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Land Revolution and Local Governance: Socialist Transformation in China

Imperialism and Transitions to Socialism

ISBN: 978-1-80043-705-0, eISBN: 978-1-80043-704-3

ISSN: 0161-7230

Publication date: 30 September 2021


Since the Land Revolution of 1949, China has continuously practiced collective ownership of land resources and local governance at the village and township levels. This chapter argues that based on Chinese experiences, a socialist transformation is largely dependent on socialization of land resources, with the majority having access to land, food, and shelter, as well as on community organization of livelihood. This is not only the legacy of land revolution but also the foundation of Chinese society, which acts as social stabilizer. China in the past 70 years has completed primitive capital accumulation and proceeded to industrial expansion and financial adjustments. Rural China has played an important role in absorbing the shocks of cyclical economic crises induced by external and domestic factors. China adopts policies of land distribution in favor of the small peasantry and promises to defend the agrarian sector – comprising three irreducible dimensions: peasants, rural society, and agriculture, together known as Sannong, as well as the current policy of rural vitalization – against the background of macroeconomic crises, particularly amid the current economic downturn and health crises, that is, United States–China trade war, the crisis of globalization, New Cold War, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The experiences of Zhoujiazhuang Commune and Puhan Rural Community will be provided as examples to show that the bedrock of maintaining socialist transformation is the resilience of small peasantry and rural communities.



Sit, T., Wong, E., Lau, K.C. and Wen, T. (2021), "Land Revolution and Local Governance: Socialist Transformation in China", Herrera, R. (Ed.) Imperialism and Transitions to Socialism (Research in Political Economy, Vol. 36), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 123-140.



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