Conflicts and regional culture: The general features and cultural background of illegitimate housing demolition in China

Haoying Han, Xianfan Shu, Xinyue Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Conflicts caused by housing demolition and relocation have been a major threat to social stability in China. However, our knowledge of what characterizes these conflicts and how they emerge remains inadequate. This article aims to address these two questions. In a general sense, this paper is also an attempt to promote a better understanding of the relationship between conflicts and regional culture. Based on an analysis of 575 cases of illegitimate demolition collected from news websites, we find that most illegitimate demolition cases occur against the background of the public sector's expropriation in urbanization projects. Moreover, a spatial agglomeration of illegitimate demolition cases is found north of the Yangtze River. A count data regression model is developed to assess whether regional culture is relevant. The results confirm that regional cultural features, which are quantified using 7 cultural dimensions of the GLOBE project, influence the probability of illegitimate demolition. Specifically, residents of a region with higher uncertainty avoidance, humane orientation and in-group collectivism are more likely to experience illegitimate demolition. In contrast, a region characterized by high performance orientation, assertiveness, institutional collectivism and power distance has a relatively low probability of experiencing illegitimate demolition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-77
Number of pages11
JournalHabitat International
StatePublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Urban Studies


  • Count regression
  • Culture and conflict
  • Demolition and relocation conflict
  • Illegitimate administration
  • Regional culture
  • Violent demolition


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