. However, thanks to recent government policies enacted to increase tourism and development in the area, this village is on the verge of experiencing extremely rapid growth. Over the course of three weeks, extensive participant observation was combined with nearly a dozen informal interviews to create a detailed description of Cizhong at this critical moment in time. This snapshot includes both the current status of government development policies in area, as well their effects on the local population. While it was found that some economic benefits have been created from these initiatives, these were often outweighed by issues related to the confiscation and destruction of land. I then use these findings to provide speculative analysis on the future of Cizhong, with food security and changing religious demographics being predicted to be the most pressing issues to arise.


Asian Studies | Community-Based Research | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Inequality and Stratification | Politics and Social Change | Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration | Tourism | Work, Economy and Organizations


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