Based on the material gathered from two months of fieldwork, this thesis explores the relations between ecotourism and poverty alleviation in the villages within the Three Parallel Rivers of the Yangtze (Jinsha), the Mekong (Lancang) and the Salween (Nu) rivers (henceforth TPR) in north-west Yunnan, China. The purpose of this research is to examine the mechanism of community-based ecotourism activities (horseback riding, nongjiale) and the dynamics of collaboration in maintaining these ecotourism activities, as well as to examine the role of community-based participation to secure and improve people‘s livelihoods.When it comes to conceptualizing ecotourism in the Chinese context, it is indispensable to understand state-led New Socialist Countryside Construction (shehuizhuyi xin nongcun jianshe, hereafter NSCC) which was inspired by the Saemaul Movement (1971-79) and which was led by the dictator Park Chung-Hee in South Korea. In this regard, this paper provides a brief comparison between NSCC and the Saemaul Movement.Through a case study of the Yubeng village, this paper examines the collaborative mechanisms of managing local residents‘ innovative tour programs – horseback riding along the trails – and explores the functions of the self-organized rotating system to secure their livelihoods and improve their standards of living based on an interdisciplinary analysis. As a result of environmental degradation generated by horses, the horseback riding business has been criticized, and indeed threatened due to a governmental decision to expand infrastructure – i.e road construction, and other collaborative and market-oriented interventions.Another case based on the representative collaborative and market-oriented model – illustrated by the Pudacuo National park, which has been mainly operated by an alliance of stakeholders from both governmental agencies and the tourism industry – will be analyzed based on the impacts upon local residents.Finally, in order to play an active role in securing and improving their standards of living, it is worthwhile to examine how the Chinese peasants have received loans, especially from microfinance programs, which are designed for the rural poor. This will be depicted by the last case addressed in this thesis – nongjiale (农家乐) in the villages of Bingzhongluo county - which explores the mechanism of a microfinance program and examines to what extent such a microfinance program facilitates rural tourism.