This article takes Shanghai as a case study to look at the home life of what the Chinese Communist Party officially categorized as “national capitalists” in China from 1949 to 1966. Contrary to the long-standing perception in both academia and popular writings that former capitalists were purely victims of the revolution, this study shows that as far as material comfort was concerned, the old rich still lived an infinitely better life than most Chinese at the time, despite the constant political campaigns against them. The persistence of bourgeois lifestyles under communism was an outcome of the Chinese Communist Party’s united front policy, as well as an ingenious use of government policy and programs by capitalists to preserve a way of life that was politically condemned. “Bourgeois comfort” under Mao represented a deviant and dissident undercurrent that helped prepared the way for the remarkable return of opulent lifestyles in post-Mao China.


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pp. 74-100
Launched on MUSE
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