Calamity and Reform in China: State, Rural Society, and Institutional Change Since the Great Leap Famine

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Stanford University Press, 1996 - History - 351 pages
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China's Great Leap Famine of 1959-61 resulted in 30 million deaths, making it easily the worst famine in human history. Yet unlike the Cultural Revolution - that other massive catastrophe of Mao's rule - the Great Leap Forward has received scant scholarly attention. This is partly because victims of the ensuing famine were inarticulate farmers and partly because many key players in that inglorious era are members of the current elite who tightly guard the archives. Despite these impediments, the author has marshalled an impressive array of historical documents to provide the first comprehensive treatment of the political causes and consequences of the Great Leap Famine. The Famine is important because it furnished the crucial historical motives for dismantling the rural collective institutional structure in post-Mao China two decades later and motivating tens of millions of ordinary Chinese to enact the reforms.

 

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Contents

Parti Context
21
Number of Rural Institutions in China 195059
23
Grain Output 194957
24
Indexes of Gross Output Value of Agriculture and Industry 195057
33
Deficit Financing During the Great Leap Forward
35
Mortality Rates in China 195662
38
Data Used in Analyses of the Patterns of the Great Leap Famine
57
Determinants of MessHall Participation Rate
59
Planned and Actual Outputs of Grain and Cotton 197481
123
Income Distribution Among Different Levels of the Commune
126
The Political Struggle over Reform
144
Reform Euphoria Policy Myopia and Rising Rural Discontent
183
Rural share of state capital construction expenditure 195287
185
Urbanrural consumption ratio 197791
207
Rural Industrialization Political Empowerment
213
Rural Enterprise Sector Under the Austerity Program
220

Relationship Between Density of Party Membership and Mess Hall Participation Rate
62
Determinants of Relative Severity of Famine
64
The Great Leap Famine and Rural Liberalization
71
Percentage of Rural Population Eating in Commune Mess Halls in Eight Provinces
72
The Cultural Revolution Interlude
98
Share of Crops in Sown Acreage
111
Structural Incentives for Rural Reform
121
Interests Perceptions and Policy Change
226
Conclusion
234
Main Sources of Data for Analyses of the Great Leap Famine
257
Bibliography
311
Index
345
System 1974 79 126
346
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About the author (1996)

Dali L. Yang is Professor and Chairman in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago.

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