||Panel 4: Rural Welfare and Culture
Chair: Kun Qian |
East Asian Linguistics & Literature, University of Pittsburgh
Measuring Healthcare Quality in Rural China: Results from a Standardized Patient Study in the Last Decade (virtual)
• Yaojiang Shi | Shanxi Normal University, China
• Qiufeng Gao | Shanxi Normal University, China
Over the past decade, China has implemented reforms designed to expand access to health care in rural areas. Little objective evidence exists, however, on the quality of that care. This study tries to evaluate the quality of health care delivered by rural primary health facilities and explores effective measurements to improve their care quality. Using standardized patient method, we did three rounds of large-scale evaluation surveys from 2012 to 2021. We also conducted an impact evaluation of online and offline training programs. The findings of the three surveys show that the quality of care remains low. Further analysis suggests that the online training intervention has a significant impact on the quality of care delivered by grassroots providers. Our results highlight the need for policy action to improve primary health care and telemedicine interventions can be considered as feasible solutions.
Health Infrastructure and Slow Violence against Rural Childhood in Post-reform China: An Initial Inquiry (virtual)
• Minhua Ling |
Centre for China Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong
China’s entrenched rural-urban divide determines that children of rural background are systematically disadvantaged not only in the education system but also health and other welfare systems. Drawing on ethnographic data, complemented with information from the Contemporary Chinese Village Gazetteer Dataset, this paper examines various aspects of everyday life that affect rural children’s wellbeing, including provision of water and food. It illustrates how rural childhood has been under the assault of “slow violence” (Nixon 2011) imbedded in the mundane yet fundamental health infrastructures. It also calls for a more integrated approach to understand the so-called “left-behind children” issue by turning attention to both material and political economic aspects of the “left-behind landscape” as a whole.
Visualizations of Chinese Local Performance Arts (virtual)
• Yuanziyi Zhang |
Kaixinmahua Productions & Theatres Co. Beijing, China
In this presentation, I will introduce a project, Chinese Local Performance Arts from Village Gazetteers. Inspired by the Contemporary Chinese Village Gazetteer Data (CCVG) project, the project uses Chinese village gazetteers as main primary sources. By creating data visualizations in ArcGIS StoryMaps, preliminary conclusions on the geographic distribution pattern of performance art genres in Chinese villages are obtained. In addition, I will also discuss the process and reflections upon working on the project concerning an examination of the assembled dataset, an inspection on digital humanities tools used, and possible future directions of the project.
Education in Rural China: A General Description Using CCVG Data (in person)
• Tong Ru | Education, University of Pittsburgh
Taking advantage of the CCVG (Contemporary Chinese Village Gazetteer) Data that contains village-level geographic, administrative, and socioeconomic characteristics as well as individual-level demographics and educational information for 1,800 villages in rural China, this study will use the CCVG Data to tell a story about education in rural China from 1949 to 2019. First, this study will draw the general trends of educational development in rural China. Along with the continuously revised educational policies and education-related social policies, this study will look at the changes of the following four educational outcomes: 1) Villagers’ highest educational attainment; 2) Enrollment in local primary school; 3) Villagers’ enrollment in higher education; 4) The number of teachers at the local primary school. Then, this study will look at the educational attainments by socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. For socioeconomic status, this study will show whether educational gaps exist between regions, natural environments, and income for the four educational outcomes; for demographics, will mainly describe whether educational gaps exist between ethnicity and migration status. Hopefully, this study will serve as a foundation for future studies to explore more well-designed educational experiments at these villages and improve educational outcomes for rural villages.
||Panel 5: Cultural Revolution
Chair: Benno Weiner |
History, Carnegie Mellon University
The Dilemma of Revolution: The "Revolutions" of the "Revolutionary Parents" in the Sent–down Campaign (1968–1978) (virtual)
• Peidong Sun |
History, Cornell University
What did the CCP expect from Chinese parents during the Sent-down Campaign (1968-1978) in the name of revolution? How did the State define “revolutionary parents” since the beginning of the Campaign? Why did the “revolutionary parents” provoke their “revolutions” in every campaign stage? Using local gazetteers, archives, oral history, newspapers, and personal correspondence, the article examines the multiple interactions between the party-state, parents, Zhiqing, and media regarding four revolution issues in the Campaign. Whether sending children to the countryside, putting more daily goods or Chairman Mao's Thoughts in children's luggage, encouraging children to come back celebrating Spring Festivals, helping children go back to cities, or staying in the countryside, their actions demonstrate the dilemma of the Chinese revolution.
Maintaining Social and Political Order in Rural China: Reports from the Police (virtual)
• Juan Wang |
Rural areas were of particular importance for the CCP. As a revolutionary party that relied on peasants to win a civil war, the CCP was on alert about the remaining armed and organized resistant groups in the countryside. To consolidate its control, the CCP was attentive to the mobilization of political prosecution in villages. To facilitate industrialization and economic redistribution, the CCP was vigilant in keeping rural residents from moving to the cities. All the above efforts were carried out primarily by the police force. This paper draws upon rich archival records of police work reports to county authorities in western China between 1949 and 1963 to examine practices of policing. In particular, Wang looks at the reported operation of a county police department in dealing with population movement and household registrations, which served as foundations for executing policies related to social order, political prosecution, and economic redistribution. Wang’s paper analyzes these police reports with a focus on the language used, the venue and manner in which investigations were conducted, and explanations for conclusions reached. In doing so, this research sheds light on the close connections between investigative methods, the making of bureaucrats, and narrative construction as a practice of policing.
Mobilizing for Trust: The Lasting Impacts of Sent–Down Youths (1968–1977) on Chinese Rural Society (in–person)
• Xin Han |
Political Science, University of Pittsburgh
Instead of Putnam’s vigorous civic engagement in making democracy work, authoritarian countries tend to launch mass campaigns to obtain political support and trust from the grassroots for the survival of the party-state. This paper examines the long-term effects of the Sent-Down Youths (SDYs) movement, a state-led campaign sending about 16 million urban youths to rural areas from 1968 to 1977, on social trust in rural China. Using data from historical gazetteers and contemporary surveys, this article shows that rural citizens who were exposed to more intensity of SDYs in history tend to have a higher level of social trust, union membership, and a lower level of trust in local governments. However, no significant evidence shows its effects on their formal political engagement such as village elections. Witnessing the state repression during the SDYs campaign may have engendered less interest in participating in formal political processes such as elections among rural citizens and led them to retreat to associational life based on their increased social trust. Moreover, the peer effect from the social engagement between the sent-down urban youths and the local rural youths as well as the “learning by doing” effect of one’s early life experience are the two main channels of influence to shape rural youths’ social trust and political participation in their later life.
To be Red: Child Propagandists and their Success in the Cultural Revolution (virtual)
• Yi Ren |
History, University of Pennsylvania
This presentation explores the success of children in the PRC from a historical perspective, focusing on the case study of a nationally-known model propaganda team, “Red Children,” that was active during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976). Serving as a microcosm of children’s success in Mao’s China, the history of the Red Children in rural Southeast Shanxi shows how these children worked within top-down state initiatives to construct their sense of success. Using fresh oral histories, narrowly-circulated internal documents, and CCVG Data source, this presentation argues that, although the party-state was powerful in constructing its discourses on children’s success, children demonstrated agency in utilizing Party-endorsed discourses to define and rationalize their own success.
||Panel 6: Innovative Use of Rural Data
Chair: Pierre Landry |
Government and Public Administration, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Placing published gazetteers in the context of the complete population of villages (virtual)
• Pierre F. Landry | School The Chinese University of Hong Kong
• Austin J. Bliss | School The Chinese University of Hong Kong
While the publication of village gazetteers offers exciting opportunities for China research, questions arise regarding the small share of villages and neighborhoods that can be mapped to a publication. This paper addresses this concern explicitly, by placing villages for which gazetters are available within the broader context of all known villages. We do so first by creating a complete dataset of all villages of Shandong province, based on administrative, demographic as well as remote-sensing data, focused on the urban process of state-driven administrative urbanization, demographic dynamics, and land use. We then test how villages with published gazetteers compare with the ‘silent’ ones, and contrast our findings across various streams of gazetteer data, namely the collection of the University of Pittsburgh, the USC Collection at CUHK, as well as Wan Fang online. We find that Pitt’s collection has considerable strength in numbers and is reasonably representative of the underlying population, at least in Shandong, though we detect a significant ‘urban bias’ that users should account for at the analysis stage. Urban bias is even more pronounced in the holdings of other collections.
Comparative Study of County Gazetteers and Village Gazetteers: A Case from Shandong Province (1987–2013) (virtual)
• Rongqian Ma |
School of Computing and Information, University of Pittsburgh
County gazetteers (xianzhi) and village gazetteers (cunzhi) are two major genres of local gazetteers (difang zhi) valuable to historical and social science research in China. This presentation serves as an exploratory study to examine differences in county and village gazetteers as two primary archival sources. The findings and the new questions raised along the way will inform the understanding of the two genres of local gazetteers from an archival perspective. Publications of county gazetteers and the Contemporary Chinese Village Gazetteer (CCVG) database make it possible to discuss the two genres by comparing specific data and descriptive narratives. This presentation compares county gazetteer and village gazetteer with a case study from Shandong Province. More specifically, I compare the data presented in the Gazetteer of Jiaozhou County胶州市志 (1987-2013) and those of three villages in Jiaozhou County included in the CCVG database, which are Nantan 南坦, Shengli 胜利, and Ligezhuang 李哥庄. Multiple questions are asked to guide the comparison: (1) Do the county and village gazetteers include the same data categories? (2) How different are data for the same categories (e.g., education, economics, population) presented and described in county and village gazetteers? (3) What do the differences suggest about the characteristics of the two genres and the ways they can be used for Chinese historical and social sciences research?
How Land Price Distortion Aggravates Rural Inequality in China (in–person)
• Qing Chang |
Political Science, University of Pittsburgh
Existing literature demonstrates that local governments intentionally reduce industrial land prices to attract investment while increasing residential land prices to boost government revenue. This “development on land” strategy promotes economic growth but comes with the cost of increasingly rural-urban inequality. This paper provides systematically empirical evidence of how local governments’ intervention in residential land prices worsens rural-urban inequality. I construct a panel dataset on rural-urban inequality using nightlight density from satellite imagery. This approach allows me to measure inequality based on geographical boundary. Combining this dataset with land price data extracted from government digital archives, I show how residential land price distortion contributes substantively to rural-urban inequality.
The Village Consolidation in China: Based on The Contemporary Chinese Village Gazetteer Data (in–person)
• Shuwen Zhang |
University of Illinois at Chicago
• Xin Zhi |
University of South Carolina
The consolidation between villages is the result of economic development and population migration. From a top-down perspective, village consolidation can integrate resources and streamline government structures; from a bottom-up perspective, with the loss of rural population, the phenomenon of “hollow villages” has appeared in many villages (Tang and Sing, 2010). The consolidation of villages enables the less developed villages to have a better level of public services. However, there are also concerns that the consolidation will exacerbate poverty in less-developed villages (Cui, 2020). This study will identify villages that may have experienced consolidation through the rapid population changes in the Contemporary Chinese Village Gazetteer Data (CCVG), and then cross-check them through content analysis of the Villages Gazetteers. After identifying these consolidated villages, both qualitative and quantitative analysis will be applied to explore the factor and consequences of consolidation. First, this study will extract insight into the consolidation from the Villages Gazetteers through content analysis. Then, the consolidation information will be combined with other socio-economic and political data for a Difference-in-Difference analysis to explore pre- and post-consolidation changes.
||Concluding Keynote by Andrew Walder, Stanford University (in–person)