By May 1966, just seventeen years after its founding, the People’s Republic of China had become one of the most powerfully centralized states in modern history. But that summer everything changed. Mao Zedong called for students to attack intellectuals and officials who allegedly lacked commitment to revolutionary principles. Rebels responded by toppling local governments across the country, ushering in nearly two years of conflict that in places came close to civil war and resulted in nearly 1.6 million dead.
Accounts of the tumultuous initial phase of the Cultural Revolution portray party-state cadres primarily as targets of a popular insurgency. Cadres in Party and government organs in fact were themselves in widespread rebellion against their superiors after October 1966, and rebel cadres were a major force in the national wave of power seizures that destroyed the civilian state in early 1967.
In the first five years after the onset of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, one of the largest political upheavals of the twentieth century paralyzed a highly centralized party state, leading to a harsh regime of military control. Despite a wave of post-Mao revelations in the 1980s, knowledge about the nationwide impact of this insurgency and its suppression remains selective and impressionistic, based primarily on a handful of local accounts.
China’s Communist Party seized power in 1949 after a long period of guerrilla insurgency followed by full-scale war, but the Chinese revolution was just beginning. China Under Mao narrates the rise and fall of the Maoist revolutionary state from 1949 to 1976—an epoch of startling accomplishments and disastrous failures, steered by many forces but dominated above all by Mao Zedong.
Transitions from state socialism created a startling range of initial economic outcomes, from renewed growth to deep economic crises. Debates about the causes have largely ignored the political disruptions due to regime change that coincided with sudden initial recessions, and they have defined the problem as relative growth rates over time rather than abrupt short-run collapse. Political disruptions were severe when states broke apart into newly independent units, leading to hyperinflation, armed warfare, or both.
The “Nanjing Incident” of late March 1976 was a precursor of, and according to some analysts a trigger for, the more famous Tiananmen Square demonstrations of 4-5 April. The two protests have widely been interpreted as spontaneous outpourings of dissent from Cultural Revolution radicalism, expressed through mourning for the recently deceased Premier Zhou Enlai.
State socialist economies provided public housing to urban citizens at nominal cost, while allocating larger and better quality apartments to individuals in elite occupations. In transitions to a market economy, ownership is typically transferred to existing occupants at deeply discounted prices, making home equity the largest component of household wealth. Housing privatization is therefore a potentially important avenue for the conversion of bureaucratic privilege into private wealth.
China's population of 1.34 billion is now 50 percent urban, over 13 percent above age 60, and with 118 boys born for every 100 girls. For such a large population at a relatively low level of per capita income, how will aging interact with substantial gender imbalance and rapid urbanization?
China's protracted regional conflicts of 1967 and 1968 have long been understood as struggles between conservative and radical forces whose opposed interests were so deeply rooted in existing patterns of power and privilege that they defied the imposition of military control.
Over the past decade, the ownership and control of China's corporate sector has finally begun to depart fundamentally from patterns typical in the socialist past. Students of corporate governance have watched these changes with an intense curiosity about their impact on firm performance. Students of comparative economic institutions have examined them for hints of a new variety of Asian capitalism and have sought to anticipate China's international competitiveness and impact.
Mass factions in China during the first two years of the Cultural Revolution have long been understood as interest groups: collections of individuals who shared interests due to common occupations, statuses, or party affiliations. An alternative view, developed primarily with evidence about the distinctive case of Beijing students, emphasizes not the characteristics of participants but histories of political encounters in collapsing bureaucratic hierarchies.
Numerous countries have transitioned away from state socialism since the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union and its satellite states two decades ago. At the core of this phenomenon, suggests Andrew G. Walder, is “a radical change in the definition, enforcement, and allocation of various rights over property.” In the chapter “Transitions from State Socialism: A Property Rights Perspective” (The Sociology of Economic Life, 2011), Walder examines property rights changes within the context of the transition from state socialism in Hungary, China, and Vietnam.
Until the 1970s, the study of social movements was firmly within a diverse sociological tradition that explored the relationship between social structure and political behavior, and was preoccupied with explaining variation in the political orientation of movements: their ideologies, aims, motivations, or propensities for violence.
Fractured Rebellion is the first full-length account of the evolution of China's Red Guard Movement in Beijing, the nation's capital, from its beginnings in 1966 to its forcible suppression in 1968. Andrew Walder combines historical narrative with sociological analysis as he explores the radical student movement's crippling factionalism, devastating social impact, and ultimate failure.
A proliferation of local protests notwithstanding, economic reforms have worked, today's youth display national pride, the leadership is unified -- and the party-state is more secure than ever. Indeed, the overall political situation in China is far more favorable for the regime than it was during the relatively tumultuous and strife-torn first decade of economic reform.
Do regime change and market reform disrupt patterns of intergenerational mobility? China's political trajectory is distinctive from that of other communist regimes in two ways. During its first three decades, the regime enforced unusually restrictive barriers to elite status inheritance. And during the subsequent market transition, unlike most of its counterparts, the Communist Party survived intact.
In transitional economies, the scale of economic enterprise and the allocation of
property rights shape social structures and influence income distribution. In agrarian
economies, where labor-intensive family enterprises dominate, political officials' income
advantages decline rapidly relative to those of private entrepreneurs. Larger enterprises,
however, provide greater income opportunities for officials, especially when a
government retains an ownership stake in the initial phases of reform. This article
Theories about political movements typically posit models of actor choice that contain untested static assumptions about context. Short‐run changes in these contexts-induced by rapid shifts in the properties of political institutions-can alter choices and actors' interests, rapidly transforming the political landscape. China's Red Guard Movement of 1966-68 is a case in point.
Based on a wide variety of unusual and only recently available sources, this book covers the entire Cultural Revolution decade (1966-76) and shows how the Cultural Revolution was experienced by ordinary Chinese at the base of urban and rural society. The contributors emphasize the comple interaction of state and society during this tumultuous period, exploring the way that events originating at the center of political power changed people's lives and how, in turn, people's responses took the Cultural Revolution in unplanned and unanticipated directions.