Drawing on more than a quarter century of field and documentary research in rural North China, this book explores the contested relationship between village and state from the 1960s to the start of the twenty-first century. The authors provide a vivid portrait of how resilient villagers struggle to survive and prosper in the face of state power in two epochs of revolution and reform. Highlighting the importance of intra-rural resistance and rural-urban conflicts to Chinese politics and society in the Great Leap and Cultural Revolution, the authors go on to depict the dynamic changes that have transformed village China in the post-Mao era.
This book continues the dramatic story in the authors’ prizewinning Chinese Village, Socialist State. Plumbing previously untapped sources, including interviews, archival materials, village records and unpublished memoirs, diaries and letters, the authors capture the struggles, pains and achievements of villagers across three generations of social upheaval.
This book is a continuation of the authors' earlier study, Chinese Village, Socialist State, and it is based on some 30 research visits to the village of Wugong, in the county of Raoyang, 120 miles south of Beijing. The story picks up with the beginning of the Great Leap Forward disaster, continues on to the end of the Mao era and the introduction of Deng Xiaoping's reforms, and ends with the beginning of the new century. This is part of a truly major research project that has focused on Wugong since the late 1970s. In tracing its history, the authors concentrate on the interactions between village and county authorities, on the one side, and the provincial, regional, and central governments, on the other, bringing to life the power relationships and networks that shape the lives of the villagers. The value of this major project is that it documents in rich detail the human problems that lie behind the standard story of the developments of Chinese national policy.