Catastrophe and Contention in Rural China: Mao's Great Leap Forward Famine and the Origins of Righteous Resistance in Da Fo Village

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-05-05
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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This book documents how Chinas rural people remember the great famine of Maoist rule, which proved to be the worst famine in modern world history. Ralph A. Thaxton, Jr., sheds new light on how Chinas socialist rulers drove rural dwellers to hunger and starvation, on how powerless villagers formed resistance to the corruption and coercion of collectivization, and on how their hidden and contentious acts, both individual and concerted, allowed them to survive and escape the predatory grip of leaders and networks in the thrall of Maos authoritarian plan for a full-throttle realization of communism - a plan that engendered an unprecedented disaster for rural families. Based on his study of a rural villages memories of the famine, Thaxton argues that these memories persisted long after the events of the famine and shaped rural resistance to the socialist state, both before and after the post-Mao era of reform.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Cast of Characters: Da Fo Village (Great Buddha), 1920-1993p. xvii
Chronology of Important Eventsp. xxi
Introductionp. 1
The Great Leap Forward Famine and Chairman Mao's Catastrophep. 1
The History of a Single Rural Villagep. 5
Memory, Politics, and Oral History Methodologyp. 10
Book Overviewp. 19
The Republican Era and the Emergence of Communist Leadership During the Anti-Japanese War of Resistancep. 23
Saline Earth and Earth Saltp. 25
The Crises of the Republican Periodp. 26
Large Landholders in the Republican Periodp. 33
The Japanese Invasion and the Two Poles of the Resistancep. 39
The Da Fo Militia and the Second Polep. 41
Early Communist Party Governance and Protection in Da Fop. 45
The Ascent of the Vigilante Militia: The Violent Antecedents of Mao's War Communismp. 51
Occupation by Yang Faxian's Puppet Regimep. 51
The Second Pole in Occupied Da Fop. 58
The Land Revolution of 1945-1947p. 70
The Civil War and Vigilante Violence, 1946-1949p. 75
The Disappearance of the First Polep. 80
The Work Style of Warp. 83
The Onset of Collectivization and Popular Dissatisfaction with Mao's "Yellow Bomb" Roadp. 89
Cooperativization: Mutual Aid Groups and Land-Pooling Associationsp. 91
The Introduction and Escalation of Unified Purchase and Salep. 97
The Failure of the Agricultural Production Cooperativep. 101
The Path to the Liangmen People's Communep. 106
The Mandate Abandoned: The Disaster of the Great Leap Forwardp. 118
Farming and Living Collectivelyp. 119
Runaway Procurement and the Causes of the Faminep. 123
Escalating Demands for Laborp. 132
The Gender Bias of Maoist Forced Labor and the Attack on Motherhoodp. 139
Public Criticismp. 143
Strategies of Survival and their Elimination in the Great Leap Forwardp. 157
Foot-Draggingp. 158
Remittancesp. 160
Migrationp. 162
The Black Marketp. 170
Beggingp. 176
Crop Theftp. 177
Gleaningp. 181
Grain Concealmentp. 185
The Nature of Resistance in the Early Years of the Great Leapp. 188
Political Repression and the Lesson from Xinyangp. 191
The Escape from Famine and Deathp. 199
Chi Qing: The Most Effective Hidden Strategy of Resistancep. 200
The Death Rate in Da Fop. 207
Explaining Da Fo's Escape from the Great Leap Forward Faminep. 215
Chi Qing as a Form of Anti-State Resistancep. 226
Indignation and Frustrated Retaliation: The Politics of Disengagementp. 231
Alienation and Disengagement during the Great Leap Forwardp. 232
Resentment Unalleviated: The Anti-Five Winds Campaign and the Four Cleanups Campaignp. 246
The Cultural Revolution and Its Complexitiesp. 253
The Price of Restoring Order: Bao Zhilong Is Returned to Powerp. 262
The Market Comes First: The Economics of Disengagement and the Origins of Reformp. 268
Hidden Smallholding within Collectivizationp. 270
The Land Division of 1982p. 274
Hidden Market Reentry within Collectivizationp. 277
Persistent Memories and Long-Delayed Retaliation in the Reform Erap. 292
The State Campaign to Manage the Memory of the Great Leap Forward Faminep. 293
Obstacles to Creating a New Memory of the Great Leap Forward Faminep. 301
Settling the Scorep. 312
Conclusionp. 325
War Communism and Lumpen Leadershipp. 327
The Repression and Theft of Entitlementp. 331
Resistance, Memory, and Communist Party Legitimacyp. 334
The Cultural Revolution and Its Link to the Great Leap Faminep. 339
The Great Leap's Legacy and Reformp. 342
Reform and Revengep. 344
Bibliographyp. 349
Indexp. 365
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