Land Movement in China, Free Essay in History

Published: 2022-04-20
Land Movement in China, Free Essay in History
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History Revolution
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1305 words
11 min read

In the book, "The Dragon Village", Chen provides an analysis of her experience doing the land reform work in the Northern Province of China immediately after the 1949 revolution. This paper utilizes Chen's Dragon's Village to evaluate the argument presented in "Why Did it Go so High?" The five political factor stands out to explain the rapid and relative smoothness of the high tide. They include the socio-political classification systems, land reforms, the control of the social mobility, the leadership of the rural party system, and political state engulfing agricultural collectivization. China-based its interest on collectivization. Based on the five aspects, the state and the social connection established through land reforms was stronger. The social division got roots such that the society got vulnerable to assault from the state. The leadership of the rural party was effective, coherent and efficient; social control was tighter, and consequently, peasants had minimal choices beyond compliance, and the party pushed harder in creating a legitimizing discourse.

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Effects of Land Reforms

The land reformed in China played integral role in reshaping rural China into three major ways. To begin with, it destructed the ancient or traditional self-rule system in Chinese villages leading to reservoir where rural social power concentrated. Secondly, it led to the ascending to power by the leadership which was loyal to the Chinese communist party. Thirdly, it developed the communist party legitimacy among a good number of rural people. It was now clear that the traditional Chinese village were more self-govern that ruled from the above. The rural elites, land lords, intellectuals and lineage seniors managed rural society in public spheres. The elites were now viewed both as agents who negotiated with higher authorities and as exploitative agents of the state. Using bloody land reforms, the party scraps off the whole layer of this class. The rural social power was dismantled after a serious death involving over two million. Peasant lost their organizational ground of social resistance as a result of the destruction of the rural social power. According to the Soviet Union, the traditional capital was not wholly instead, it was changed by collectivization from 1929 to 1932.

Political Mobilization and Agricultural Collectivization

The situation in the Soviet Union was very different. Prior to emergence of collectivization, land ownership and management was duty of Mir. The party had not handed over any land to the peasants through which to establish their personal gratitude. Even at the times of ndukulakization campaign, "the property taken from kulaks was not distributed to the poor peasants but was moved to anew kolhozy,"

Divide and rule

Notably, this was the most classical political strategy adopted by the Chinese communist party. The party separated and re-divided society into the people and "class enemies" mobilizing the former to crush the later. The dividing line between red and black was always kept fluid to serve the changing purposes of political struggle into social antagonism so that the society could self-destruct without too much political investment from the above. In order for it to work, classifications were often subjectively constructed. Notably, it was further imagined or exaggerated to create the social bases of political mobilization. The land reforms had generally flattened the social hierarchies in rural China so that the party was subjected to finding and exploiting new gaps in the social structure. The dividing line shifted to the direction of the middle peasant. Around 1950s there were two kinds of middle peasants. The ancient one, before the land reforms and the current which had emerged from poor peasant after land reforms by virtue of their higher productivity. That entire group, which could not be described as an exploiting class, had now to be divided for the purposes of mobilization. Under this, mao developed the distinction between the upper peasants and the lower-middle peasants. This creative application and development of maxims partially provided the social dynamic for collectivization. The poor and the lower middle peasants were viewed to have more enthusiasm to organize collectives. This is because they still lacked human resources this made their life difficult. The collectivization was therefore often given to the peasant as another festival of asset division in which poor and lower middle peasant could legally enjoy what the upper middle peasants had and enjoy immediate benefits.

Politically, the party emphasized the need to put the leadership of the collectives into the hands of reliable forces. Mao stated that the poor and the lower middle-middle peasants should be arranged into the collectives first and then the upper-middle could be absorbed. Meanwhile, the political campaigns were launched in the country to identify class enemies. It was to sharpen 'cadres' sense of vigilance and also to warn upper middle-class peasants. It attacked the economic interest of the upper-middle class. Despite the rhetoric advocacy of taking care, or protecting the middle peasants, the single main feature of the 1954 campaign was the extensive spread discrimination against the middle peasants in the treatment of their privately owned resources once they had joined the co-operatives. The occurrence at the high tide was the radical continuation of the 1954 campaigns with the possession of the middle peasant collectivized at the extremely lower price. During the upsurge, the safeguards, and the middle- peasant interest was more and more ignored. By granting political leadership and economic benefits to the poor and the lower-middle peasants.

Social Control

The tight social control surrounding the peasants was another factor explaining the compliance. Of particular significance were two facts; in 1953 state took charge of supply of grains, and established the hukou (household registration) this happened on the eve of high tide. Combined, these two changes controlled efficiently, if not prohibited, peasants geographical mobility. Peasant's dependence on local authority became almost total with no possibility of exit.

The Rural Leadership

The three nature of local leadership strengthened the party's mobilizing power during the collectivization: "density" of party organization in rural China, the party cultivation of the social partners in carrying out the movement; and discipline within the party. Combined together, rural cadres proved efficient organizers leading the collectivization movement. The party's density was achieved by creating party branches at all administrative levels, work units and schools. The dense- basic level party organization provided a strong organization infrastructure for political mobilization. The central party depended on the local cadres to propagandize collectivization, to persuade and register the house hold, to calculate the compensation, to confiscate or purchase peasants property. Although work teams were sent down to reinforce the mobilization power during the collectivization, the existence of the leadership foundation in majority of the villages made it possible to give the drive and indispensable minimum of structure and patterning without which many newly established co-operative would have collapsed as soon as the work team left. The Chinese communist party was considered assiduous in cultivating social embeddedness. Instead of forcing the collectivization, the party looked for and worked with a layer of activist from the peasants so that there was buffering zone between state and society. The party and work teams tried to locate activists according to their economic status. Poor and lower-middle peasants were given more trust. The youth league members were particularly favored as a result of their past activism and careerist aspirations. A usual strategy to attract activism was massive "distribution" of party membership during political campaign. The collectivization was no exception. "In China party building and co=operative building were carried on simultaneously during upsurge.

The Legitimizing Discourse

The Chinese communist party made vast efforts to avoid alienating peasants. Discourses legitimizing collectivization were strategically formulated and ardently propagated. Such dialogue covered both the beneficial result of the campaigns and its working method.


Chen, Yuan-stung. The Dragon's Village: An Autobiographical Novel of Revolutionary China. London: Women's Press, 1980. Print.

Foard, James. The Pure Land Tradition: History and Development. Berkeley, Calif: Regents of the Univ. of Calif, 1996. Print.

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