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Chinese Families in the Post-Mao Era$
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Deborah Davis and Stevan Harrell

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520077973

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520077973.001.0001

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The Peasantization of the One-child Policy in Shaanxi

The Peasantization of the One-child Policy in Shaanxi

(p.219) Nine The Peasantization of the One-child Policy in Shaanxi
Chinese Families in the Post-Mao Era

Deborah Davis

Stevan Harrell

University of California Press

A crucial component of China's development strategy is the control of population growth. For a regime that once prided itself on its deep understanding of the Chinese peasantry, the one-child policy was appallingly out of touch with rural reality. Virtually every policy goal—from restricting the number, thus also the sex, of children, to delaying family formation, to lengthening birth intervals—flew in the face of Chinese tradition and threatened to hobble one of the few reliable resources peasants had left after thirty years of socialism: the family. Chinese peasants follow essentially the same strategies employed by the oppressed everywhere: evasion, deception, manipulation, bribery, and all the rest. An understanding of how reproduction has evolved in the era of the one-child policy must start instead with the state, its goals, and how they are pursued.

Keywords:   China, strategy, population growth, peasantry, one-child policy, reproduction

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