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This is the first of the two final volumes of The Cambridge History of China, which describe the efforts of the People's Republic of China to grapple with the problems of adaptation to modern times. Volume 14 deals with the achievements of the economic and human disasters of the new regime's first sixteen years (1949–65). Part I chronicles the attempt to adapt the Soviet model of development to China, and Part II covers the subsequent efforts of China's leaders to find native solutions that would provide more rapid and appropriate answers to China's problems. Each of the two parts of the volume analyzes the key issues and developments in the spheres of politics, economics, culture, education, and foreign relations. The contributors, all leading scholars of the period, show the interrelation of Chinese actions in all these spheres, and the describe how, gradually, events led to the Cultural Revolution launched by Mao Tse-tung in 1966.

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  • 1 - The reunification of China
    pp 1-48
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    Journalism as the chief mode for understanding the Chinese revolution has had a fruitful growth throughout the twentieth century. Television can bring the Chinese revolution into the home of every Westerner. Through the revolution of 1911, then the revolution of the 1920s under the Kuomintang Party in its first united front with the Chinese Communist Party, the reporting of the current scene in China has continued to progress in technique and expand in coverage. A turning point in the social-scientific approach was inaugurated during World War II by the growth of area studies, which focus the various disciplines on China. Beginning in the late eighteenth century, Chinese scholars noted increasing difficulties in administration, the decline of morale, and the rise of rebellion. These phenomena, from the late eighteenth century to about the 1870s, were slotted into the traditional cubbyholes of the dynastic cycle theory. The Industrial Revolution of the early nineteenth century had obviously outgrown the sphere of industry.
  • 2 - Establishment and consolidation of the new regime
    pp 49-143
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    Mao Tse-tung was clearly the unchallenged leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) throughout the 1949-57 period. In this period, broad agreement existed within the CCP leadership on adopting the Soviet model of socialism. The essence of Mao's program for revolution before 1949 had been the need to address Chinese realities, and he was not about to disown that principle during the stage of building socialism. Differences in economic and cultural levels, agricultural patterns, local customs, and ethnic composition all required suitably varied responses. The crucial difference, however, was the degree of CCP presence in various areas before 1949. In addition to gradualism, the common program adopted the classic united front tactic of narrowly defining enemies as 'imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism'. The crucial task for the new liberated areas generally was land reform. To this task the CCP brought experience and personnel that were often lacking for the more complex conditions of the cities.
  • 3 - Economic recovery and the 1st Five-Year Plan
    pp 144-183
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    This chapter explores the magnitude of the development problems faced by the Chinese at mid-century, analyzes the policies adopted, and assesses the record of accomplishment through the first Five-Year Plan (FYP). It also illuminates why the relatively successful strategy of the first FYP was abandoned immediately and replaced by the Great Leap Forward, a program of massive and unprecedented failure. Rapid industrial growth was concentrated regionally and did not lead to sustained growth of national output. The Sino-Japanese War and the civil war exacerbated certain long-term structural problems. The burdensome legacy inherited by the Communist regime was hyperinflation. Early forms of cooperative agriculture, called mutual aid teams, were an extension of traditional forms of peasant cooperation in which labor and the use of draft animals and farm implements were exchanged on a voluntary reciprocal basis. In order to meet targets for the number of Agricultural Producers' Cooperatives formed, local cadres violated the principles of voluntarism and mutual benefit.
  • 4 - Education for the new order
    pp 184-217
    • By Suzanne Pepper, Universities Field Staff International, Hong Kong
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    The distinction between modern and traditional-style schooling was an important one, for it coincided with and reinforced the urban-rural dichotomy. Traditional elementary schooling was diffused throughout the countryside and was not confined to towns and cities, although it was prevalent there. Another institution was the public elementary school inherited from the late imperial era, which was intended to serve children from poor families. In this manner, education in Republican China became more differentiated: The new Westernized learning was concentrated at the national and elite levels and in the cities, while the rural areas remained to a greater degree the preserve of traditional values and learning. The authority of the education bureaucracy was bypassed at the central as well as the local levels of the Border Region Education Department to an advisory capacity. The conference announced the new principles that would guide the education work plan drawn up to coordinate educational development with the first year of the 1st Five-Year Plan.
  • 5 - The Party and the intellectuals
    pp 218-258
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    After 1949, the Party carried out a contradictory policy toward the intellectuals: On the one hand, it indoctrinated them in Marxism- Leninism-Maoism, which was imposed comprehensively and intensively than Confucianism had been on the traditional literati. On the other hand, it tried to stimulate the intellectuals to be productive in their professions. Like Stalin, the political leadership of the Chinese Communist Party looked to writers and artists to transform "the human soul" according to the Party's dictates. The Party's first effort to mobilize intellectuals to its cause began in Shanghai in the mid-i93os, primarily among the writers. Before the Party came to power and after the establishment of the People's Republic of China, virtually every turn in the political climate and often major political moves were signaled by vehement debates and polemics in the literary realm. Hsiao Chűn was one of the few intellectuals to speak out against the violence that accompanied the land reform of the late 1940s.
  • 6 - Foreign relations: from the Korean War to the Bandung Line
    pp 259-290
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    China's top foreign policy goal was to develop good relations with its socialist "elder brother", the Soviet Union. The newly established People's Republic of China was soon faced with the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950. The Sino-American antagonism fueled by the Korean War set the pattern for the subsequent Cold War in Asia. Consequently the potential friction between China and the Soviet Union was played down by both sides. In the mid-1950s China's foreign policy thus followed what might be termed the Bandung Line of peaceful coexistence. China's prestige and influence rose steadily, and at one point Peking seemed to be emerging as the champion of the world's newly independent nations. Mao Tse-tung witnessed the signing of the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Alliance, and the treaty was basically a military pact designed to display the monolithic unity of China and the Soviet Union against any resurgence of Japanese militarism.
  • 7 - The Great Leap Forward and the split in the Yenan leadership
    pp 291-359
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    During the spring and summer of 1958 Mao Tse-tung and his colleagues pushed the Great Leap Forward (GLF) idea as an alternative to the development strategy that had been imported from the Soviet Union for the first Five-Year Plan (FYP). Needing some way to overcome bottlenecks that appeared to preclude a simple repetition of the first FYP strategy, the Chinese leaders settled on an approach that utilized the mass mobilization skills they had honed to a fine edge during the Anti-Japanese War years in Yenan. Mao began to take the fateful steps that led to unleashing the Cultural Revolution in 1966. Factors such as weather and the industrial sector produced a rising crescendo of support for the GLF, both within the Chinese Communist Party and among the general populace. The split in the Yenan leadership has focused on the different components that came together to launch the Cultural Revolution in 1966.
  • 8 - The Chinese economy under stress, 1958—1965
    pp 360-397
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    The most fundamental issue surrounding the 2nd Five-Year Plan was the prospect for increasing the rate of growth of Chinese agriculture. The Great Leap Forward was predicated on Mao Tse-tung's misunderstanding of the constraints facing Chinese agriculture. In large part the labor mobilization strategy was directed toward water conservancy and irrigation projects that were expected to raise crop yields substantially. The Chinese famine, by comparison, took from three to five times that number of lives and even surpassed the Soviet famine in proportional terms if Western estimates of excess mortality are used in place of the official figures. In higher-stage Agricultural Producers' Cooperatives (APCs), net income was distributed to APCs members according to their labor contributions. The recovery of production and other measures led to the reestablishment of price stability, particularly in rural markets. Industrial recovery was far more rapid than that of agriculture. The recovery of industrial and agricultural output is reflected in China's national income.
  • 9 - New directions in education
    pp 398-431
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    According to the conventional periodization of post-1949 China, the Great Leap Forward of 1958 marks the end of direct Soviet influence and the beginning of a new Chinese road to socialism. The single, unified nationwide objective was to produce laborers with socialist consciousness and culture. But many different forms of schooling would be used in pursuit of that single aim, including schools run by the state and those run by collectives; general education and vocational training; education for children and for adults; full-day schools, work-study schools, and spare-time schools; and schools that charged tuition as well as those that did not. Both in city and countryside, the min-pan idea was now applied to the secondary level. The Kiangsi Communist Labor University was a unique institution not only because it was so successful but also because of its provincewide scope and its continuing reliance on a part-work part-study curriculum. The peasants themselves looked down on the work-study agricultural middle schools.
  • 10 - The Party and the intellectuals: phase two
    pp 432-477
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    The suppression of specific intellectuals in the Anti-Rightist campaign turned into anti-intellectualism in general in the Great Leap Forward (GLF). In contrast to the Hundred Flowers period, the GLF emphasized political reliability rather than professional skill. The Anti-Rightist Campaign and GLF had silenced and demoralized a larger number of intellectuals than the Hu Feng campaign of 1955. In May 1961, P'eng Chen instructed his closest deputies in the Peking Party Committee to evaluate the GLF. At the Tenth Plenum, held in September 1962, Mao Tse-tung announced a shift from the relative relaxation of the early 1960s to increased control over intellectual activity. He called for ideological class struggle, which was an implicit summons for an attack on his critics. The arguments, rhetoric, and symbols used in the 1963-64 debates with the senior intellectuals provided the ideological underpinnings for the Cultural Revolution. The major flank of the radical attack on the cultural establishment was the effort to reform Peking Opera.
  • 11 - The Sino-Soviet split
    pp 478-538
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    In 1958-64, the Sino-Soviet dispute became the overriding problem for Chinese foreign policy. The two Khrushchev-Mao encounters in Peking in 1958 and 1959, together with the multiparty Communist conferences in Bucharest and Moscow in i960, fueled a growing dispute in the Sino-Soviet alliance that ultimately blew it apart in all but the formal sense. On the eve of the Moscow conference, the Soviet Union agreed to provide the People's Republic of China with assistance in developing nuclear weapons. Domestically, the Great Leap Forward (GLF) evoked open as well as private criticism from Khrushchev for its alleged emulation of 'war communism'. This chapter examines the handling of the Lebanon crisis, the Peking summit meeting, and the Quemoy bombardment and discusses the spillover effects of the GLF deserve mention. Developments in Laos revealed Peking's priority between cautious diplomacy and revolutionary violence. Finally, the chapter also discusses the Sino-Burmese border, Soviet-American relation, and Sino-Indian war.
  • Bibliographical Essays
    pp 543-590
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    This bibliography presents essays on the study of post-1949 China, and the basic sources and their limitations. The former precedes several bibliographical essays on specific aspects of the People's Republic of China. It traces the evolution of scholarly writings on China by identifying the major sources on contemporary China, portraying their main limitations, and assessing the effect of the changing mix of sources available to the foreign researcher. The essay on the basic sources includes information on the Chinese press, memoirs and travelogues, creative arts, and English-language secondary literature. The Chinese press provides the staple for research on China: books, journals, and newspapers. These sources come from diverse institutions throughout the political system. The Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party began to publish the People's Daily soon after the Party established itself in Peking, and since 1958 the Party has published Red Flag as its leading theoretical journal.
  • Bibliographical essays for chapters
    pp 591-608
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    This bibliographical essay presents a list of titles that help the reader to understand the concept of Chinese political problems. The essay talks about the reunification of China, establishment and consolidation of the new regime, China's economic development, and Chinese education. Cultural Revolution sources that appeared in 1966-69 are of two types: highly polemic "revelations" about the alleged crimes of various leaders in the pre-1966 period. The official Chinese newspapers, journals, and the occasional compendia of state laws comprise the major source materials. The easily accessible route to the Chinese originals lies through the clipping file service of the Union Research Institute, which ceased to exist in 1983. The essay also talks about the party and the intellectuals, foreign relations, and the Sino-Soviet split. The relative recentness of Sino-Soviet split precludes access to standard US Department of State sources, while the secretiveness of the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China limits the value of Soviet and Chinese materials.

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Kenneth R. Walker Collectivisation in retrospect: the ‘Socialist high tide’ of autumn 1955 – spring 1956.” China Quarterly, 26 (April–June 1966).

Kjeld Erik Brodsgaard . “Paradigmatic change: Readjustment and reform in the Chinese economy, 1953–1981.” Modern China, 9.2 (1983).

Martin King Whyte . “Educational reform: China in the 1970s and Russia in the 1920s,” Comparative Education Review 18.1 (February 1974).

Anita Chan , ‘Images of China's social structure: The changing perspectives of Canton students’, World politics (April 1982).

Mineo Nakajima . “The Sino-Soviet confrontation: Its roots in the international background of the Korean War.” The Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, 1 (January 1979).

Judith Banister . “An analysis of recent data on the population of China.” Population and development review, 10.2 (June 1984).

Robert D. Barendsen , “The agricultural middle school in Communist China.” China Quarterly, 8 (October–December 1961).

Gordon Bennett , ed. China's finance and trade: A policy reader. White Plains, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1978.

Hans Bielenstein . The bureaucracy of Han times. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980.

Monte Ray Bullard . “PRC elite studies: A review of the literature,” Asian Survey, 19:8 (August 1979).

Anita Chan , Stanley Rosen , and Jonathan Unger . “Students and class warfare: The social roots of the Red Guard conflict in Guangzhou.” China Quarterly, 83 (September 1980).

Anita Chan . Children of Mao: Personality development and political activism in the Red Guard generation. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1985.

Hao Chang . Liang Ch'i-ch'ao and intellectual transition in China, 1890–1907. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971.

Kang Chao and Feng-hwa Mah . “A study of the rouble-yuan exchange rate.” China Quarterly, 17 (January–March 1964).

David A. Charles The dismissal of Marshal P'eng Teh-huai.” China Quarterly, 8 (October-December 1961).

Timothy Cheek . “Deng Tuo: Culture, Leninism and alternative Marxism in the Chinese Communist Party.” China Quarterly, 87 (September 1981).

Timothy Cheek . “The fading of wild lilies: Wang Shiwei and Mao Zedong's ‘Yan'an Talks’ in the First CPC Rectification Movement.” The Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, 11 (January 1984).

Jerome Alan Cohen , ed. The criminal process in the People's Republic of China, 1949–1963: An introduction. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968.

Dana G. Dalrymple The Soviet famine of 1932–1934.” Soviet Studies, 15.3 (January 1964).

Robert F. Dernberger , ed. China's developmental experience in comparative perspective. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980.

Audrey Donnithorne , and Nicholas Lardy . “Comment: Centralization and decentralization in China's fiscal management,” and “Reply,” China Quarterly, 66 (June 1976).

Audrey Donnithorne . “China's cellular economy: Some economic trends since the Cultural Revolution,” China Quarterly 52 (October–December 1972).

Alexander Eckstein , Kang Chao , and John Chang . “The economic development of Manchuria: The rise of a frontier economy.” Journal of economic history, 34.1 (March 1974).

Alexander Eckstein . China's economic revolution. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1977.

John K. Fairbank China: The people's Middle Kingdom and the U.S.A. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1967.

John K. Fairbank , ed. The Chinese world order: Traditional China's foreign relations. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968.

Victor Falkenheim . “County administration in Fukien”, China Quarterly, 59 (July–September 1974).

Albert Feuerwerker . China's early industrialization: Sheng Hsuan-huai (1844–1916) and Mandarin enterprise. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1958.

Albert Feuerwerker . “The state and the economy in Late Imperial China”. Theory and Society, 13 (1984).

Yi-tse Mei Feuerwerker . Ding Ling's fiction. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982.

John Gittings . “The great power triangle and Chinese foreign policy.” China Quarterly, 39 (July–September 1969).

Merle Goldman . Literary dissent in Communist China. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 1967.

Ping-ti Ho . Studies on the population of China 1368–1953. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1959.

Christopher Howe , ed. Shanghai: Revolution and development in an Asian metropolis. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

Alice Langley Hsieh . “China's secret military papers: military doctrine and strategy,” China Quarterly, 18 (April 1964).

Charles Hucker . “The traditional Chinese Censorate and the new Peking regime,” American Political Science Review, 45.4 (December 1951).

J. Bruce Jacobs . “A preliminary model of particularistic ties in Chinese political alliances: Kan-ch'ing and Kuan-hsi in a rural Taiwanese township,” China Quarterly, 78 (June 1979).

Harold L. Kahn Monarchy in the emperor's eyes: Image and reality in the Ch'ien-lung reign. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971.

Joseph C. Kun Higher education: Some problems of selection and enrolment.” China Quarterly, 8 (October-December 1961).

Nicholas R. Lardy Economic growth and distribution in China. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1978.

Nicholas R. Lardy Agriculture in China's modern economic development. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Nicholas Lardy . “Centralization and decentralization in China's fiscal management,” China Quarterly, 61 (March 1975).

Ta-chung Liu and Kung-chia Yeh . The economy of the Chinese mainland: National income and economic development 1933–1959. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1965.

Colin Mackerras . “Chinese opera after the Cultural Revolution (1970–1972),” China Quarterly, 55 (July-September 1973).

Thomas A. Metzger The internal organization of Ch'ing bureaucracy: Legal, normative and communication aspects. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1973.

Andrew Nathan , and Edwin Winckler . “Policy oscillations in the PRC: Critique and reply.” China Quarterly, 68 (December 1976).

David S. Nivison Communist ethics and Chinese tradition,” Journal of Asian Studies, 16.1 (November 1956).

Michel Oksenberg . “Methods of communication within the Chinese bureaucracy,” China Quarterly, 57 (January–March 1974).

Suzanne Pepper . “China's universities: new experiments in Socialist democracy and administrative reform – a research report.” Modern China, 8:2 (April 1982).

Elizabeth J. Perry Rural violence in socialist China,” China Quarterly, 103 (September 1985).

Lucian Pye . “China in context,” Foreign Affairs, 45.2 (January 1967).

Benjamin I. Schwartz Communism and China: Ideology in flux. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968.

Benjamin Schwartz . “On the ‘originality’ of Mao Tse-tung,” Foreign Affairs, 34.1 (October 1955).

Benjamin Schwartz . “The legend of the ‘Legend of Maoism,” China Quarterly, 2 (April 1960).

Peter J. Seybolt The Yenan revolution in mass education.” China Quarterly, 48 (October–December 1971).

Mary Sheridan . “The emulation of heroes,” China Quarterly, 33 (January–March 1968).

Susan Shirk . “The 1963 temporary work regulations for full-time middle and primary schools: commentary and translation.” China Quarterly, 55 (July–September 1973).

G. William Skinner . “Marketing and social structure in rural China,” Journal of Asian Studies, Part 1, 24.1 (November 1964) ; Part 11, 24.2 (February 1965) ; Part 111, 24.3 (May 1965)..

Ssu-yü Teng , and John K. Fairbank , et al. China's response to the West: A documentary survey, 1839–1923. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1954; Atheneum paperback, 1963, 1965.

Andrew Walder . “Press accounts and the study of Chinese society,” China Quarterly, 79 (September 1979).

D. Gordon White . “The politics of Hsia-hsiang youth.” China Quarterly, 59 (July-September 1974).

Arthur F. Wright Struggle vs. harmony: Symbols of competing values in modern China,” World Politics, 6.1 (October 1953).

Arthur N. Young China's wartime finance and inflation, 1937–1945. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1965.

Donald S. Zagoria The Sino-Soviet conflict, 1956–1961. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press; London: Oxford University Press, 1962.


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