Reviews 603 Kate Xiao Zhou. How the Farmers Changed China: Power ofthe People. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1996. xxviii, 275 pp. Hardcover $69.50, isbn 0-8133-2681-8. Paperback $19.95, isbn 0-8133-2682-6. Kate Zhou's work on agricultural reform and farmer movements of the past decade provides a fresh look at development in China's countryside. Her crisp and vivid writing makes an important addition to die understanding of rural policies and trends, ones that will shape the lives of some one billion Chinese people. Zhou's book is based on a somewhat unorthodox assertion: the 1980s re- forms in China's countryside, usually seen as set in motion from the top levels of the country's government with the endorsement of the late Deng Xiaoping, were actually inspired by farmers themselves. Zhou writes that the political leadership saw that it could not stop the reform trend and decided to take credit for it by ratifying what the rural residents had already achieved on their own initiative. The analysis begins with a historical review of China's Mao-era reorganization of the countryside. Chapter 2 notes the repressive conditions following collectivization during the 1950s; farmers (Zhou prefers this term over the traditional "peasant" translation of the word nongmin)
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Mar 30, 1997
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