China Made Brief #7

Exporting the Chinese Instant City? A Lefebvrian New Town in Central Peru
Lin Zhu, December 2020

Download the English PDF version here (2858KB); 点击下载电子中文版(1.3MB)

Figure 1. The new town of Nueva Morococha (Image credit: Lin Zhu)

This Brief is an excerpt of an MA thesis that aims to contribute to the theoretical debate on “Global China”using qualitative data gathered through four months of ethnographic research in Peru and China. Specifically, it studies the resettlement of Nueva Morococha as part of Chinalco’s Toromocho mining project in Central Peru. Applying critical tools offered by China scholars, this Brief challenges the view that Nueva Morococha is an export of a Chinese urban development model by demonstrating how such resettlements are one of the global mining industry’s common responses to dispossession. Moreover, it argues that resettlement has become a standardized process carried out by a handful of corporations and experts, producing almost indistinguishable resettlement plans underpinned by conventional understandings of modernity and development. This realization is illuminating because it guides researchers to approach “Global China” differently. Specifically, it shows that analyses fixated on the nationality of capital might obscure what Chinese capital actually does on the ground, thus providing a less productive tool for scholars who are interested in the material reconfigurations of capital. This means de-centering China from Chinese foreign investments and prioritizing them for what they are, namely capitalist projects. Finally, I draw from Lefevre’s seminal writing on Mourenx in France to examine the material consequences of the new town, which I argue offers a more productive analytical framework to understand Nueva Morococha.


Aluminum Corporation of China (Chinalco) is a Chinese State-owned Enterprise (SOE) founded in 2001 and supervised directly by the Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC). Chinalco is now the world’s largest alumina producer and China’s largest nonferrous metals enterprise, playing a strategic role in securing natural resources for national development. In August 2007, Chinalco bought Vancouver-based Peru Copper Inc. with $860 million thereby acquiring ownership of the Toromocho copper mine in Peru. This acquisition was driven by a logic of “encompassing accumulation,” or an “entrepreneurial statehood rationale,” that pursues both geopolitical and geoeconomical interests (Gonzalez-Vicente 2011; Yeh 2016; Lee 2017). Copper is considered a strategic resource for Chinese development. China’s copper reserves are relatively scarce, and its demand has intensified, growing from 20% of the world’s total in 2003 to 39% in 2010. However, its reserves only increased from 1% to 4% of the world’s total during the same period, creating an enormous supply-demand gap of 35% (Humphries 2015). Due to China’s limited domestic reserves of copper ore and its relative low quality, the Chinese government has strategically promoted investment in copper production abroad to secure its domestic demand. Chinalco’s acquisition will promise the Chinese state steady and cost-efficient access to copper supplies. Meanwhile, this transaction also helps Chinalco diversify its investment portfolio and become internationally competitive.

The Toromocho mine went into production in 2013 and an expansion phase framed under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was proposed and approved in 2017 to enhance its production output by 45% in 2020 (Chinalco News 2018). Instead of emphasizing the mine, which has been the focus of many studies, this Brief directs its attention to the less examined resettlement of Nueva Morococha where Chinalco’s practices have “exceeded local standards and outperformed their peers” (Ray et al 2015). 

Nueva Morococha, a Chinese Model of Urban Development?

Nestled in the expansive Mantaro Valley in Central Peru, Nueva Morococha stands out as a geographically contained urban project with identical single-story houses, defined administrative boundaries and structured functional zones. Its planned landscape distinguishes itself from traditional Andean towns that usually develop incrementally and organically over time in relation to their surrounding geographies and in response to practical communal needs. In fact, the town resembles Chinese domestic resettlement projects that have radically transformed rural communities with central top-down spatial planning. With an increasing normalization of resettlement as a development project in its own right, in China the government has mobilized the discourse of relocation to achieve state agendas such as poverty alleviation, rural-urban integration and farmland consolidation (Zhang et al 2018; Rogers and Wilmsen 2019, 3). Hence, “China has developed a particular set of institutions, policies, finance instruments, and networks of expertise that allow resettlement projects to be implemented at scale and for shifting justifications” (Rogers and Wilmsen 2019, 3).

The scale and speed of the Chinese government’s application of resettlement, when coupled with the fact that Nueva Morococha was financed entirely by Chinalco, have fueled a popular narrative which connects the new town with the Chinese urban development model. Castagnola (2013, 66), for example, considers

Figure 2. Overlook of Nueva Morococha, July 2019 (Image credit: Lin Zhu)

Nueva Morococha a “Chinese urban product for export” and an instant city resulting from “Chinese capitalism in their expansive regime, in which cities are not socio-cultural entities but corporative by-products.”  Similarly, Nyíri (2017, 66) sees new towns like Nueva Morococha as a “low end version” of “new export products of Chinese urbanism.” In addition, he warns researchers to not treat instant cities merely as “prestige projects to whitewash extractive exploitation” but to pay attention to their historical development and future trajectories because they are “modelled on cities that sprung up in China’s remote areas as a result of a sudden trade, commodity, or tourist boom” (p. 66). This hypothetical paring of Nueva Morococha with the Chinese export of instant cities seems further plausible in the context of the BRI when the Chinese government has promised to build model cities for other countries. While the connection seems exciting and appears potent at a superficial glance, it quickly becomes untenable when interrogated closely with the critical tools offered by scholars studying “Global China.” By disaggregating actors involved in the resettlement planning and implementation and situating the project in both local history and global mining practices, I argue that instead of a city modelled on Chinese urban development, Nueva Morococha as a resettlement project exemplifies the global mining industry’s standard solution to problems of dispossession. Equally important is that mining-induced resettlements have become an established industry that relies on the same expertise and corporations on a global scale.

The generic use of “Chinese investment” conjures up an image of a single-minded, monolithic China, obscuring the interest, variety, capacity, and hierarchy of different forms of Chinese capital (Mawdsley 2008; Gonzalez-Vicente 2011; Lee 2014; Yeh 2016; Lee 2017; Klinger and Muldavin 2019). For example, there is a wide range of Chinese investors including SOEs at different levels (central, provincial, and local), transnational corporations of Chinese origin (Huaiwei or Lenovo), private firms, and entrepreneurial migrants (Mawdsley 2008; Lee 2014; Yeh 2016). These entities might sometimes compete for markets or resources, or at other times collaborate to challenge other established foreign conglomerates. Meanwhile, Chinese foreign investments aim to achieve different goals such as geopolitical interests in “One China” recognition and extra-territorial control (Murton et al. 2016, Stallings 2016, Erikson and Chen 2007, Taylor 2002), or economic pursuits in profit maximization, investment diversification or market expansion (Gonzalez-Vicente 2012, Hofman 2016). Consequently, it is imperative to disaggregate Chinese actors and specify their motivations for going global (Mawdsley 2008; Gonzalez-Vicente 2011; Yeh 2016; Murton et al 2016; Lee 2017; Klinger and Muldavin 2019). Adopting this approach to examine the resettlement of Nueva Morococha proves to be constructive. Although a direct outcome of Chinalco’s exploration of the Toromocho mountain, it would be misleading to label the new town a Chinese export project without examining its development closely. Not only were the companies involved in the process Peruvian, but they also specialize in providing professional services in resettlement planning and implementation to the global mining industry.[1]

The becoming of Nueva Morococha relied on a group of corporations experienced in urban planning, project evaluation, resettlement consultation, construction, and management. The underpinning logic is that a clear division of labor not only improves efficiency and productivity but also reduces the total cost. As Castagnola (2013) himself points out, JP Planning S.A.C., a private planning company, carried out the overall city planning of Nueva Morococha, diagnosed land ownership and rights, negotiated land purchase and titling, prepared technical documents to carry out adverse possession procedures and calculated property tax. Meanwhile, CESEL S.A.,  a private Peruvian engineering consulting company, was in charge of project management, including design revisions, procurements, construction bidding processes, on-site supervision, and commissioning. JJC Contratistas Generales S.A, a Peruvian business group, was responsible for the construction of 685 houses and urban infrastructure in Nueva Morococha, and Social Capital Group, a private international professional services firm, played an indispensable role in facilitating the whole process. In Antigua Morococha, it conducted 6 censuses since 2006, evaluated housing conditions to calculate compensation, and organized community workshops. In Nueva Morococha, it arranged open house visits, helped families move and settle down in the new town. Today, the consulting firm is still active by helping Chinalco’s Community Relations office manage local affairs.

Writing about the resettlement induced by the La Granja project of Rio Tinto in Peru, Flynn and Vergarav (2015) pointed out the significance and prevalence of using external resettlement experts by mining corporations. Thus, it is unsurprising that these companies have built other resettlements in addition to Nueva Morococha. JP Planning S.A.C., for example, participated in the Las Bambas project of MMG in Cusco, which resulted in the resettlement of the Fuerabamba farming community to Nueva Fuerabamba. The company offered similar services such as negotiation and purchase of existing livestock in the area of ​​ project expansion, commercial appraisal of properties, and diagnostics on ownership and land rights. Social Capital Group too has extensive experience in mining-related resettlement planning and implementation.[2] In Peru, besides Nueva Morococha in Junín, it helped the private Argentinian Lumina Copper Corporation and the private Canadian firm Hudbay Minerals to design, negotiate and implement resettlement projects to acquire land for mine development in Cusco and Cajamarca respectively. Beyond Peru, Social Capital Group also partook in resettlement projects in Nicaragua (1), Colombia (5), Panama (1) and Madagascar (1). As Flynn and Vergarav (2015) noted:

External resettlement experts contributed to the development of the land access strategy and played an important role in up-skilling…resettlement definitions, issues and risks. In the industry at the time, outsourcing the execution of resettlement to third party consultants appeared to be the typical mechanism used by mining companies.

Hence, to some extent, resettlement planning and implementation has become an established industry catering to the inevitable dispossessions of the global mining industry. In this sense, the production of Nueva Morococha does not reflect any unique traits of Chinese urban development but rather is one example of capitalism attempting to ameliorate destruction, gain legitimacy and manage dispossession.

This argument can be further substantiated by historicizing the development of Nueva Morococha. Rather than initiating the idea of resettlement, Chinalco inherited the commitment from Peru Copper Inc., whose then founder J. David Lowell (2014, 364-367) was concerned about “the problem of owners of primitive houses among the 5,000-population Morococho [sic], who had to be bought out in a deal in which they would get a free, modern house in a new town site.”[3] According to Sanborn and Chonn (2015), the Peruvian government was expected to build a new town for the residents in advance of Chinalco’s purchase. However, when Chinalco acquired this project, the company not only had to incorporate the resettlement as part of its investment but also become the sole financier instead of co-sponsoring it with the Peruvian government. According to Bill John Flores Rosas, resettlement project manager of Social Capital Group, this financial responsibility was assumed by Chinalco to be voluntary, in order to expedite the project’s operation because early resettlement of Antigua Morococha was necessary to begin the mine’s exploration.[4] Clearly, it is not in the company’s best interest to work with a foreign state bureaucracy even if it lessens the overall financial burden. However, this is less a Chinese way of doing business than a capitalist one: perhaps the amount of profit that will be generated by advancing the project is greater than its expenditure on the whole resettlement. Hence, the decision was made based primarily on capitalist calculation of profit and return on investment. Consequently, Nueva Morococha cannot be linked directly to China’s domestic use of resettlement projects nor should it be treated as an exported model.

In sum, no matter who owns and explores the Toromocho project, Nueva Morococha as a resettlement materializes a common story of capitalist accumulation by dispossession rather than representing something that is unique to Chinese foreign investment. Moreover, regardless of capital’s nationality, a similar blueprint, if not identical, has been developed for Nueva Morococha by experts specializing in urban planning, project evaluation and resettlement construction. In other words, Nueva Morococha can be found not only in Central Peru but everywhere as a mining by-product that can be inserted regardless of time and space.

Figure 3. A planning map of Nueva Morococha

A Lefebvrian “New Town”

Exactly six decades ago in France, Lefebvre stood on a hilltop gazing down upon the newly built industrial complex of Mourenx (Lefebvre 1995). He described the town as a “social text” in which “the nature of capitalist modernity can be deciphered with unusual clarity” (Wilson 2011, 993). Mourenx was built to accommodate workers of a natural gas processing plant after discoveries of abundant deposits in 1951. Its rigid spatial formation with identical rows of buildings conveyed a dreadful sense of “abstract homogeneity,” erasing the historical and cultural foundation upon which the town was produced (Lefebvre 1991, 370). The production of space Lefebvre referred to is not just the mere making and assembling of objects such as houses and roads, but also the materially created conditions on which everyday life is organized and social relations are altered. In Mourenx, Lefebvre identified a transition from a precapitalist peasant community to an industrial urbanization, a process in which people were separated from the means of production and forced to become wage laborers.[5] His Notes on the new town (1995) is a direct critique of a capitalist production of space that privileges abstract homogeneity over differences and transforms everyday experience of precapitalist communities.

In this section, I borrow Lefebvre’s writing on Mourenx and his theory of the social production of space to understand the material transformation in Nueva Morococha, which I argue is a more productive tool than the discursive framing of the resettlement as a Chinese urban development model. Different from Antigua Morococha where history is legible in its material landscape, Nueva Morococha is a place where history (time) and sense of belonging (space) become obscure if not nonexistent. Lefebvre (2000, 59) would condemn Nueva Morococha as “the negation of traditional towns” and an “irruption of the urban” (quoted in Soja 1996, 49) that is strictly structured to colonize everyday life. Indeed, Nueva Morococha’s spatial layout points to the technocratic rationality in urban planning which unfortunately results in feelings of alienation and transformations of everyday life. Embedded in the ostensible splendor and glory of the newly built town are profound feelings of suffering and sorrow.

Looking down at Nueva Morococha from the Central Highway, what comes into view are infrastructures arranged in rigid spatial layouts: rows of identical houses in a grid, zones of commercial activities and education blocks. For Lefebvre, the new town is the epitome of capitalist modernity materialized as “quantitative growth and qualitative alienation” (Wilson 2011, 996). He considers the production of space disruptive and devastating because the process is filled with contradictions inherent in a planned landscape, especially under capitalism (Lefebvre 1991; Gordillo 2014). It is precisely the materiality of lived experiences of alienation and the transformation of everyday life that interest Lefebvre. And these matters could not be more pronounced in Nueva Morococha.

One of the apparent contradictions is between the modernist pursuit of efficiently planned urban space and the lived experience of an increasingly difficult life under technocratic planning. Residents in the new town now live a spatially fragmented life with concentrated zones of commercial activities, administrative services and residential areas. This spatial division not only disrupts the fluid and semiautonomous life back in Antigua Morococha by imposing hierarchical spatial relations but also renders local people legible and controllable.  Many residents interviewed for this study expressed fears of being monitored or surveilled by Chinalco or its employees. The grid design is particularly crucial in restructuring everyday experience in Nueva Morococha (see Figure 3). Feelings of alienation are present among the resettled because family visits no longer happen organically within the highly individualized units and limited space, and there is a sense of disorientation that emerges from walking around a neighborhood of identical looking houses. Studying a state-planned resettlement in Chiapas, Mexico, Wilson (2011) provides a similar observation in which quasi-private and quasi-public communal space between streets and houses have disappeared in the new town. Whereas traditionally built houses usually have porches open towards streets, providing pedestrians shelter from sun, rain or for conversations, newly built housing complexesare surrounded by high-wire fences with porches facing inward, creating a highly individualistic and alienating feeling. Therefore, different from the dynamically interwoven social relations embedded in Antigua Morococha’s landscape, the rigid spatial planning of Nueva Morococha conveys a sense of isolation through disembodied abstraction and clear-cut separation between private and public space.

A spatial restructuring of Nueva Morococha also resulted in waves of out-migration.  Whereas the majority out-migrated due to dim economic prospects, a handful of residents, knowing Antigua Morococha was forever gone, left simply because they felt culturally and socially alienated in a segregated town. Some businesses in Nueva Morococha mainly cater to Chinalco and its mining operations, leaving locals’ needs unattended if not ignored. This unfortunately transformed certain spaces into socially segregated areas, reinforcing the stringent structures imposed by the town’s original spatial design. For example, most restaurants in town have contracts with Chinalco and its contractors, so their daily operations are structured around the mine’s operation. They only open from 6 am to 8 am for breakfast, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm for lunch, and 6 pm to 8 pm for dinner. Similarly, hotels and hostels in Nueva Morococha are mostly filled with temporary subcontractors and migrants looking for jobs.

In order to efficiently manage their employees, some of Chinalco’s direct contractors rent empty houses to turn them into dormitories. Internet cafés were popular gathering spots for workers to either print receipts for reimbursement or use computers for games. Hence, although Nueva Morococha was built to accommodate those displaced by the Toromocho project, a modern, urban and business-oriented town further marginalized local residents by rendering them as outsiders in certain spaces of consumption.

Contemporary Nueva Morococha is one of the many “new towns” that have emerged under rapid global transformations of capitalist modernity and neoliberal reform.[6] Instead of a project that accommodates the displaced, Nueva Morococha is a capitalist production of space that attempts to rationalize dispossession and justify extractive industry in the name of development. Consequently, the resettlement becomes an abstract space of capitalist modernity where accumulation is the primary imperative, and where feelings of alienation and transformation of everyday life are ubiquitous (Lefebvre 1995). Moreover, conceived and built as a technocratic and corporate project, its functionalist spatial layout bears little similarity to the heterogenous and semiautonomous villages its residents used to inhabit. As summarized by Wilson (2011, 998), the new town is where “the symbolic richness and creative autonomy of daily life are progressively eviscerated and replaced by the homogenization and fragmentation of a technocratic rationality projected onto reality through the planned production of space.”


Manifestations of global China are manifold on the ground as local encounters with Chinese capital are neither universal nor homogenous. Therefore, a focus on case studies helps avoid misleading generalizations. Achieving this means disaggregating a “monolithic China,” differentiating “varieties of capital” and sectors of investment, contextualizing Chinese investment in host countries as well as at the community level, and attending to China’s domestic development. In a nutshell, global China is contextual, relational, processual and contingent, requiring an ethnographic approach to generate rigorous and trustworthy analyses that attend to spatiality, scale and time.

Generally speaking, Chinese SOE investments abroad carry both geoeconomic and geopolitical interests and this duality distinguishes Chinese state capital from many private forms. Depending on where the investment is going and in which sector it is taking place, geopolitical considerations might outweigh those of geoeconomic ones, or the other way around. However, large public corporations such as Lenovo or Huawei might also engage in market activity with state interests in mind because they participate in strategic sectors such as mining and cutting-edge technology developments that are considered highly relevant for national security and state economic planning (such as Huawei’s 5G technology). Nevertheless, the history of the internationalization of American corporations and others tells a similar story of entanglements between private and public, and state and non-state interests. Thus, singling out Chinese foreign investments, both private and state, as a culturally specific form of national capital is counterproductive. This means de-centering China from Chinese foreign investments and prioritizing them for what they are, namely capitalist projects.

Situating the case of Nueva Morococha in the broader context of the global mining industry helps correct the view that it is “an export of Chinese urbanism” (Castagnola 2013; Nyíri (2017). With China’s transformation into a global force, Lee (2017) argues that “global China” should be a subject of inquiry that pushes China Studies beyond China’s territorial borders. However, the phenomenon of global China should be taken as a provocative entry point and a productive analytical tool, grounded in empirical studies, rather than a discourse found in abstract debate. In the case of Nueva Morococha, it is clear that Lefevre’s production of space offers a more grounded tool to approach the resettlement as a capitalist production of space, allowing us to study its material consequences of “Global China” on the ground than the discursive framing based on capital’s nationality.

Lin Zhu is an independent researcher interested in the political economy and political ecology of “Global China.” She received her MA in Human Geography from the University of Colorado Boulder and holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College. After living in the U.S. for seven years, she moved back to Chengdu, where she was born and raised, to (un)learn the country she calls home and engage in social and environmental justice issues.


该简报摘取于作者的研究生论文。通过分析其在秘鲁与中国四个月田野调查所收集的定性数据,该论文致力于为全球性中国的理论辩论做出贡献。具体来说,该论文研究作为秘鲁中部特罗莫克(Toromocho)矿山项目一部分的新莫罗科查(Nueva Morococha)的移民安置项目。运用中国学者提供的关键工具,该简报通过证明此类安置项目只是全球采矿业解决流离失所的相似方法之一,挑战了新莫罗科查(Nueva Morococha)是中国城市发展模式的输出的观点。此外,它认为移民安置已经成为由少数公司和专家实施的标准化过程,在对现代性和发展的传统理解的支持下,设计出几乎无法区分的移民安置计划。该理解具有启发性,因为它引领研究者以不同的视角看待全球性中国。准确来说,它证实了聚焦于资本国家属性的研究可能会隐藏中国资本在投资地所产生的实际影响,从而为对资本的物质重组感兴趣的学者提供了并不有效的工具。这意味着有关中国境外投资的研究应该去中国化,优先注重其资本主义项目的本质。最后,我借鉴列斐伏尔(Lefebvre)有关法国穆朗克(Mourenx)的开创性著作去研究新莫罗科查(Nueva Morococha)的物质变化。我认为这为了解新莫罗科查提供了一个更加有效的分析框架。


成立于2001年,中国铝业集团有限公司(Chinalco)是一个由国务院国有资产监督管理委员会(SASAC)直接监督管理的中央企业。作为全球最大的氧化铝生产商和中国最大的有色金属企业,中国铝业在保障国家发展的自然资源方面发挥着战略作用。2017年,中国铝业斥资8.6亿美元收购加拿大秘鲁铜业公司,获得其在秘鲁拥有的特罗莫克铜矿的开发选择权。该收购是由“全面累积”的逻辑或者是追求地缘政治与地理经济的“国家企业思维”所驱动(Gonzalez-Vicente 2011; Yeh 2016; Lee 2017)。铜资源对于中国国家发展具有战略性意义。一是因为中国的铜存储量相对匮乏。二是因为在其对铜的需求量从2003年的全球20%激增到2010年的39%的同时,中国的铜存储量仅仅从1%上涨到4%,形成了35%的巨大供需缺口(Humphries 2015)。中国境内有限的铜矿储量及其相对较低的质量导致中国政府战略性地推动有关铜矿生产的海外投资以保障其国内需求。中国铝业的收购将为中国政府提供稳定且具有成本效益的铜供应渠道。同时该投资也帮助中铝实现投资组合多元化,增强其国际竞争力。

特罗莫克矿山于2013年投产。基于“一带一路”(BRI)框架的扩建方案在2017年被提出且获得批准,旨在 2020 年将其铜矿产量提高 45%(Chinalco News 2018)。特罗莫克矿山一直是许多研究的重点。然而本简报将注意力引向了更少被关注的,且中铝在当地做法“超过了当地标准并优于同行”的新莫罗科查(Ray et al 2015 )。


新莫罗科查坐落在秘鲁中部广阔的曼塔罗河谷。拥有完全相同的单层房屋、明确的行政边界和结构化的功能区,新莫罗科查在地理意义上是一个非流动的城市项目。其规划的景观与传统的安第斯城镇不同。随着时间的推移,后者通常会根据周围的地理环境和社区的实际公共需求而逐渐有机地发展。事实上,新莫罗科查与中国国内的移民安置项目类似。这类项目通过中央自上而下的空间规划彻底改变了中国农村地区。在中国,移民安置项目作为一项发展项目本身越来越常态化。在中国,政府调动了搬迁的话语权来实现扶贫、城乡一体化和农田整治等国家议程(Zhang et al 2018; Rogers & Wilmsen 2019 ,3)。因此,“中国制定了一套特定的制度、政策、金融工具和专业知识网络,使得大规模移民安置项目不仅得以实现,还能以不同的理由进行解释”(Rogers & Wilmsen 2019, 3)。

中国政府实施移民安置的大规模和高速度与新莫罗科查完全由中铝出资的事实两点结合分析推动了一种将新莫罗科查与中国城市发展模式联系起来的流行说法。例如,Castagnola (2013, 66) 将新莫罗科查视为“中国城市出口产品”,是“中国资本主义在其扩张政权下产生的即时城市。但是该城市并不是社会文化实体,而是企业副产品。 ”同样,Nyíri (2017, 66) 将新莫罗科查等新城镇视为“中国城市化新出口产品”的“低端版本”。此外,他警告研究人员不要将即时城市仅仅视为“粉饰采掘业的威望工程”,而是要关注它们的历史发展和未来轨迹,因为它们是“仿照中国偏远地区因快速贸易、商品或旅游热潮兴起的城市”(66)。在中国政府承诺为其他国家建设模范城市的一带一路背景下,这种将新莫罗科查与中国即时城市出口配对的假设看似更加合理。虽然这种联系看起来令人兴奋,且乍一看似乎使人信服,但当用研究“全球性中国”学者提供的关键工具仔细询问时,它很快就站不住脚了。通过分解移民安置项目的规划实施者,和将该项目置于当地历史和全球采矿实践中,我认为新莫罗科查作为一个移民安置项目更应被视为全球采矿业解决流离失所问题的典型方案,而非一个以中国城市发展为模型的秘鲁城市。同样重要的是,全球因采矿所导致的移民安置项目已经成为一个依赖于相同专业知识和公司的成熟行业。

“中国投资”的泛称会掩盖不同中国资本的形式,动机、多样性、能力和所属等级,让人联想到一个单一的中国形象(Mawdsley 2008;Gonzalez-Vicente 2011;Lee 2014;Yeh 2016;Lee 2017;Klinger & Muldavin 2019)。例如,中国投资者的范围很广,包括不同级别(中央、省级和地方)的国有企业、中国跨国公司(华为或联想)、私营企业和创新企业家(Mawdsley 2008;Lee 2014;Yeh 2016)。这些资本有时会相互争夺市场或资源,有时会共同合作以挑战其他成熟的外国企业。与此同时,中国海外投资的动机也很多元,例如要求对方承认“一个中国”的事实或实现域外控制的地缘政治利益(Murton et al. 2016; Stallings 2016; Erikson & Chen 2007; Taylor 2002)。其他动机还包追求经济上的利润最大化、投资多元化或市场扩张(Gonzalez-Vicente 2012;Hofman 2016)。因此,拆解中国投资者及其海外投资的动机是很有必要的(Mawdsley 2008; Gonzalez-Vicente 2011; Yeh 2016; Murton et al 2016; Lee 2017; Klinger & Muldavin 2019)。采用这种方法分析新莫罗科查的移民安置更加有效。尽管中铝对特罗莫克矿山的开采导致了新莫罗科查移民安置项目的建设,但如果不仔细研究其发展历史就将新莫罗科查归为中国出口项目是具有误导性的。参与新莫罗科查设计和建造的公司不仅是秘鲁本地公司,还是专门为全球采矿业提供移民安置规划和实施的专家。[1]

新莫罗科查的建造依赖于一批有丰富城市规划、项目评估、移民安置咨询、建设和管理方面经验的公司。因为明确的分工不仅可以提高效率和生产力,还可以降低总成本。正如 Castagnola (2013) 本人指出的那样,私营建筑规划公司 JP Planning SAC 负责了新莫罗科查的整体城市规划,诊断老城土地所有权,协商土地转让,准备技术文件以执行逆权占有程序以及计算财产税。同时,秘鲁私营工程咨询公司CESEL S.A.负责项目管理,包括设计修改、采购、施工招标过程、现场监督和调试。秘鲁商业集团 JJC Contratistas Generales S.A 负责建设新莫罗科查的685套房屋和其城市基础设施。同时跨国咨询公司 Social Capital Group 在推动整个移民安置项目的过程中发挥了不可或缺的作用。自 2006 年以来,该公司在原莫罗科查进行了 6 次人口普查,评估了用于计算补偿的住房条件,并组织了社区研讨会。在新莫罗科查,Social Capital Group 安排了房屋开放日,并且帮助自愿搬迁的家庭在新城镇安顿下来。现在这家咨询公司正积极帮助中铝社区关系办公室管理当地事务。

在撰写力拓公司位于秘鲁的 La Granja 项目引发的移民问题时,Flynn 和 Vergarav(2015)指出矿业公司使用外部移民安置专家的重要性和普遍性。因此,这些公司还参与建造了新莫罗科查以外的另外安置点也就不足为奇了。例如,JP Planning S.A.C. 参与了 中国五矿位于库斯科的 Las Bambas 项目所导致的 Nueva Fuerabamba 农业安置社区项目 。该公司向中国五矿提供了类似的服务,例如谈判和购买项目扩展区域下的现有牲畜、财产商业评估以及所有权和土地权利的诊断。Social Capital Group在与采矿相关的移民规划和实施方面也拥有丰富的经验。在秘鲁,除了位于胡宁的新莫罗科查安置点,该公司还帮助阿根廷私营 Lumina 铜业公司和加拿大私营Hudbay 矿业公司进行移民安置点的设计、谈判和实施,以帮助其分别在库斯科和卡哈马卡获得用于矿山开发的土地权。[2]除秘鲁外,Social Capital Group 还参与了尼加拉瓜(1)、哥伦比亚(5)、巴拿马(1)和马达加斯加(1)的移民安置项目。正如Flynn 和 Vergarav(2015)写到,“外部移民安置专家为土地获取战略的制定做出了贡献,并在提高团队在移民安置的定义与相关问题和风险的方面发挥了重要作用。在当时的行业中,将移民安置工作外包给第三方顾问似乎是矿业公司使用的典型机制。”


关注新莫罗科查的历史发展可以进一步证实这一论点。移民安置原莫罗科查的想法并非由中国铝业提出。相反,中国铝业仅仅是继承了该铜矿前持有者秘鲁铜业公司的承诺。该公司当时的创始人 J. David Lowell (2014, 364-367) 认为 “拥有原始房屋的原5000莫罗科查人必须在一笔交易中被买断,且他们将在新城镇上获得一套免费的现代房屋。” [3]基于Sanborn 和 Chonn(2015 )的说法,秘鲁政府本应在中国铝业并购特罗莫克矿山前为当地居民修建好新的城镇。然而,在中国铝业收购该项目后,中铝不仅将移民安置并入其投资的一部分,还成为其唯一投资人,而非与秘鲁政府共同出资。

据Social Capital Group的移民项目经理 Bill John Flores Rosas 称,中国铝业为了加快项目的运营,自愿承担修建移民安置点的财务责任,因为只有安置了原莫罗科查的居民,矿山勘探才可以开始进行。[4] 显然,与秘鲁政府官僚合作并不符合公司的最佳利益,即使这样可以减轻其整体财务负担。然而,与其说是一种中国的经营方式,不如这是一种资本主义的生意手段:推进项目所产生的利润可能大于其在整个移民安置方面的支出。因此,承担移民安置开销的决定主要是基于资本主义对利润和投资回报的计算。如此一来,新莫罗科查不能直接与中国内部的安置移民项目关联起来,也不应被视为中国输出的城市发展模式。



在60年前的法国,列斐伏尔站在山坡顶端俯瞰新建成的穆朗克斯工业园区 (Lefebvre 1995)。他将该城镇描述成一个“能清晰解读资本主义现代化本质”的“社会文本” (Wilson 2011, 993) 。穆朗克斯是1951 年发现丰富的天然气储量后为容纳天然气加工厂的工人而建造的。它的刚性空间结构与一排排相同的建筑物抹去了该镇的历史和文化基础,传达出一种可怕的“抽象同质”感(Lefebvre 1991, 370)。列斐伏尔所说的空间的生产不仅仅是房屋和道路等的物理制造和组装,更是关于创造组织日常生活和改变社会关系的物质条件。在穆伦克斯,列斐伏尔观察到了前资本主义向工业城市化的转变,在这个过程中人们与生产资料分离并被迫成为雇佣劳动者。[5] 他的《新城手记》(1995)直接批判了将抽象同质性置于差异之上且改变了前资本主义社区日常生活的资本主义空间生产。

在本节中,我借用列斐伏尔关于穆伦克斯的著作和他的空间的社会生产理论来理解新莫罗科查的转型。我认为这比将新莫罗科查,一个移民安置项目,看为中国城市发展模式的论述框架更有成效。旧莫罗科查的历史在其城市景观中清晰可辨。相比之下,新莫罗科查是一个历史(时间)和归属感(空间)都模糊不清,甚至不存在的地方。 列斐伏尔 (2000, 59) 认为新莫罗科查不仅“否定了传统城镇”更在结构上改变了旧莫罗科查的日常生活,是殖民性的“城市的入侵”(引自 Soja 1996, 49)。确实,新莫罗科查的空间布局指向了城市规划中的技术官僚理性,不幸地导致了疏离感和日常生活的转变。新城表面的辉煌与光鲜亮丽中蕴含着深切的苦难与悲哀。

从秘鲁中央高速公路俯视新莫罗科查,映入眼帘的是以严格空间布局排列的基础设施:网格排列的房屋、商业活动区和教育街区。对于列斐伏尔来说,新城穆伦克斯是资本主义现代性的缩影,体现在其“数量增长和质量异化”的结果中(Wilson 2011, 996)。他认为空间的生产具有破坏性,因为这个过程充满了城市规划中内在的矛盾,尤其是在资本主义制度下(Lefebvre 1991;Gordillo 2014)。列斐伏尔正是对疏离生活的体验和日常生活的转变感兴趣。这些问题在新莫罗科查再明显不过了。

城市规划明显的矛盾之一是现代主义对高效城市规划的追求与在技术专家指导下日益艰难的城市生活体验。新城的居民现在过着空间上分散的生活:他们的商业活动、行政服务和住宅区都分散集中在城市的不同地方。这种空间划分不仅通过强加空间等级关系破坏了原莫罗科查流动和半自治的生活,而且使当地人口变得容易被控制与管理。许多接受本研究采访的居民告诉作者他们担心受到中铝或其员工的监视。网格设计对于重构新莫罗科查居民的日常生活尤为重要(见图 3)。由于高度个体化的房屋结构和有限的房屋空间,被安置的居民不再有机自然地走访各个家庭,因此在重新安置的居民之间产生了疏离感。同时在外观相同的街道附近走动会产生一种迷失感。威尔逊(2011 )在对墨西哥恰帕斯州的中央政府安置点的研究结果中提供了类似的观察结果,即街道和房屋之间的半私人和半公共空间在新城镇中消失了。传统住宅通常设有朝向街道的院子,为行人提供遮阳、避雨或交谈的场所,而新建的住宅区则被铁丝网包围,其封闭朝内的院子营造出高度私人化和疏离的感觉。因此,与原莫罗科查环境所体现出的动态交织的社会关系不同,新莫罗科查的刚性空间规划通过无形的抽象和私人与公共空间的明确分离传达出一种孤立感。

新莫罗科查的空间重组也导致了向外迁移的浪潮。尽管大多数人是因为经济前景黯淡而离开,但少数居民离开是因为他们在一个排他的城镇中感到文化和社会上的疏离。新莫罗科查的一些企业主要围绕着中铝及其采矿业务开展,导致当地人的生活需求没有得到满足甚至是被忽略。不幸的是,这将导致了新莫罗科查的城市空间变得具有隔离排他性,在某种程度上加强了该镇原始空间设计所施加的刚性死板结构。例如,镇上的大多数餐馆都与中铝及其承包商签订了合同,因此他们的日常运营围绕着矿山的运营。他们只在早上 6 点至早上 8 点供应早餐,上午 11:30 至下午 1:30 供应午餐,以及晚上 6 点至晚上 8 点供应晚餐。同样,新莫罗科查的酒店和旅馆大多挤满了临时分包商和寻找工作的移民。为了有效管理员工,中铝的一些直接承包商将租用的空房子改造成成宿舍。网吧是员工打印报销收据或使用电脑玩游戏的热门聚集地。因此,尽管新莫罗科查是为了安置因特罗莫克矿山项目而流离失所的人,一个以现代化、城市化和商业化为导向的城镇最终因为将当地居民视为某些消费空间的局外人而进一步边缘化了当地居民。

新莫罗科查是在资本主义现代性和新自由主义改革这两大快速发展的全球转型中出现的众多“新城镇”之一。[6] 新莫罗科查不是一个容纳流离失所者的移民安置项目。相反,它是一个由资本主义导致的空间再生产。资本主义通过修建新莫罗科查试图合理化流离失所且以发展的名义为采掘业辩护。因此,移民安置点渐渐成为体现资本主义现代性的抽象空间。在这个空间里,财富积累是首要目的;在这个空间里,日常生活的疏离感和转变感无处不在(Lefebvre 1995)。此外,作为一个建造在技术官僚和企业指导之上的城镇,新莫罗科查极具功能主义的空间布局与其居民过去居住的多元化和半自治村庄几乎没有任何相似之处。正如威尔逊 (2011, 998) 所总结的那样,新城是“象征日常生活的丰富性和创造自主性逐渐被剔除的地方,取而代之的是通过有计划的空间生产所投射到现实中的技术官僚的同质​​化和碎片化。”




将新莫罗科查的案例置于更广泛的全球采矿业背景下有助​​于纠正其为“中国城市主义的输出”观点(Castagnola 2013;Nyíri 2017)。随着中国转变为全球力量,李静君(2017)认为“全球性中国”应该成为推动中国研究超越中国领土边界的研究主题。然而,全球性中国现象应该以实证研究为基础,被视为一个有启发性的切入点和一个富有成效的分析工具,而不是在抽象辩论中发现的话语。在新莫罗科查的案例中,列斐伏尔的空间的生产理论为我们提供了一个更扎实的工具。该理论将移民安置作为资本主义空间生产来处理,让我们了解到“全球性中国”的物质后果而非一个基于资本来源地的话语框架。



[1] 值得注意的是,因为我的论点挑战了基于资本国籍的分析,因此将新莫罗科查标记为“秘鲁式项目”的分析同样具有误导性。

[2] Social Capital Group专门分析和管理“与公共和私营部门的大型投资项目相关的社会风险和机遇”(Social Capital Group网站)。除移民规划外,SCG 的其他项目包括在科特迪瓦金矿的社会管理咨询、哥斯达黎加的水电项目评估,危地马拉的社区关系咨询,哥伦比亚碳项目的利益相关者分析,洪都拉斯有关油气开发土著问题的技术咨询,以及智利的环境和社会可行性分析。Social Capital Group为矿业、能源、油气、交通与基础设施、农业与林业等五个行业提供社会评估、管理规划与调整、项目实施与外包服务。

[3] 这项研究的受访者甚至认为移民安置的想法可以追溯回该矿产由国有企业Centromin 管理的1980 年代。

[4] 移民安置是中铝通过环境影响评估 (EIA) 和其他基本许可的先决条件。

[5] 几个世纪以来,原莫罗科查一直是一个矿产小镇。到 20 世纪中叶,该城镇的无产阶级化进程已经完成。因此,搬迁到新莫罗科查并没有从根本上改变当地人与资本主义生产的劳动关系。

[6] 新莫罗科查是一个新自由主义“新城”。它是一个“私人资助的公共项目”(Stauffer 2012),而非用于加强国家控制的“权力技术”(Wilson 2011)。秘鲁新自由主义改革直接导致其国内矿产被跨国公司私有化,从造成了新莫罗科查该移民安置点。换言之,新莫罗科查是由资本主义社会关系和企业权力构成的。

Works cited:

Castagola, G. B. C. (2013). The Hill and the Hole: From Apu to Resource in the Post-Industrial Andean Landscape. [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston.

Chinalco News. (2018) 崛起在南美高原——中铝秘鲁矿业成立 10 周年发展纪实。

Chinalco News. (2019) 中铝秘鲁矿业:逐梦者,不以山海为远。

Erikson, D. P., & Chen, J. (2007). China, Taiwan, and the battle for Latin America. The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, 31(2), 69.

Flynn, S., & Vergara, L. (2015). Land Access and Resettlement Planning at La Granja. Center for Social Responsibility in Mining at the University of Queensland.

Gonzalez-Vicente, R. (2011). The internationalization of the Chinese state. Political Geography, 30(7), 402–411.

Gonzalez-Vicente, R. (2012). Mapping Chinese Mining Investment in Latin America: Politics or Market? The China Quarterly, 209, 35–58.

Gordillo, G. (2014). Rubble: The Afterlife of Destruction. Duke University Press.

Hofman, I. (2016). Politics or profits along the “Silk Road”: What drives Chinese farms in Tajikistan and helps them thrive? Eurasian Geography and Economics: The Geoeconomics and Geopolitics of Chinese Development and Investment in Asia, 57(3), 457–481.

Humphries, M. (2015). China’s Mineral Industry and U.S. Access to Strategic and Critical Minerals: Issues for Congress. Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service.

Klinger, J. M., & Muldavin, J. S. S. (2019). New geographies of development: Grounding China’s global integration. Territory, Politics, Governance, 7(1), 1–21.

Lee, C. K. (2014). The Spectre of Global China. New Left Review, 89, 29–66.

Lee, C. K. (2017). The specter of global China: Politics, labor, and foreign investment in Africa. The University of Chicago Press.

Lefebvre, H. (1991). The production of space. Blackwell.

Lefebvre, H. (1995). Introduction to modernity: Twelve preludes, September 1959-May 1961. Verso.

Lefebvre, H. (2000). Everyday Life in the Modern World. London: Athlone.

Lowell, J. D. (2014). Intrepid explorer: The autobiography of the world’s best mine-finder. Sentinel Peak Books.

Mawdsley, E. (2008). Fu Manchu versus Dr Livingstone in the Dark Continent? Representing China, Africa and the West in British broadsheet newspapers. Political Geography, 27(5), 509–529.

Murton, G., Lord, A., & Beazley, R. (2016). “A handshake across the Himalayas:” Chinese investment, hydropower development, and state formation in Nepal. Eurasian Geography and Economics: The Geoeconomics and Geopolitics of Chinese Development and Investment in Asia, 57(3), 403– 432.

Nyíri, P. (2017). Realms of Free Trade, Enclaves of Order: Chinese-Built ‘Instant Cities’ in Northern Laos. In M. Saxer & J. Zhang (Eds.), The Art of Neighbouring: Making Relations Across China’s Borders. Amsterdam University Press.

Ray, R., Gallagher, K. P., Lopez, A., & Sanborn, C. (2015). China in Latin America: Lessons for South-South Cooperation and Sustainable Development. Global Economic Governance Initiative at Boston University.

Rogers, S., & Wilmsen, B. (2019). Towards a critical geography of resettlement. Progress in Human Geography, 030913251882465.

Sanborn, C., & Chonn, V. (2015), “Chinese Investment in Peru ́s Mining Industry: Blessing or Curse?” Global Economic Governance Initiative at Boston University.

Soja, E. W. (1996). Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and other real-and-imagined places. Blackwell.

Stallings, B. (2016). Chinese Foreign Aid to Latin America: Trying to Win Friends and Influence People. In M. Myers & C. Wise (Eds.), The Political Economy of China-Latin American Relations in the New Millennium: Brave New World. Routledge.

Stauffer, C. (2012). Chinese miner builds high-altitude experiment in Peru. Reuters. Accessed June 18, 2020.

Taylor, I. (2002). Taiwan’s Foreign Policy and Africa: The limitations of dollar diplomacy. Journal of Contemporary China, 11(30), 125–140.

Yeh, E. T. (2016). Introduction: The geoeconomics and geopolitics of Chinese development and investment in Asia. Eurasian Geography and Economics, 57(3), 275–285.

Zhang, M., Wu, W., & Zhong, W. (2018). Agency and social construction of space under top-down planning: Resettled rural residents in China. Urban Studies, 55(7), 1541–1560.

[1] It is important to note that while none of the contracted firms building Nueva Morococha are Chinese or use Chinese laborer/materials, it would be equally misleading to label the project “Peruvian” given my argument challenging the impulse to label capital in terms of nationality.

[2] Social Capital Group specializes in analysis and management of “the social risks and opportunities associated with large-scale investment projects in both the public and private sectors” (Social Capital Group Website). In addition to resettlement planning, other SCG projects range from social management consultation for gold mining in Côte d’Ivoire to hydroelectric project evaluation in Costa Rica; from community relations advising in Guatemala to stakeholder analysis for carbon projects in Colombia; from technical advising for Indigenous issues of hydrocarbon development in Honduras to environmental and social feasibility analysis in Chile. The company provides social assessment, management planning and alignment, and implementation and outsourcing services for five sectors including mining, energy, oil and gas, transportation and infrastructure, as well as agriculture and forest.

[3] Interviewees of this study even traced the idea of resettlement back to the 1980’s when the mine was under the state-owned Centromin.

[4] A resettlement is a prerequisite without which Chinalco could not pass its Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and other essential permits.

[5] Antigua Morococha has been a mining town for centuries and the process of proletarianization had already been completed by the mid twentieth century. Thus, the transition to Nueva Morococha does not fundamentally alter the ways in which locals are tied to capitalist relations of production.

[6] Nueva Morococha is a neoliberal “new town” because it is a “privately funded public project” (Stauffer 2012) rather than a “technology of power” for state control (Wilson 2011), and its creation is a direct result of Peru’s neoliberal reform which opened the country’s minerals for privatization by transnational corporations. In other words, Nueva Morococha is configured by capitalist social relations and corporate power.

%d bloggers like this: