China's Sent-Down Generation
Public Administration and the Legacies of Mao's Rustication Program
Publication Year: 2013
During China's Cultural Revolution, Chairman Mao Zedong's "rustication program" resettled 17 million urban youths, known as "sent downs," to the countryside for manual labor and socialist reeducation. This book, the most comprehensive study of the program to be published in either English or Chinese to date, examines the mechanisms and dynamics of state craft in China, from the rustication program's inception in 1968 to its official termination in 1980 and actual completion in the 1990s.
Rustication, in the ideology of Mao's peasant-based revolution, formed a critical component of the Cultural Revolution's larger attack on bureaucrats, capitalists, the intelligentsia, and "degenerative" urban life. This book assesses the program's origins, development, organization, implementation, performance, and public administrative consequences. It was the defining experience for many Chinese born between 1949 and 1962, and many of China's contemporary leaders went through the rustication program.
The author explains the lasting impact of the rustication program on China's contemporary administrative culture, for example, showing how and why bureaucracy persisted and even grew stronger during the wrenching chaos of the Cultural Revolution. She also focuses on the special difficulties female sent-downs faced in terms of work, pressures to marry local peasants, and sexual harassment, predation, and violence. The author's parents were both sent downs, and she was able to interview over fifty former sent downs from around the country, something never previously accomplished.
China's Sent-Down Generation demonstrates the rustication program's profound long-term consequences for China's bureaucracy, for the spread of corruption, and for the families traumatized by this authoritarian social experiment. The book will appeal to academics, graduate and undergraduate students in public administration and China studies programs, and individuals who are interested in China's Cultural Revolution era.
Published by: Georgetown University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
List of Illustrations
This book is about the public administration of the 1968–78 Chinese Cultural Revolution “Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside” program for socialist reeducation that sent seventeen million urban Chinese youth to rural communes, state and military farms, and the Inner Mongolian grasslands for periods ranging from a few years to life—or death. These youth, known as sent- ...
A research project of this magnitude creates a debt of gratitude to the many individuals who provided help, guidance, and assistance along the way. I could not have undertaken the research without generous fi nancial aid from the Ann and Neil Kerwin PhD Fellowship at American University (Washington, DC). Neither could it have been completed without the willingness of my fi fty- four ...
List of Abbreviations
1 The Problem: How Was China Able to Send Seventeen Million Urban Youth to the Countryside during the Cultural Revolution?
...“[Bureaucrats] sit with full stomachs, dozing in the offi ce . . . [and] are “I think Mao felt that the bureaucracy had been a lifelong enemy to him.”“We will be forgotten individually but at least we left our mark in history and even though no one would know who we are, at least they would know that in history, a large- scale Up to the Mountains and Down to the Coun-...
2 Administering Economic Development: A Prelude to the Cultural Revolution and Rustication
...“In a very fundamental sense, what happened to the organisation of cadres since 1949 corresponds more closely to the visions of Max Weber than to The People’s Republic of China (PRC), founded on October 1, 1949, is often re-ferred to as a “party- state” because the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the formal governmental (state) units, at both the national and local lev-...
3 The Politics of the Cultural Revolution (1965–67): Toppling Bureaucrats, Perduring Bureaucracy
...“He [Mao] wanted to use the tactic of a mass movement to overthrow the entrenched, corrupt bureaucratic class that ruled Chinese society.”“Mao had made a litany of complaints . . . about all major departments of the national bureaucracy as being dominated by eff eminate scholar beauties and the little emperors and their underlings, [to him] the whole national ...
4 Rustication: Policy and Administrative Implementation
...“The young intellectuals and students throughout the country must unite with the broad masses of workers and peasants and become one of them. . . . In the fi nal analysis, the dividing line between revolutionary intellectuals and non- revolutionary or counter- revolutionary intellectuals is whether or not they are willing to integrate themselves with the workers and peasants ...
5 Public Administration and the Sent-Down Experience
...“Everything imaginable happened to the sent- downs. Some rose up to the top and prospered but some never even survived their experience and perished.”“The moment I got there, I knew I had to get out of this godforsaken “Our generation never experienced youthful dreams, romantic love, or any good days of life in their own time. There was no purpose to our lives. The ...
6 Conclusion: Rustication as Public Administration
...“I learned nothing useful from being sent down. You can learn nothing from the ignorant, and except for a few new cursing words, I learned nothing. Now looking back, there was no purpose to my life and it was a life com-“The direct legacy of the Cultural Revolution and the rustication era brought a total crisis of faith, convictions, and ideals that did not exist before.”...
Appendix A: Interviewee Profiles
Appendix B: Interview Schedule
Page Count: 248
Illustrations: 2 text boxes, 7 b&w photos, 3 figures, 3 tables
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Public Management and Change series