The Chinese have thrived on tradition and the importance of family values both of which have exhibited themselves through the movements of the communist revolution. They advocated the regulation of the entire community by the State centering their policies on Marxist values and anti-capitalist theories.
Pre-1949 China was seen to be drifting towards the western inspired aura of capitalism by the communists who, according to them, would wreak havocs in the forms of economic disparity and uneven distribution of wealth. As such, when the Communist party came to power in 1949, they made sure that their ideologies were enforced either by way of persuasion or force. Their practices were strict and downright brutal as those who opposed them were either converted forcefully or abandoned. An account of their measures is provided by E. Friedman’s version of documented narration of a town called Wugong in Raoyang County within the province of Heibei (1991). Friedman concentrated on filling in the gaps of change that history left out while depicting China’s new found socialist movement and the way it was buttressed by the rural areas.
Raoyang was China’s countryside and up until the end of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century was no more than a rural district. It had seen little in the way of prosperity and was dotted by peasants and low wage workers who managed themselves by farming crops and livestock. Textile was seemingly the only industry catering to the luxury market with silk as the main product but the County was largely attributed to agricultural produce. In the first half of the 20th century, counties in North China became victims to food shortages and famine that hindered economic prosperity greatly. The Qing dynasty ended its reign in 1917 and was replaced by the Republic of China which ruled till 1949. During this era, the provincial governments sought to increase tax revenue from the rural provinces (such as Heibei) and were largely successful in doing so. The tax collection system wreaked much grief among the poor since the preferred system made the wealthy residents of a village pay on the poor’s behalf and later collect the same from them.
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