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Reviews 207 Liu Xiaomeng, Ding Yizhuang, Shi Weimin, and He Lan. Zhongguo zhiqingshidian (Encyclopedia of"educated youth"). Chengdu: Sichuan Renmin Chubanshe (Sichuan People's Press), 1995. 926 + pp. RMB 98.00. This is the most comprehensive study, and the best reference book so far in any language, on the rustication movement, commonly known in China as "going up to fhe mountains and down to the countryside." The word zhiqingis an abbreviation for zhishi qingnian, or "educated youth." It refers specifically to the middleschool graduates who were sent to fhe countryside during the rustication movement . During its twenty-seven years from 1953 to 1980, the movement involved over seventeen million zhiqingincluding urban youths as well as those whose homes were in fhe countryside and who were to return to their home viUages. The policy ofrelocating youths to the rural interiors and frontier regions was intended to transform them into peasants for life. The movement did inspire many ofthe participants, but in the end it was officially terminated as a result ofthe intense popular protests and the disastrous economic failures it had incurred. The majority ofthe urban youths eventually returned to die cities. The study ofthe movement is difficult, as it affected minions ofindividual young people, their parents, peasants, government apparatuses at various levels, people's communes, state and army farms, and the national economic system and economy as a whole. The movement was a huge human experiment with the official goals of developing a new socialist countryside and creating a new generation to carry on the communist cause. In China today the people who were involved have complex feelings about the movement, their attitudes ranging from angry protest to romantic nostalgia to heroic tragedy, in addition to the rational analysis and critical examination of it. The chief author and editor ofthe book, Liu Xiaomeng, and his three coauthors were themselves once "educated youth." After laboring on the steppes of Inner Mongolia and other poor rural areas, they went to coUege and then to graduate school. Their personal experience, intimate knowledge, and insights into the movement are without question an asset in their ability to write on the subject. As historians they are the pioneers on this topic. They intend diis encyclopedia to pave the way for further studies to explore this complex movement in depth. The coverage of the book is comprehensive, dealing with the period from 1953 to 1993. FoUowing a briefintroduction by Ma Wenrui, former Minister of© 1997 by University Labor ofthe People's Republic ofChina, a preface, and a table ofcontents in bofh ofHawai'i PressChinese and English, this huge volume is divided into five parts and includes altogether over two hundred essays. Part 1, "General Survey," provides summaries ofthree major stages ofthe movement, leading organizations at various levels, fi- 2?8 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1997 nancial arrangements, the persecution by local leaders of urban youth and measures and policies to deal with the problem, marriages and chüdren ofthe educated youth, the cultural life ofthe youth in the countryside, and so forth. Part 2, "Institutions, Organizations, and Policies," deals with all forms oforganizations, important policies, and institutions for relocating fhe educated youth. Part 3, "Meetings, Documentation, Typical Experiences, and Survey Reports," consists of newspaper articles, internal reports, and speeches by Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, and other government leaders on the mobüization of the educated youth, and on the achievements and problems ofimplementation ofthe policy. Part 4, "Events, Individuals , and Miscellaneous," has highly interesting accounts of such topics as "serious accidents among Educated Youth in military production brigades," "the return to the cities movement," individuals set up by the government as nationally famous models, and those who were persecuted in the movement. Part 5, "Appendices," has a chronology, a "Statistical Table ofEducated Youth Who Went Up to the Mountains and Down to the Villages," and a "Statistical Table of Educated Youth Who Left the Vülages." This is an excellent reference book. For a more complete study of this complicated movement, however, several more items could be added. For example, fhere is the role of neighborhood committees: how they functioned as an important instrument in cooperation with schools and parents' units to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 207-210
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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