Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2010


China’s surging growth rate of nearly 10% over the past 20 years has accelerated the nation to the forefront of the global economy. However, this growth has been predicated upon the destruction and depletion of the natural environment. Consequently, China is beginning to experience the deterioration of its ecological capital, particularly in regards to its water supply. This paper seeks to evaluate the impact of water scarcity in Northern China on the Chinese Communist Party’s policy of food self-sufficiency by utilizing the protective security component of Amartya Sen’s development as freedom framework. It is argued that ecological security is a fundamental element of protective security and that the degradation of China’s ecological capital, specifically its water resources has led to an increased ecological insecurity which has negatively affected China’s ability to ensure its version of protective security. Therefore, there exists great impetus for the CCP to address water scarcity, as the ramifications of a lack of access to water have sweeping implications for the development and food security of the nation. However, because the CCP has focused more on ensuring the short term supply of water rather than fixing the demand, it has failed to address China’s water mismanagement. As a result, its failure to address its ecological insecurity greatly impinges upon its ability to ensure protective security via food self-sufficiency.