Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental and Energy Policy (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Social Sciences


Audrey Mayer


China has recently undertaken a very ambitious biofuel production program. However due to a lack of arable land domestically, this program has necessitated the leasing of arable land elsewhere (e.g., in Africa). This thesis first conducts a policy analysis of China’s biofuel policy using a historical institutionalism ends-and-means framework. The analysis reveals the ways in which China achieves its biofuel production goals through adopting various levels of policy means. China’s success in biofuel development is partly due to its unique policy-making and policy-assessment system, which ensures that biofuel production goals can be met. The second chapter analyzes China’s discourse on Chinese companies’ land acquisitions for biofuel production in Africa. Revealed through China’s press coverage since 2007 on this issue, it is clear that China’s public media promoted the perception that China’s land acquisition in Africa is a win-win situation for both China and Africa, helping China’s economic development as well as contributing to Africa’s sustainability. Even though some efforts towards realizing social sustainability have been reported, the attitude of the Chinese public media (also the Chinese government) toward land tenure rights, human rights, and stakeholder involvement is still hazy; these are the concerns that are most prevalent in the scholarly literature.