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Collective Killings in Rural China during the Cultural Revolution

$32.99 (P)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics

  • Author: Yang Su, University of California, Irvine
  • Date Published: February 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521173810

$ 32.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • The violence of Mao's China is well known, but its extreme form is not. In 1967 and 1968, during the Cultural Revolution, collective killings were widespread in rural China in the form of pubic execution. Victims included women, children, and the elderly. This book is the first to systematically document and analyze these atrocities, drawing data from local archives, government documents, and interviews with survivors in two southern provinces. This book extracts from the Chinese case lessons that challenge the prevailing models of genocide and mass killings and contributes to the historiography of the Cultural Revolution, in which scholarship has mainly focused on events in urban areas.

    • The first major book on the Cultural Revolution in the countryside; a historical and sociological analysis
    • Documenting a new level of atrocity in Mao's China unknown to the outside world
    • Adding an important case for the studies of contentious politics; adding a new case to the scholarship on genocide and mass killing
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “This is a truly terrific book, and long overdue too, leaving behind the well-trodden ground of the Red Guards in Beijing to focus unflinchingly on the horror of mass killings in the countryside. Yang Su has written a model of rigorous scholarship that squarely places the Cultural Revolution where it should have been all along, in the area of genocide studies on a par with Rwanda, as villagers turned against villagers, slaughtering each other in the hundreds of thousands.”
    —Frank Dikotter, University of Hong Kong, author of Mao’s Great Famine

    “Theoretically, this book is the first attempt showing that the development of modern genocide is not only shaped by the ideologically charged nation state, but also by the local actors and structural forces in ways quite unintended by the state actors. Empirically, this book reminds us once again that the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) is one of the greatest tragedies of the modern world. It also turns our attention from the dynamics of the Cultural Revolution in China’s urban settings to the less known stories in rural areas. This book will be on our shelves as an outstanding work in the study of the Cultural Revolution and the politics of the Chinese communist regime, genocide study, and social movement research.”
    —Dingxin Zhao, The University of Chicago

    "Su tells a heart-rendering story and contributes new insights to the burgeoning academic literature on contentious politics and genocide."
    — Andrew J. Nathan, Foreign Affairs

    "Yang Su deserves great credit for uncovering the collective killings and for his penetrating analysis of their multiple causes"Jeremy Brown, Simon Fraser University, H-Net Reviews

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521173810
    • length: 322 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 150 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 3 maps 32 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Kill thy neighbor
    2. On the record
    3. Community and culture
    4. Class enemies
    5. Mao's ordinary men
    6. Demobilizing law
    7. Framing war
    8. Patterns of killing
    9. Understanding atrocities in plain sight.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Chinese Politics
    • Chinese Politics and Political Culture
    • Civil War
    • Collective Behavior
    • Cultural Revolution/China 1966-79
    • Human Rights, Violations, and Reconciliations
    • Politics of China
    • Reform and Revolution in Modern China
    • The Cultural Revolution
  • Author

    Yang Su, University of California, Irvine
    Yang Su is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. A social movement scholar, he has published work on social movements in the United States and in China. His research has appeared in flagship journals including American Sociological Review, Law and Society Review, the Journal of Asian Studies, and China Quarterly. A native of Guangdong, he holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

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