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The Spiral Road
Change in a Chinese Village Through the Eyes of a Communist Party Leader
by Shu-Min Huang
- Release date: April 3, 1998
- Publisher: Westview Press
- ISBN: 9780813334479 (0813334470)
- Genres: china, anthropology, history, asia, school
- Language: english
- Author: Shu-Min Huang
- Format: paperback, 272 pages
About The Book
The leading Party cadre of Lin Village in southeast China describes in this book nearly fifty years of turbulent events that affected individuals and families in the village: the downfall of the landlords during the Land Reform, the rise of poor peasants to political power, the political fanaticism of the Great Leap Forward and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and recent efforts to restore rational, pragmatic policies in China’s countryside.The magnitude of change in Lin Village since 1949 has been considerable. Most villagers have benefited from tangible improvements in agriculture, education, and medicine, and they have developed a sense of political participation and integration into the national political arena. Significantly, while these dynamic changes have been taking place, the observance of cultural tradition has persisted. Attempts made by the government to change “feudalistic” beliefs and practices have yet to make any lasting impression on village life.The second edition includes two new chapters, based on the author’s continuing visits to China. One chapter details changes in Lin Village, such as Taiwanese investment of capital, large-scale production, international marketing, and new lifestyles. Physically, Lin Village has become a small market town with large department stores and daily vegetable markets; and living in European-style villas, driving imported automobiles, and walking with a cellular phone in hand has become the prototype of the successful person. The other chapter focuses on the continuing story of Mr. Ye: his ideas for expanding the villagers’ wealth, his wheeling and dealing to set up lucrative businesses in Lin Village, and his arrangements to secure jobs for his family members and close kin.More than an account of one village, this book documents for readers the cataclysmic changes of China’s entire post-liberation era, detailing their effects in a personalized style. An American anthropologist of Chinese descent, Huang Shu-min employs participant-observation and personal interviews to shape this unique view of rural China today and to delineate some of the misconceptions held by Western academics.
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