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Confronting Discrimination and Inequality in China

 | 
Errol P. Mendes
, 
Sakunthala Srighanthan

Part one. Discrimination against Rural and Migrant Workers

Chapter Two. The Historical Causes of China’s Dual Social Structure

Gong Renren

Texte intégral

1After the end of the Cold War, western countries shifted their focus to the human rights situation in China. Despite this scrutiny, discrimination against the majority of the country’s population – farmers –failed to elicit widespread concern. Discrimination against farmers continues to constitute one of the most fundamental social issues in China. In fact, Chinas unique dual social structure provides the institutional foundation for the longstanding discrimination against farmers, and is the key reason behind the widening gap between the urban and rural areas, and the rich and poor. It is also an immense obstacle in Chinas modernization process.

I. INTRODUCTION

(I) Prerequisite for Respect of Human Rights: The Principle of Non-Discrimination

2After the Second World War, when human rights found voice in international legislation, the international community established non-discrimination as the first principle of human rights. For example, Article 1(3) of the 1945 Charter of the United Nations states that it aims at “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.” Of the treaties making up the International Bill of Rights, Article 2 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 2 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the 1966 International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights all prescribe to the non-discrimination principle. Other human rights conventions of the UN, such as the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women are special instruments devoted to anti-discrimination.

  • 1 M. Banton, Discrimination, Buckingham of Philadelphia: Open University Press, 1994, p. 7.

3The earliest explanation of discrimination in international legal documents appeared in the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111).1 Article 1.1 (a) of the Convention defines discrimination in the following terms:

Any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin, which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation.

  • 2 Restatement of the Law Third, Foreign Relations Law of United States, §702, Comment, 1 gender disc (...)

4Therefore, “discrimination” refers to any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference made on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political or other opinion, national extraction or social origin, property, physical condition, age, origin or other identity, which has the aim or effect of nullifying or impairing equality of rights and interests or freedom in politics, economy, society, culture or public life. Discrimination has different forms, and can be divided into official and unofficial discrimination. The former refers to discrimination in state policies and legal institutions while the latter includes discrimination in employment enterprises, social and cultural issues and customs. The non-discrimination principle encompasses many aspects. Some of the important elements, such as the prohibition of racial and gender discrimination in state policies, have already become principles of customary international law and jus cogens.2

  • 3 B.G. Ramcharan, “Equality and Nondiscrimination,” The International Bill of Rights: the Covenant o (...)
  • 4 163 U.S. 537 (1896). Although the US abolished slavery in 1865, racial segregation existed as a le (...)
  • 5 347 U.S. 483, 495. (1954).

5Although non-discrimination and equality can be regarded as two aspects of the same principle,3 there remain subtle differences. Some equality in form still reflects discrimination, as evidenced by the “separate but equal” doctrine determined in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1896 in defence of racial segregation.4 The Supreme Court in the case of Brown v. Board of Education struck down the doctrine only in 1954. Chief Justice Warren delivered the opinion of the court and concluded that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.5 Hence, certain forms of superficial or formal equality actually disguise real inequality. Another example is preferential measures or affirmative action adopted by some countries as public policies that favour vulnerable or minority groups. Some of these measures are compensation to historically discriminated groups. Despite being ostensibly inequitable in form and content to some, the policies embody the principles of anti-discrimination so long as they stay within reasonable timeframes and limitations. Greater social civilization and tolerance beget respect for individual dignity and choice. Many countries are driven by anti-discrimination principles and have formulated special laws to protect certain vulnerable minority groups. Therefore, the equality emphasized by the principle of anti-discrimination refers mainly to truly equal opportunities, as well as equitable outcomes in some cases.

6Although the concept of equality has been discussed by philosophers and legalists for a long time, the principle of non-discrimination appeared on the scene quite late and was first cited in international human rights documents. This principle is a modern approach to correct historical inequality by bestowing special privileges. It is therefore an important means to achieving equality. By proposing that the basic requisites for respect of human rights must stem from the subjects perspective, the non-discrimination principle clearly demonstrates the universality of respect for human rights. In other words, because we respect human dignity, state laws and policies should not discriminate against or insult any person under any circumstances. Neither cultural relativism nor the so-called Asian values are grounds for objection under the principles of non-discrimination.

(II) Basic Characteristics of Discrimination against Chinese Farmers

  • 6 From top to bottom the ten social strata include: (1) State and social management; (2) Managers of (...)

7Farmers have long suffered discrimination in modern China. According to the research report “Social Structure Changes in Contemporary China,” written by a team from the Institute of Sociology in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China is divided into ten social strata, with farmers forming the lowest stratum.6 Discrimination against farmers in China presents four characteristics, which I shall discuss in turn.

8First, the so-called farmers (literally “agricultural persons”) in China are not defined by occupation but by Chinas unique hukou (household registration) system. A person who holds an agricultural hukou remains a farmer in identity even after working in nonagricultural sectors in the city for a long time. Therefore, discrimination against farmers in China is discrimination based on identity rather than on occupation.

  • 7 The 2003 Seminar was co-organized by the Research Centre for Human Rights of the Law School of Pek (...)
  • 8 For example, Article 16 of Electoral Law of the National People’s Congress and Local People’s Cong (...)
  • 9 In the earthquake in Sichuan, China on 12 May 2008, many rural primary and middle schools were des (...)
  • 10 According to the Interpretation Relating to Certain Questions Concerning the Application of Law to (...)

9Second, farmers in China are mainly discriminated against by policies and legal institutions rather than by the general public. In a report released at the International Seminar on the Rights-Based Approach to Development in 2003, I discussed several aspects of discrimination by legal institutions against Chinese farmers.7 These include: (1) farmers do not enjoy the same right to vote as urban residents (when electing deputies to the National Peoples Congress, one urban residents vote is equivalent to four farmers’ votes8); (2) farmers have no right of association; (3) farmers are not entitled to the same labour rights as provided under the Labour Law; (4) farmers are not entitled to the same social security rights; (5) farmers’ children are not entitled to the same right to compulsory education9; (6) farmers are not entitled to the same right to property and land use; and (7) farmers are not entitled to the same right of compensation for death in accidents as are urban citizens due to the hukou system.10

  • 11 China Population Yearbook (Zhong Guo Ren Kou Nian Jian), 2006, p. 449.

10Third, discrimination in most countries is targeted at minority groups. However, in China, discrimination is targeted at the majority since the country’s rural population totals approximately 870 million, or 68 percent of the entire population.11 Despite constituting the majority, China’s rural population has long suffered from all kinds of discrimination. In this sense, the issue of farmers’ rights is the biggest and most fundamental issue in China.

  • 12 Of course, there are some ideological factors. According to the guiding principles of the CPC and (...)

11Fourth, as can be seen in the histories of many countries, government and social discrimination against certain groups, classes and strata is based mainly on prejudices, including prejudices stemming from gender, racism, religion and ideology. However, discrimination against farmers in China arises from the needs of the country’s economic development strategy during a specific period.12

(III) Issues for Deliberation

12When studying the rights and interests of Chinese farmers, we have to first consider the following questions:

  1. Before 1949, the military struggle led by the Communist Party of China (CPC) started in the rural areas before moving on to and capturing the cities. This struggle relied mainly on the huge population of poor farmers for its success. How then after the CPC came to power did farmers become “inferior citizens” deprived of the same treatment as nationals that urban dwellers enjoy?
  2. China’s economic reform in 1978 started with the rural areas. Why are farmers unable to share the benefits of rapid economic growth equally with urban residents after the reform and opening-up?
  3. For more than half a century, farmers have made great contributions to and sacrifices for China’s early days of industrialization and the current rapid economic development. Then why do farmers suffer from perpetual discrimination and why have they become the largest disadvantaged group?

13Preliminary answers to the above questions lie with China’s dual social structure. This dual structure provides not only the institutional foundation for the longstanding discrimination against farmers, but also the fundamental reason behind the widening gap between the urban and the rural areas, as well as between the rich and poor. It is also a major obstacle in China’s path to modernization. The focus of this article is on the reasons behind the formation of China’s dual social structure.

II. CHARACTERISTICS OF A DUAL SOCIAL STRUCTURE

(I) Proposal of the Concept of Dual Social Structure

  • 13 Urbanization and Industrialization of the Countryside Project Group, Policy Research Centre, Minis (...)

14The Rural Industrialization and Urbanization Project Group of the Policy Research Centre from the Ministry of Agriculture first proposed the concept of a dual social structure in 1988. Based on two reports submitted by the Group in 1988 and 1989, the dual social structure comprises a series of institutions separating urban and rural areas or differentiating urban residents from farmers. The fourteen specific institutions that divide society and gave birth to the dual social structure are policies in household registration, housing, food supply, non-staple food supply, fuel supply, education, health care, employment, insurance, labour insurance, marriage, enlistment, supply of factors of production, pension insurance, human resources and child-bearing. According to the Project Group, “China is divided into two distinct sectors, which together make up a Chinese social model that characterise the structure of developing countries.”13

15The dual social structure is the root of contemporary Chinas biggest social issue – the sannong issue, issues of the “countryside, agriculture and farmers” – and reveals the most fundamental peculiarities of contemporary Chinese society.

(II) Differences between the Dual Social Structure and the Dual Economy

  • 14 Part III. Dual Economies in Selected Economic Writings of W. Arthur Lewis, ed. M. Gerosvitz, New Y (...)

16The concept of a “dual economy” was first proposed in foreign economic theories. W. A. Lewis, a Nobel laureate in economics, released a series of papers after 1954 that analyzed the “dual economy” between the traditional agricultural sector and the modern industrial sector in some developing countries. He also put forward the “Dual Sector Model.”14

17There is a certain connection between the theories of the dual economy and the dual social structure because both touch on the relationship between agriculture and industry, and on the relocation of the rural labour force. A dual economy exists in many developing countries, including China, to varying degrees. As a result, most Chinese scholars have erred in the relationship between Lewis’s dual economy theory and Chinas dual social structure. In fact, the two concepts differ in at least the following three respects.

18First, the dual economy theory mainly refers to the economic relations among different economic sectors while the dual social structure includes politics, law and society as well as the economy. The dual social structure also emphasizes the identity, treatment and rights of people. The key weakness of the dual social structure is its discrimination against farmers.

  • 15 Zhang Yinghong and Qi Zuliang, The Chinese Farmer and Contemporary Politics (Zhong Guo Nong Min Yu (...)

19Second, while the dual economy is the natural outcome of economic development in many developing countries, the dual social structure is an artificial social institution constructed by the policies and measures of a states ruling party. It is, therefore, a phenomenon not shared by all developing countries. Chinas dual social structure is in fact relatively rare in today’s world.15

20Third, in a dual economy, the rural labour force is freely relocated to the urban industrial sector, while such movement is subject to strict restrictions within the dual social structure. Restriction or even prohibition of freedom of movement and residence by farmers is an important characteristic of the dual social structure.

(III) General Characteristics of the Dual Social Structure

  • 16 See Part V.

21The dual social structure is not found only in China; after the 1930s, the same phenomenon was experienced in the Soviet Union.16 Viewed from a broad perspective, the dual social structure does exhibit certain general characteristics. The author proposes the following three general characteristics:

  1. First, the law strictly restricts farmers’freedom of movement and residence.
  2. Second, farmers and urban residents have completely different, relatively fixed and inherited identity and status, with unequal rights and treatments. Farmers clearly suffer from discrimination based on their identity.
  3. Third, urban and rural areas implement different and relatively segregated economic and social management systems.

22Therefore, the dual social structure is a social state and a social institution that is built upon discrimination on the basis of the identity of farmer.

III. THE BEGINNING OF CHINA’S DUAL SOCIAL STRUCTURE

(I) When it Started

1. Before 1949, the dual social structure did not exist in China

  • 17 Wang Weihai, China’s Household Registration System: Historical and Political Analyses (Zhong Guo H (...)
  • 18 Henri Pirenne, Cities in the Middle Ages (Zhong Shi Ji De Cheng Shi) (Les villes du moyen âge), tr (...)
  • 19 Zhao Gang, Chen Zhongyi, A History of Chinas Economic Systems (Zhong Guo Jing Ji Zhi Du Shi), New (...)

23The dual social structure appeared quite late in China. Although China’s hukou system of population registration has, since Chinas many earlier dynasties, long been the spatially defined status hierarchy to some extent, it did allow a certain degree of spatial and social status mobility.17 The urban-rural relationship in ancient China was more mobile than in Europe during the Middle Ages. Farmers who were subjects of feudal lords in certain autonomous European states could only find freedom by fleeing to the city. European cities and the countryside were also segregated from each other in history.18 However, instead of being conflicting, the historical urban-rural relationship in China was a dynamic two-way flow and the two groups complemented one another. The rural population could move relatively freely.19

  • 20 Compiled by the Bureau of Household Administration, the Ministry of Public Security, Household Adm (...)

24After the 1911 Revolution, China was under the influence of western law, and recognized the freedom of movement and residence under the law. For example, Article 6(6) of the Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China of 1912 states that “[c]itizens shall have the liberty of residence and removal.” Although the Household Registration Law enacted by the Kuomintang government in 1931 contains detailed provisions on household registration, it did not restrict freedom of movement.20 Therefore, despite the huge urban-rural disparity in China before 1949, a clearly defined dual social structure was absent.

2. 1953: Major Turning Point

251953 is a major turning point in the history of the People’s Republic of China. That year saw the CPC Central Party Committee and its government enact several key measures, all of which are important precursors to the subsequent dual social structure.

26The first measure was enacted on 15 June 1953, when Mao Zedong proposed “the General Line of the CPC for the Transition Period” (dang zai guo du shi qi de zong lu xian) at a session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Party Committee on industrialization and the transformation of private ownership to public ownership. According to Mao:

  • 21 The full text of the speech was first published in the CPC’s Literature (Dang De Wen Xian), Issue (...)

The general line and task of the CPC during the transition period is to complete the socialist transformation of agriculture, handicrafts and capitalist industry and commerce within ten to fifteen years, or over a longer period.21

  • 22 Selected Works of Chen Yun (Chen Yun Wen Xuan) (1949-1956), Peoples Publishing House, 1984, p. 207 (...)

27This marked the CPC leaders’ early termination of the “new democracy period,” and entry into the Soviet-style “socialist” period. The second measure was carried out in 1953, the first year of Chinas first five-year plan (1953-1957), which charted China’s planned economy. The third major measure was introduced on 10 October 1953, when Chen Yun, then Vice Premier and Chairman of the Central Finance and Economics Committee, was confronted with the food procurement crisis. He proposed the countermeasure of centralized procurement and distribution of food at the National Food Conference.22

  • 23 Compilation of Important Documents on Agricultural Collectivization (Nong Ye Ji Ti Hua Zhong Yao W (...)

28Finally, on 16 December 1953, the CPC Central Party Committee adopted the Resolution on Developing Agricultural Production Cooperatives,23 which expedited the process of agricultural collectivization (nongye jitihua).

29We can conclude that 1953 is a benchmark year that marked the beginning of the formation of China’s dual social structure.

IV. CHOOSING THE SOVIET MODEL

(I) Complete Sovietization

  • 24 Selected Works of Mao Zedong (Mao Zedong Xuan Ji), (Four Volumes in One), p. 1418.
  • 25 For example, Mao Zedong pointed out in his report at the 2nd Plenary Session of the 7th CPC Centra (...)

30In June 1949, Mao stated that “the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is our best teacher. We must learn from them.”24 Prior to 1953, the CPC Central Party Committee had followed the ideals of a new democracy with Chinese characteristics that would differ from the Soviet model in some areas. The original model allowed for a multiparty coalition government led by the CPC, and recognized private ownership of land by farmers, the employment of national capital in industry and commerce, and the coexistence of multiple ownership modes (duozhong jingji suoyouzhi).25

  • 26 Mao Zedong believed that the PRC began to transfer to socialism from its establishment. It would t (...)
  • 27 Lu Zhenxiang, Yang Maorong and Wang Chaoxiang, “On the Proposal of the General Line for the Transi (...)

31However, soon after the CPC took the reins of government, Mao changed his stance about the new democracy being a lengthy phase, and was eager to establish Soviet-style socialism in China as soon as possible. On 24 September 1952, Mao proposed the immediate transition to socialism at a meeting of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Party Committee.26 Later, Mao entrusted Liu Shaoqi, who was going to Moscow for the Nineteenth National Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, to solicit Stalin’s comments on the issue. On October 20, Stalin gave a positive analysis of China’s plan for industrialization and agricultural collectivization.27

  • 28 The CPC’s Literature (Dang De Wen Xian), Issue 4, 2003, p. 20. The Constitution adopted at the 1 s (...)
  • 29 Xing Heming, The Soviet Model in the CPC’s Eye (Zhong Gong Yan Li De Su Lian Mo Shi), Fujian Peopl (...)

32On 15 June 1953 Mao announced at a Political Bureau session the General Line for the Transition Period, which gave equal emphasis to industrialization and socialist transformation.28 Mao’s move implied more than the abandonment of the policies of new democracy. It also foretold an accelerated process of Soviet-style socialization. In fact, the CPC’s conception and proposal of the General Line was the direct outcome of the Soviet model.29

33Thus, starting in the 1950s China followed the Soviet Union in political, judicial, economic and cultural institutions. The country was entirely sovietized: the political system was changed so that the CPC became the State’s single ruling party; the constitutional system was reformed to adopt the People’s Congress system, which is similar to the Soviet system; a localized judicial system that comprised courts elected by the various levels of People’s Congresses was implemented; the economic system became a public ownership system controlled by the State and a highly centralized planned economy; and cultural institutions were implemented top-down, with strict supervision by the Party and government.

(II) Historical Reasons for Choosing the Soviet Model

34After the Opium War, China was influenced by foreign institutions and cultures. Ideas and debates on “using western methods in the Chinese system” (zhong ti xi yong) and “complete westernization” (quart part xi hua) mushroomed. It was unlikely that anyone expected “complete sovietization” after the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The following historical reasons explain its emergence.

35First, this was a natural political and ideological outcome. The CPC was born under the immediate guidance of the Soviet Communist Party’s Third International (Communist International). Marxist ideology was also “processed” and introduced to the CPC by the Soviet Union. The CPC was already “bolshevized” before gaining power. Therefore, imitation of the Soviet model by the CPC, especially after it became the single ruling party after the founding of the People’s Republic, was an inevitable outcome of its relation to the Third International.

36Second, Russia and China have similar historical traditions in that both underwent long periods of despotic monarchy and had long histories of centralized bureaucracy subservient to the monarchy. Therefore, the highly centralized Soviet model could be transplanted to Chinese soil relatively easily.

  • 30 USSR Population in 70 Years (Su Lían Ren Kou Qi Shi Nian) (Hacenenue CCCP sa 70 nem Pbιбɑκoɞcκuǔ 7 (...)

37Third, both countries were industrializing in economically backward agricultural settings. In 1917, Russia was also an agricultural country with a mainly rural population, and lagged behind the western powers economically and culturally. The rural population accounted for 83.2 percent of its entire population.30 Both Russia and China faced the same problem of having to industrialize in a backward agricultural setting.

  • 31 In December 1947, in his report The Current Situation and Our Task at a session of the CPC Central (...)

38Fourth, both countries were confronted with similar international problems after their revolutions. Western capitalist countries greeted Communist governments in Russia and China with hostility, interventionist policies and economic embargoes. When the PRC was founded, it was forced to “lean one-sided” towards the Soviet Union in terms of foreign policy, economy and trade because of the embargo and blockade against the PRC by US-led western countries.31

  • 32 The CPC leaders represented by Mao Zedong always thought that the Soviet model was the only social (...)

39Fifth, since the Soviet Union was the first “successful” socialist country in the eyes of CPC leaders, it was a natural decision for the newly founded PRC to reproduce the Soviet Unions political, economic and legal systems.32

  • 33 In return, China provided mineral and agricultural products and huge amount of foreign exchange to (...)
  • 34 Among the early leaders of the CPC, and with the notable exception of Mao, most of the others had (...)

40Sixth, after the founding of the PRC, the Soviet Union had provided important assistance in many areas. This assistance includes formulating economic plans, building and upgrading large industrial enterprises, and reforming the health, legal and education systems. Based on Soviet documents, the USSR dispatched 10,000 advisors to China and trained 20,000 Chinese in the Soviet Union between 1950 and 1959. During the same period, China received a low-interest loan of US $300 million, one third of which was for military use, to build 300 industrial enterprises and other facilities.33 Another contributing factor that should not be overlooked is that most of the early leaders of the CPC had worked or studied in the USSR at some point in their lives.34

41To summarize, the PRC was clearly influenced by the USSR in every aspect after its founding. Chinas priority on heavy industry, its planned economy, agricultural collectivization and the establishment of various types of dual institutions discussed in the following sections all occurred under the influence of the Soviet Union.

V. HEAVY INDUSTRY – THE PRIORITY

(I) Establishment of Guidelines on the Priority of Developing Heavy Industry

  • 35 Compilation of Resolutions of Soviet Communist Party Congress Sessions, Representative Meetings an (...)
  • 36 Complete Works of Stalin (Si Da Lin Quan Ji), Vol. 8, p. 64-65.
  • 37 The resolution approving the 1st five-year plan at the 5th Soviet Congress in May 1929 also pointe (...)
  • 38 Complete Works of Stalin (Si Da Lin Quan Ji), Vol. 8, p. 112-113.

42The USSR’s policy of giving priority to developing heavy industry was first adopted during the resolution of the Fourteenth National Congress of the Soviet Communist Party in December 1925, after the demise of Lenin.35 Stalin’s 1926 proposal that “socialism should first be established in one country” laid down the theoretical foundation for the USSR’s priority in heavy industry.36 In 1927, the Instructions on the Formulation of National Economic Plan adopted by the Fifteenth National Congress of the Soviet Communist Party emphasized that “production of factors of production should first be strengthened, based on the State’s industrialization policy.”37 Stalin also stressed that “industrialization is not the development of any industry. The centre and foundation of industrialization is the development of the heavy industry.”38

  • 39 Cited by Xing Heming, The Soviet Model in the CPC’s Eye (Zhong Gong Yan Li De Su Lian Mo Shi), p. (...)

43The aim of the CPC’s “General Line for the Transition Period” was thus mainly to achieve industrialization with a priority on the development of heavy industry, based on the experience of the USSR. On 7 February 1953, Mao said at the National Congress of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) that the CPC was not sufficiently experienced at the extensive building of a country; therefore, it must learn from the USSR wholeheartedly. Mao called upon the whole nation to learn from the Soviet Union.39 In June 1953, Mao announced officially that the priority of the “CPC’s General Line for the Transition Period” was to “basically industrialize the country.” For this, his explanation was:

  • 40 Mao Zedong particularly criticized the views of “establishing new democracy social order,” “moving (...)

What is basic industrialization of the country? Industries should contribute at least 51 percent to the national economy, or even up to 60 percent. Based on the Soviet experience, industrialization means that industries contribute at least 70 percent to the national economy. We still lag by 42 percent. Chinas industrialization should also achieve the target of 70 percent contribution.40

  • 41 An Anthology of Mao Zedongs Works (Mao Ze Dong Zhu Zuo Xuan Du), Vol. II, People’s Publishing Hous (...)

44It is clear that Mao wanted to stress the Soviet experience. After eleven years, at an enlarged working meeting of the CPC Central Party Committee on 30 January 1962, Mao admitted, “the situation did exist at that time. Because we had no experience, we had to emulate the USSR’s economic development, especially in heavy industry. Nearly everything was a duplication of the Soviet Unions. We created little.”41

  • 42 Economic History of the People’s Republic of China (Zhong Hua Ren Min Gong He Guo Jing Ji Shi), Vo (...)
  • 43 Xiao Donglian, “A Historical Examination of Chinas Dual Social Structure” (Zhong Guo Er Yuan She H (...)

45During the first five-year plan between 1953 and 1957, Chinas general guideline in industrial development was to give priority to heavy industry. 88 percent of industrial investment was allocated for the development of heavy industries, and focused on 156 Soviet-assisted projects. All of the 156 projects were heavy industrial projects. During this period, only 6.4 percent of the country’s investment in capital construction went to light industry, and 7.1 percent was allocated for agriculture.42 During the planned economy era, except for the first five-year plan period and the adaptation period between 1963 and 1965, China’s investment in heavy industries was more than 50 percent of the entire investment budget, even higher than that of the Soviet Union (at its peak, the USSR’s investment in heavy industry was no more than 40 percent).43

(II) Priority on the Development of Heavy Industry and the Emergence of the Dual Social Structure

1. Farmers “tribute” (gong shui) provided funds for industrialization

46Funding was the first problem if heavy industry was to be the priority of development. Heavy industry is different from light industry in that it involves huge investments, long production cycles, and difficult internal accumulation of funds. The Soviet experience had relied on the exploitation of the peasantry. On 9 July 1928, Stalin delivered a speech at the Plenary Session of the Soviet Communist Party Central Party Committee, entitled On Industrialization and the Food Issue. This was the first time he proposed his “tribute” theory:

  • 44 Complete Works of Stalin (Si Da Lin Quan Ji), Vol. 11, p. 138-140.

This is an additional tax levied on the peasantry for the sake of promoting industry, which caters for the whole country, the peasantry included. It is something in the nature of a “tribute,” a supertax, which we are compelled to levy for the time being in order to preserve and accelerate our present rate of industrial development, in order to ensure an industry for the whole country.44

  • 45 Zhores Medvedev, Soviet Agriculture, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1987, p. 87-88.

47In order for the USSR to promote its heavy industry, its government had to export food for foreign technologies and machinery. Therefore, farmers were forced to turn over a large proportion of food produce. For example, in 1931, 60 percent of food in some regions was seized by the government. As a result, many did not have enough food for the following spring and summer.45

  • 46 A Brief History of China’s Socialist Economy (Zhong Guo She Hui Zhu Yi Jing Ji Jian Shi), ed. Liu (...)
  • 47 On average, from 1949 to 1951, Chinas agricultural output accounted for over 55 percent of total s (...)
  • 48 Selected Works of Mao Zedong (Mao ZedongXuan Ji), Vol. 5, p. 182.

48During Chinas foray into industrialization, much capital had to be secured to promote heavy industry. Despite receiving loans from the USSR and Eastern European countries, the amount was limited. During the period of the first five-year plan, the country’s fiscal revenues stood at RMB 135.4 billion, of which foreign loans accounted for only 2.7 percent.46 China had to turn to internal accumulation for funds. Industry, still in its infancy, was unable to raise large amounts of capital. The large agricultural sector stood in stark contrast to industry in this regard.47 The structure of the national economy meant the agricultural sector had to be the contributor of funds for industrialization. In his July 1955 report, “On the Issue of Agricultural Cooperation,” Mao clearly admitted that according to the Soviet experience, “in order to meet the huge capital requirements of the country’s industrialization and upgrading of agricultural technology, a substantial portion of capital must come from the agricultural sector.”48

  • 49 Compiled by Liu Guoguang, Studies of Strategic Issues in China’s Economic Development (Zhong Guo J (...)

49Capital accumulation from agriculture was derived mainly from centralized procurement and distribution of food, levying agricultural tax and using the “price scissors” (jiandao cha) to artificially keep down prices of agricultural products. Estimates for 1953 to 1981 indicate that farmers provided more than RMB 700 billion to the state in farm products or cash through price redistribution and tax payment, while the state’s total investment in agriculture only amounted to RMB 80 billion during the same period.49

2. The priority on heavy industry directly restricted farmers’ ability to change occupation

50According to the norms in many countries, industrialization runs in tandem with massive relocation of the rural labour force from farming to non-agricultural sectors; in other words, with farmers’ change of occupation from agriculture to industry. However, due to China’s priority in developing heavy industry, absorption of the rural labour force was relatively low. As a result, the size of the industrial labour force did not increase with greater industrialization.

  • 50 China Statistical Yearbook (Zhong Guo Tong Ji Nian Jian), 1983, p. 16.
  • 51 China Labour Statistical Yearbook (Zhong Guo Lao Dong Tongji Nian Jian), 2006, p. 7-8.
  • 52 China’s Dual Social Structure: Conflicts and Strategic Choice of Industrialization (Wo Guo Er Yuan (...)

51To cite an example, the percentage of China’s total industrial output as a proportion of its total industrial and agricultural output rose from 47 percent in 1953 to 72 percent in 1978.50 Meanwhile, employment in the secondary industries (industry and construction) only accounted for 17.3 percent of total employment in 1978.51 Thus, promoting heavy industry has excluded a large labour force from the industrial sector and stymied their transfer from the agricultural sector. This has also seriously impeded the latter’s productivity.52

  • 53 China Statistical Yearbook (Zhong Guo Tongji Nian Jian), 2006, p. 99.

52Under normal circumstances, industrialization runs parallel to urbanization. However, urbanization in China lags far behind the industrialization process. For example, in 1952 Chinas respective industrialization and urbanization rates were 17.6 percent and 12.6, while the figures for 1978 were 44.3 percent and 17.9 percent.53

VI. HIGHLY CENTRALIZED PLANNED ECONOMY

(I) Creating a Planned Economy in China

  • 54 Soon after Russia’s October Revolution, due to foreign military intervention and the months-old ci (...)
  • 55 Compilation of Resolutions of Soviet Communist Party Congress Sessions, Representative Meetings an (...)
  • 56 Edward Hallett Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1923, London: Macmillan, 1952, Vol. 2, p. 364.
  • 57 Compilation of Documents on the USSR’s Economic Construction Plans: the First Five-Year Plan (Su L (...)
  • 58 Chen Huashan, “Tentative Review of National Monopolistic Socialism: Discussion of the Economic Mod (...)

53The USSR was the first country to adopt the planned economy. This adoption was driven partly by ideology and partly by the USSR’s policy of “military communism” between 1918 and 1921.54 The latter included the nationalization of industry and commerce, and the highly centralized control of economic activities.55 In addition, Russia’s lack of private capitalist enterprises made it easy to implement State socialism and a planned economy.56 In 1926, the USSR began setting annual control targets for the national economy. In May 1929, the fifth Soviet Congress of the USSR adopted the first five-year plan.57 The Soviet economic model incorporated a highly centralized and directive-driven planned economy and excluded private ownership and the market mechanism.58

  • 59 Economic History of the People’s Republic of China (Zhong Hua Ren Min Gong He Guo Jing Ji Shi), Vo (...)
  • 60 It did so in the following ways: first, it helped design 156 (154 were finalized) industrial const (...)

54The USSR played an important role in China’s establishment of a planned economy. China formulated its first five-year plan with the assistance of the USSR.59 The USSR also provided important financial assistance towards China’s achievement of the plan.60

  • 61 Rural Economic Affairs of the New China (Xin Zhong Guo Nong Cun Ji Shi), p. 111.
  • 62 Xiao Donglian, “A Historical Examination of China’s Dual Social Structure” (Zhong Guo Er Yuan She (...)

551953 thus marks the beginning of the creation of China’s planned economy. Investment allocation for the first five-year plan focused on industrialization, and emphasized development of heavy industry.61 And, following the Soviet Union, the strategy of China’s nascent planned economy intended heavy industry to be the key development priority.62

(II) The Planned Economy in the Countryside: “Centralized Procurement and Distribution of Food” Policy

  • 63 In January 1928, the Political Bureau of the Soviet Communist Party Central Party Committee secret (...)

56Between 1927 and 1928, the USSR experienced a “food procurement crisis.” This occurred before it implemented agricultural collectivization. To mitigate the crisis, the government took compulsory measures similar to the “surplus food” collection system during the civil war.63 Thus, the crisis offered an opportunity for the USSR’s implementation of compulsory agricultural collectivization.

  • 64 Selected Works of Chen Yun (Chen Yun Wen Xuan) (1949-1956), People’s Publishing House, 1984, p. 20 (...)
  • 65 Lin Yunhui and Gu Xunzhong, A Rhapsody on People’s Commune (Ren Min Gong She Kuang Xiang Qu), Hena (...)
  • 66 The Cambridge History of China: The People’s Republic; Part I: The Emergence of Revolutionary Chin (...)
  • 67 The Memoir of Xue Muqiao (Xue Mu Qiao Hui Yi Lu), p. 217.
  • 68 Compilation of Important Documents on Agricultural Collectivization (Nong Ye Ji Ti Hua Zhong Yao W (...)

57In 1953, China also faced food supply difficulties.64 The crisis was a harsh revelation of the incompatibilities between China’s focus on heavy industry and on the lagging agriculture sector.65 The state could have employed economic measures to address the crisis; increased food prices will encourage greater sale of food produce to the State, allowing it to mitigate mismatched demand and supply. However, as the State will have to sell food to urban residents at old prices, higher fiscal subsidies would deplete investment for heavy industry.66 After much consideration, the Central Finance and Economics Committee decided that the only feasible way to address the problems with food supply was through administrative means; in other words, by means of “centralized procurement and distribution of food.”67 On October 16, the enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Party Committee adopted the Resolution on Implementing Planned Purchase and Planned Supply of Food.68

  • 69 Selected Works of Chen Yun (Chen Yun Wen Xuan) (1949-1956), p. 207-214, 216.
  • 70 On 15 November 1953, the CPC Central Party Committee made the Decision on Implementing Planned Pur (...)
  • 71 Edward Friedman, Paul G. Pickowicz and Mark Selden: Chinese Village, Socialist State, trans. Tao H (...)
  • 72 Economic History of the People’s Republic of China (Zhong Hua Ren Min Gong He Guo Jing Ji Shi), Vo (...)

58The essence of centralized procurement and distribution of food is the States monopolistic operations of major agro-products. Also called “planned purchase,” centralized procurement refers to food requisitioning in the countryside. Centralized distribution, also known as “planned supply,” refers to rationing in cities.69 Besides food, the CPC Central Party Committee and the government also passed other decisions to extend the policy to include edible oils and cotton.70 Although the policy was implemented to alleviate food supply shortages in the cities and to stabilize the society, its primary objective was to support industrialization by channelling agricultural surplus to national construction, military expenditure and the urban-based heavy industry development. Thus, the state controlled the trading of food produce.71 At the same time, the policy also extended the directive-driven planned regulation of industrial production to include agricultural production.72

(III) Influence of a Planned Economy on the Emergence of the Dual Social Structure

1. Direct Impact on the Movement of Labour

59The fundamentals of a planned economy are the exclusion of the mechanisms of a market economy and control on the movement of labour. We can discern the impact of the planned economy on the formation of the dual social structure simply by observing how the labour force flows.

  • 73 China Labour Statistical Yearbook (Zhong Guo Lao Dong Tong Ji Nian Jian), 2006, p. 7-8.

60First, a planned economy restricts production, distribution and sales; it eliminates market forces in the financial sector; and it throttles private enterprises and sole proprietors. This means that the development of tertiary industry – the best absorber of the labour force – was choked for a long time in China. In 1978, there were 48.9 million people employed in the tertiary industry, accounting for only 12.2 percent of the entire labour force.73

61Second, a planned economy wipes out the labour market because the government masterminds labour movement. Thus, individuals are deprived of the right of choice of occupation. This produced a direct impact on the dual social structure. Since people had no freedom to choose their means of livelihood, farmers were deprived of the ability to move freely to cities to earn a living.

  • 74 Gao Peiyi, Comparative Studies of Urbanization in China and Foreign Countries (Zhong Wai ChengShi (...)
  • 75 Li Ai, Government Behaviour in the Relocation of the Rural Labour Force (Nong Cun Lao Dong Li Zhua (...)

62In addition, due to the planned economy’s control of labour movement, several “anti-urbanization movements” were planned during the 1960s and 1970s. By reducing the number of workers in enterprises, and by deploying educated youth (zhishi qingniam senior or junior high school graduates from the cities) to work in the countryside and mountain regions, Chinas urban population was reduced by more than 50 million.74 Rural areas became a “super reservoir” for surplus labour.75

2. Impact of “Centralized Procurement and Distribution of Food” on the Dual Urban-Rural System

63Centralized procurement and distribution of food not only enabled the state to extract farmers’ funds for industrialization, it also led to urban-rural segregation in many ways.

  • 76 Agriculture in Contemporary China (Dang Dai Zhong Guo De Nong Ye), ed. Zhu Rong, Contemporary Chin (...)

64First, the food market was closed after the introduction of centralized food procurement and after the State Council issued the Regulation on the Prohibition of Entry into the Free Market of State Centralized Purchased or Planned Purchased or Centralized Purchase of Agro-Products and Other Goods.76 Thus, centralized procurement and distribution of food, an embodiment of the planned economy in rural areas, eradicated the market economy through administrative measures, and isolated farmers from the market. As a result, all direct commercial linkages between farmers and urban consumers were severed.

  • 77 Du Runsheng, Lnstitutional Changes in Chinas Countryside (Zhong Guo Nong Cun Zhi Du Bian Qian), Si (...)

65Second, under centralized procurement and distribution of food, the State fixed the prices and allocated purchase quotas among various regions as planned. Thus, farmers grew crops based on the quotas as prescribed to them. Industrial development was restricted to the cities, and agricultural production confined to the countryside. This led to urban-rural segregation, even opposition.77

66Centralized procurement and distribution of food also required the state to adopt different policies for cities and the countryside for food and non-staple food products. As a result, a coupon system for food, oil and cotton cloth was established at the central and local levels. Urban residents and farmers were treated differently. In the planned economy era, the food and oil supply system and the hukou system, which differentiated farmers from urban residents, were the main components of the dual social structure.

VII. AGRICULTURAL COLLECTIVIZATION

(I) China’s Agricultural Collectivization Movement was Modelled after the USSR’s Collective Farms

  • 78 The full text of the speech was first published in the CPC’s Literature (Dang De Wen Xian), Issue (...)

67Besides giving priority to heavy industry, Mao’s “CPC General Line for the Transition Period,” introduced in 1953, also emphasized “the socialist transformation of agriculture, handicrafts and capitalist industry and commerce.”78 “Socialist transformation” referred to the nationalization of all major sectors including industry, commerce, finance and enterprises, as well as agricultural collectivization in the countryside.

  • 79 Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, p. 47; Tani (...)

68The USSR’s agricultural collectivization was initiated by Stalin in late autumn of 1929. Through “top-down revolution,” agricultural production was carried out in collective farms across the country. Hundreds of millions of Soviet peasants were drafted into the system controlled directly by the ruling party and the government. By implementing agricultural collectivization, the USSR set up a new system led by the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee under Stalin’s dictatorship. The new economic policy proposed by Lenin in his last days was abandoned, and the USSR took the path to industrialization that focused on heavy industry, bound farmers to their land, and prejudiced peasantry interests.79 This was how the dual social structure took shape in the Soviet Union.

  • 80 Fukushima Masao, Study on the People’s Commune (in Japanese), Tokyo: Ochanomizu Press, 1960, p. 21 (...)
  • 81 Well before the CPC took power, Mao had argued in 1943 that the collectivization of agriculture is (...)

69After the founding of the new PRC, land reform was conducted to distribute land equally among farmers. The reform also recognized the private ownership of land. Farmers were free to manage, trade or lease their lands. This was different from the Soviet system, under which all land was state-owned. Even before the collectivization of agriculture, Soviet peasants were granted only the right to use land. The land ownership system for Chinese farmers was even more flexible than that of Japanese farmers after the farmland reform in post-Second World War Japan.80 China almost completed its nationwide land reform in 1953. In the same year, however, the CPC Central Party Committee abandoned its new democracy line to adopt the General Line for the Party during the Transition Period. This new roadmap included the “socialist reform” of agriculture. And, fortuitously perhaps, the Soviet model established after agricultural collectivization was precisely the same goal as stated by the CPC.81

  • 82 Compilation of Important Dossiers on the Collectivization of Agriculture (Nong Ye Ji Ti Hua Zhong (...)

70Before that, the CPC Central Party Committee had already implemented agricultural cooperativization (nongye hezuohua yundong) in many parts of the country. However, it mainly took the form of mutual help groups and primary agricultural production cooperatives (primary cooperatives), leaving private ownership of land intact. After 1953, the CPC Central Party Committee refocused agriculture cooperativization on advanced agricultural production cooperatives (advanced cooperatives). Advanced cooperatives required that land be turned over for cooperative membership, the elimination of land remuneration, centralized management, and pure “allocation by labour.” Advanced cooperatives thus caused a fundamental change in land ownership; previously privately owned land, farm animals and farming tools were put under public ownership. As ownership arrangements were the same as for the Soviet collective farms, advanced cooperatives in China used to be called collective farms, in their early days, before “advanced cooperatives” became the official name. The CPC Central Party Committee’s Decision of 16 December 1953 on Developing Agricultural Production Cooperatives provided that “agricultural production cooperative in its current form may become an appropriate means to guide farmers to joining the more advanced and fully socialist agricultural production cooperatives (collective farms).”82

  • 83 SelectedWorks of Mao Zedong, vol. V, p. 174-175, 181-182 and 186.
  • 84 Selected Works of Mao Zedong, vol. V, p. 168.
  • 85 Compilation of Important Dossiers on the Collectivization of Agriculture (Nong Ye Ji Ti Hua Zhong (...)
  • 86 Compilation of Important Dossiers on the Collectivization of Agriculture, Vol. 1, p. 449, 528; His (...)
  • 87 Milestones in the Economy of the People’s Republic of China: Oct.l949-Sept. 1984 (Zhong Hua Ren Mi (...)

71On 31 July 1955 Mao Zedong said in a meeting with provincial, municipal and autonomous region party secretaries that “the Soviet path is our right example”83 for socialist agricultural reform. Mao criticized the Agriculture Department of the CPC Central Party Committee for making a right-leaning mistake, when the Department took a prudent position on the agriculture cooperativization movement.84 In October 1955, the Sixth Plenary Session of the Seventh CPC Central Party Committee passed a Resolution on Matters Regarding Agriculture Cooperativization, stating that “the criticism against right-leaning opportunism was absolutely correct and necessary.”85 As a result, the CPC Central Party Committee’s political pressure against being “rightleaning” prompted party leaderships at various levels to revise and increase their targets to artificially hype up agricultural collectivization. As a result, the formation of primary agriculture cooperatives was completed across the country in just months, in the second half of 1955.86 One year later, in late November 1956, the CPC succeeded at establishing advanced cooperatives or collective farms across the country.87

72Chinas agricultural cooperativization was modelled after Soviet collective farms, and both models were in essence the same. Ideologically, both models of agricultural collectivization highlighted public ownership as the bedrock of socialism. Both initiated agricultural collectivization as the linchpin for an industrialization strategy that focused on developing heavy industry, and used “class struggle” and anti-“right-leaning” as the means to drive to agricultural collectivization. Both countries showed little respect for the will of farmers, who were deprived of the ownership of and right to use their land and other factors of production without compensation.

  • 88 Taniuchi Yuzuru, op.cit., Vol. 4, p. 142. Moshe Lewin, Russian Peasants and Soviet Power, trans. I (...)
  • 89 Kobayashi Kouji, Peasant Revolutions and Communist Movements in the 20th Century: The Rise and Fal (...)

73There are also dissimilarities between Chinese and Soviet agricultural collectivization. First, in terms of ownership, land was state-owned in the Soviet Union while agricultural collectivization only dispossessed peasants of their private right to use the land. In China, agricultural collectivization deprived farmers of their private land ownership without giving them compensation, and their lands became collectivized. The other difference lies in the way in which agricultural collectivization was achieved. The Soviet Union used massive suppression and state violence to brutally “liquidate rich peasants” (kulaks), especially through execution by shooting, exile and imprisonment, as the major means to impose agricultural collectivization.88 Although China carried out many enforced actions when it implemented collectivization, “liquidating rich farmers” was never a policy option. Furthermore, the CPC’s strong grassroots leadership in rural areas prevented any possible unrest.89 Compared to the Soviet Union, China had a larger population, less arable land and a lower degree of agricultural mechanization. These factors later contributed to different urbanization outcomes in China and the Soviet Union.

  • 90 V. I. Lenin, “On Cooperatives,” in Selected Works of Lenin (Chinese trans.), 2nd Edition, Vol. 4, (...)
  • 91 Robert Conquest., The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, London: Hu (...)
  • 92 The author devoted a paper in 2003 to the Great Leap Forward and the causes of the Great Famine. F (...)
  • 93 Li Debin, Chronicles of the Rural Economy in the New China (Xin Zhong Guo Nong Cun Jing Ji Ji Shi) (...)
  • 94 Michael Ellman, Socialist Planning, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 105.

74China’s agriculture cooperativization did not draw upon the successes of western countries in developing agriculture cooperatives, nor was it derived from the theories of Engels and Lenin.90 Instead, it duplicated the collective agriculture imposed by the Stalin regime. In a similar fashion to the tragic famine caused by heavy procurement that killed millions in the collectivized Soviet Union between 1932 and 1933,91 Chinas agricultural collectivization, aggravated by the Great Leap Forward starting in 1958, also brought about a devastating famine that starved tens of millions of people to death between 1959 and 1961.92 Like the Soviet Union, which suffered longstanding agricultural stagnation after collectivization, China’s agriculture was generally unstable and relatively stagnant for more than two decades following agricultural collectivization to 1978.93 An overwhelming majority of farmers had difficulty staying self-sufficient. Foreign scholars believe that the lives of Chinese farmers before gaige kaifang (“reform and opening-up”) were worse than during the 1930s.94

(II) Implications of Rural Collectivization for the Dual Social Structure

1. Providing organizational framework for industrial capital accumulation

  • 95 Yang Junshi, Modernization and Chinese Communism (Xian Dai Hua Yu Zhong Guo Yong Chan Zhu Yi), Hon (...)
  • 96 Shi Jingtang, Historical Facts on Agriculture Cooperativization in China (Zhong Guo Nong Ye He Zuo (...)

75Both China and the Soviet Union had an unequivocal motivation for agricultural collectivization – to solve their food procurement crisis and power rapid industrialization by controlling and extracting agricultural surpluses.95 On 31 July 1955, Mao Zedong explicitly pointed out at a meeting with provincial, municipal and autonomous region party secretaries that for socialist industrialization to become a reality, “the Soviet Union had resolved its problems by providing directions based on well thought-through plans and by systematically developing agricultural cooperativization. We could only follow the same approach.”96

  • 97 The state of dispersed individual farmers in rural China after the land reform would not only caus (...)
  • 98 Chen Wenhui, Feng Haifa and Shi Tongqing, The Farmer and Industrialization, op. cit., p. 74.
  • 99 Factual Records of the People’s Republic of China (Zhonr Hua Ren Min Gong He Guo Shi Lu) (1953-195 (...)
  • 100 Dong Fureng, The Economic History of the People’s Republic of China (Zhong Hua Ren Min Gong He Guo (...)

76The CPC Central Party Committee had difficulty enforcing and operating its centralized procurement and distribution policy proposed in 1953. Rural collectivization was not in place, and hundreds of millions of farmers were widely scattered across the countryside.97 In the Soviet experience, agricultural collectivization provided the organizational framework that made possible the use of “price scissors” to squeeze peasantry production.98 On 6 October 1956 the State Council promulgated the Regulations on Centralized Food Purchase and Distribution through Agricultural Production Cooperatives, which provided that “the unit for centrally purchased and distributed quantities of the food production of agriculture cooperatives will generally be based on a single cooperative.”99 Thus, a centralized purchase and distribution system was put in place after collectivization. The State no longer had to deal directly with individual farmers scattered across the country; instead, it collaborated with hundreds of thousands of cooperatives. This provided greater convenience for accelerating food procurement, simplifying procurement and distribution procedures, and introducing a centralized procurement-and-sale system.100

  • 101 Chen Wenhui, Feng Haifa and Shi Tongqing, The Farmer and Industrialization, op. cit., p. 83.

77As agriculture became increasingly collectivized, the State was able to secure more capital from the agricultural sector through “price scissors.” Capital increased from RMB 3.621 billion in 1953 to RMB 5.132 billion in 1956 after the formation of advanced cooperatives (collectivized farms), and further to RMB 9.166 billion in 1958 after the introduction of the Peoples Commune. Except for selected years, the figures continued to climb. Between 1956 and 1978, farmers had contributed to RMB 325.4 billion worth of capital accumulation for industrialization; the per annum average was nearly RMB 14.1 billion, higher than the total infrastructure spending by the State on heavy industry during the same period.101

2. Further widening economic divide between urban and rural areas

78The collectivization of agriculture in China has caused a lasting negative impact on the urban-rural relationship. A non-commodity exchange between urban and rural areas controlled by the State’s administrative measures was established during collectivization. In other words, the State used administrative orders to acquire agricultural products from farmers at low prices. Accordingly, administrative restraints were imposed on farmers’ production activities. Besides establishing collective agricultural organizations, the State also limited farmers’ activities to agricultural production, and banned all non-agricultural production activities on the grounds that they were “pro-capitalist” in nature.

3. The Constraining “Unit System”

  • 102 Zhou Yihu and Yang Xiaomin, The Unit System in China (Zhong Guo Dan Wei Zhi Du), China Economic Pr (...)

79Along with the spread of public ownership in China, a special “unit” system came into being. By integrating political, economic and social functions, this “unit system” was introduced in 1949 as an organizational structure to manage people within a public ownership regime. This unit system was usually positioned in the cities for public servants (including government employees and workers).102 This highly stifling and inward-looking unit system remains an important characteristic of Chinese society till today.

  • 103 Mark Selden, “Household, Cooperative, and State in the Remaking of China’s Countryside,” Cooperati (...)
  • 104 Compilation of Important Dossiers on the Collectivization of Agriculture, Vol. I, p. 641-642.
  • 105 Du Runsheng, Collective Agriculture in Contemporary China (DangDai Zhong Guo De Nong Ye He Zuo Zhi(...)

80After collectivization, agricultural production cooperatives in effect became “units” that limited and constrained farmers. As the American scholar M. Selden has observed, there never was a tradition of voluntary participation and democracy throughout China’s collectivized agriculture. The control of land, labour and harvests was transferred from individual households to collective units controlled by the State. State officials had absolute power over the lives and livelihood of villagers shackled to collectivized land.103 In times of agricultural collectivization, farmers nearly became subject to labour under surveillance (guanzhi laodong).104 After the introduction of Peoples Communes, organizations became military-like, activities were aggressive, and living was communal (“Sanhua,”or the three changes).105 This bound farmers closely to collectivized land and collective agricultural production units.

  • 106 It was under the guidelines of the CPC Central Committee and the government and under the pressure (...)

81In summary, agricultural collectivization caused farmers to turn over to the State (collective units) their land newly privatized from land reform. They lost economic leverage, having relinquished their right to rent or trade land, and even freedom of movement.106 Farmers’ freedom of movement and residence became increasingly restricted by the rural collective economic management regime.

VIII. DUAL HUKOU AND SUPPORT SYSTEMS FOR RURAL AND URBAN AREAS

82As previously mentioned, the historical cause of the urban-rural dual social structure in China is multifold. Arguably, it is a result of an interplay of factors, such as the priority on heavy industry, the planned economy and agricultural collectivization. The dual social structure was further consolidated and manifested through a series of related systems.

(I) Legal Restrictions on Fanners’ Freedom of Movement and Residence

1. From the Soviet Residence ID to China’s Dual Hukou

  • 107 Җopec Meдвeдeв, Let History Be the Judge (K cy∂y ucmopuu), Vol. I, trans. He Hongjiang, Eastern Pr (...)
  • 108 Sheila Fitzpatrick, op. cit., p. 95.
  • 109 The Soviet Union did not introduce a new domestic passport law until 1974. Only by 1980 did farmer (...)
  • 110 Robert C. Tucker, “Stalinism as Revolution from Above," in Stalinism: Essays in Historical Interpr (...)

83After the October Revolution, especially during the time of New Economic Policy, Soviet peasants enjoyed freedom of movement. However, after agricultural collectivization, peasants were bound to the collective farm land. Their freedom of movement was in effect restricted. A real ban on peasants’ freedom of movement under Soviet law was the domestic ID system introduced during the Great Famine of 1932. Heavy food procurement after agricultural collectivization and a host of other factors led to a massive human-induced famine. Driven by starvation, large groups of peasants tried to flee the countryside. To keep faminished villagers away from the cities, the Soviet Communist Party Central Party Committee and government adopted various restrictive measures, including mobilizing police, armies and internal affairs officers to set up posts on major roads and entrances to cities and towns.107 Escaped peasants were forcefully deported.108 On 27 December 1932 the government enacted the Regulations on Resident IDs (or the Citizenship Law), under which resident IDs were granted to city dwellers and workers over 16 years of age, but not to peasants. Therefore, there was no possibility that peasants could leave the countryside to live in the cities. For over 40 years until the new ID system was introduced in 1974,109 Soviet peasants had completely lost their freedom of movement and residence. Soviet peasants had long been second-class citizens in the country. They were confined to the land, the ownership of which they were deprived of. Western observers argued that agricultural collectivization was the renaissance of the system of serfdom under the Czars.110

84At the beginning of the new People’s Republic of China, farmers also enjoyed freedom of movement and residence, and this freedom was reaffirmed by the Constitution. Pursuant to Article 5 of the Common Program of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of 1949, essentially a temporary Constitution, the people of the People’s Republic of China enjoy the freedom of movement and residence. Article 90.2 of the first Constitution of the PRC also clearly stipulates, “The citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy the freedom of movement and residence.”

85In the run-up to 1957, the Chinese government had instituted policies to limit farmers’ migration to cities. The hukou system that was initially developed solely for cities had set apart the urban household registration system from that of rural areas. The law that limited farmers’ freedom of movement and residence was the Household Registration Regulations passed at the Ninety-first session of the First Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on 9 January 1958.

2. The direct cause for the introduction of the Household Registration Regulations of 1958

  • 111 On 2 March 1954 the Instructions on Continuing to Persuade Farmers out of Unregulated Flows into t (...)
  • 112 The Research Group on Industrialization and Urbanization in the Countryside and Agriculture Modern (...)

86With the adoption of the Party’s General Line for the Transitional Period after 1953, farmers’ freedom of movement and residence was subject to greater policy constraints.111 Prior to advanced agricultural collectivization, however, farmers could be self-sufficient, and they could improve their lives with the land they owned; after collectivization in 1955, on the other hand, massive migration driven by starvation to the cities became much more evident.112

  • 113 Also according to a brief update from 6 December 1956 by the CPC Rural Work Department, there was (...)
  • 114 Compilation of Important Dossiers on the Collectivization of Agriculture, Vol. I, p. 687, 695.
  • 115 Yu Depeng, Urban and Rural Society: From Isolation to Openness. A Study on China’s Household Regis (...)

871956 and 1957 saw the exodus of farmers to the cities, after agricultural collectivization. Farmers’ incomes were substantially shaved after the establishment of advanced cooperatives. According to a survey on 564 cooperatives in 20 provinces and autonomous regions, farmer households that suffered from an overall reduced income in 1956 accounted for a quarter to a third of total household numbers.113 To make matters worse, greater empowerment for the management of advanced cooperatives translated into a higher frequency of verbal and physical abuse as well as torture against the farmers.114 As a result of the extremes of collectivization, exacerbated by natural disasters, many provinces suffered a dramatically lower output in the fall of 1956. Farmers had difficulty filling their stomachs. Driven by desperation, many farmers fled their homes to seek a livelihood and opportunities in the cities.115

  • 116 Pursuant to the State Council Instructions on Preventing the Unregulated Outflow of Rural Populati (...)

88In response, the government issued several specific documents and directives starting in late 1956 to prevent the unregulated migration of rural population into the cities.116 On 18 December 1957, the CPC Central Party Committee and the State Council jointly issued the Instructions on Curbing Unregulated Outflow of Rural Population, setting the stage for the promulgation of the Household Registration Regulations one year later.

89The centrepiece of the Household Registration Regulations of 1958 was Article 10.2, which limits migration of farmers to cities. The Article reads as follows:

  • 117 State Council Laws and Regulations Bureau, Compilation of Regulations of the People’s Republic of (...)

To migrate from the countryside to a city, a citizen must possess the employment certificate of an urban labour department, the enrolment certificate of a school, or the certificate of migration acceptance issued by the city household registration authority, and shall apply for release with the rural household registration authority located at such citizen’s place of domicile.117

  • 118 Yu Depeng, Urban and Rural Society: From Isolation to Openness. A Study on China’s Household Regis (...)

90Evidently, the immediate cause of the promulgation of the Household Registration Regulations of 1958 was the massive migration of farmers to the cities, which was driven by collective agriculture and the subsequent deprivation of their freedom of movement and residence. Article 10.2, which limits the mobility of farmers, was deemed the “true motive” for formulating the Household Registration Regulations.118

3. The expansion and completion of the dual household registration system that delineating the urban and rural populations

  • 119 Lu Yilong, The Household Registration System-Control and Social Distinction (hu ji zhi du – kong z (...)
  • 120 YaoXiulan, Household Registration, Identity and Social Evolution: A Study on China’s Household Adm (...)
  • 121 Yuan Yayu, The Social Movement of Farmers in China (zhong guo nong min de she hui liu dong), p. 88
  • 122 Yin Zhijing and Yu Qihong, Household Administration System Reform in China, p. 7; Ban Maosheng and (...)

91Restriction of farmers’ freedom of movement and residence by law started with the implementation of the Household Registration Regulations of 1958. The Regulations imposed a set of review and approval procedures at the immigration destination and approval authority. Although it provided an institutional reference to restrict migration, the Regulations alone did not provide for strict differentiation between an urban and a rural hukou, or stringent restriction on the transfer and shift of hukou.119 A dual household registration system that segregates rural and urban households was enacted by a set of policies and rules implemented in stages. For example, after 1963, the Ministry of Public Security started to draw clear distinctions between an “agricultural hukou” and a “non-agricultural hukou” in its demographic study.120 In August 1964, the State Council circulated the draft Regulations of the Ministry of Public Security on Handling Hukou Transfer, which set forth very strict rules on the transfer of hukou from rural areas to cities and townships, and from townships to cities.121 In December 1977, the State Council endorsed the official version of the Regulations, and further clarified the strict controls on hukou transfer from the countryside to big cities. By then, the dual hukou system that distinguishes between a city or township hukou and a rural hukou, and between a non-agriculture hukou and an agriculture hukou, had taken root.122

  • 123 Guo Shutian and Liu Chunbin, China out of Balance (shi heng de zhong guo), p. 31.

92Furthermore, urban household administration involves more than the registration of residents and migrants. It also undertakes many other social functions. Hukou became a special instrument for political penalty, especially after 1958, the year that the dual household registration system was established. For example, as a result of the “cleansing of anti-revolutionists” and the crackdown of the “rightists” in the 1950s, many “anti-revolutionists” and “rightists” were revoked of their city hukous and were exiled to the countryside. After this came the Cultural Revolution, during which more people were denounced and criticized; they were released from their official duties, their city hukous were revoked and they were driven to the countryside. For urban and township dwellers in China, revocation of their city hukous was “punishment almost amounting to imprisonment.”123

(II) Other Related Systems that Reinforced the Dual Social Structure

  • 124 Niimi Jiichi, The Freedom to Live and Move Where One Pleases and The Domestic Passport System, Soc (...)

93The Soviet resident ID system of 1932 not only limited the movement of peasants, but enforcement of the relevant institutions also deprived peasants of their right to live in the cities. The Soviet resident ID is by nature an “urban residence permit.” In other words, the ID must be presented not only for residing in the city, but also for securing access to jobs, food, housing, children’s education, healthcare, social security and domestic travel. It was also the only piece of personal identification.124 Thus, no improvement was seen in the social status of farmers after agricultural collectivization; in fact, the second-class status of Soviet peasants had worsened.

  • 125 Economic Study Reference, Issue 90, 1988, p. 17-19; Economic Study Reference, Issue 171/172, 1989, (...)

94The same applied to China. The household registration system was a major representation of the urban-rural dual social structure. However, without other support institutions, this system alone could do little except limit farmers’ movement and residence. As identified at the beginning of this paper, the Industrialization and Urbanization of the Countryside Project Group of the Policy Research Centre, Ministry of Agriculture, recognized fourteen systems associated with the dual social structure in its two separate findings of 1988 and 1989.125 The following is a further analysis of these systems.

  • 126 Economic Study Reference, Issue 171/172, 1989, p. 35.

95First, these fourteen systems are intrinsically segregating by nature. They present China’s dual social structure in different ways, in that they divide the urban and rural areas and distinguish between city dwellers and farmers. With the exception of the birth control system, thirteen of these fourteen systems favour urban residents as the “superior” breed.126

  • 127 On 23 February 1951, the Department of Political Affairs published the Labour Insurance Provisions (...)
  • 128 In 1953, the CPC Central Committee and government decided to adopt a centralized procurement and d (...)

96Second, to comprehend the entire picture of the dual social structure, we have to link the household registration system with the other systems in China. Many systems, such as the labour insurance system127 and the grain and edible oil supply system, were in fact present long before the household registration system came on the scene.128 Therefore, the unfair treatment of and discrimination against Chinese farmers did not start with the household registration system. The household registration system works in conjunction with several other systems.

  • 129 On 31 August 1955, the employees of state organs began to receive cash salaries, as opposed to mat (...)
  • 130 Zhou Yihu and Yang Xiaomin, The Unit System in China, China Economic Press, 1999, p. 53.

97Third, of all the fourteen systems, the labour insurance and welfare systems seem to be given greater weight. The greater labour insurance and welfare benefits enjoyed by urban residents are the direct result of a low wage system and a high rate of employment.129 A low wage system compels the government to pay out higher fiscal subsidies every year to support urban and town residents. These subsidies, which translate into fiscal pressures on the government, were among the main reasons for maintaining curbs on farmers’ emigration to the cities. This is also the reason why, till today, the dual household registration system cannot be abolished. A low wage system is thus part of a larger force that comprises the welfare and household registration systems.130

98Fourth, one of the characteristics of China’s household registration system can be seen from the “dual” marriage system; i.e. urban-rural relationships are based on the individual rather than on the household. This makes it difficult for young men and women who hold different hukous to marry each other. It also causes members of the same family to have different hukous. In other words, based on hukou, a family may consist of “urban residents” and “farmers” living under the same roof.

IX. CHINESE FARMERS’ RIGHTS AFTER REFORM AND OPENING-UP

(I) Increasing Urban-Rural Disparity

  • 131 China Statistical Yearbook 2006, p. 345.

99Since Chinas reform and opening-up in 1978, the country’s dual social structure has remained intact. Urban-rural disparity has become more pronounced despite the Chinese economy’s sustained and rapid development. According to the China Statistical Yearbook 2006, the per capita disposal income of urban and township residents was RMB 1,374 in 1989, 2.29 times the rural resident’s average net income of RMB 602. By 2005, the per capita disposal income of urban and township residents rose to RMB 10,493 and net income for a rural resident to RMB 3,255. The difference in their incomes has increased to 3.23 times.131 Furthermore, according to the Government Work Report submitted to the 5th session of the 10th NPC on 5 March 2007, the per capita disposal income of urban and township residents was RMB 11,759 in 2006, 3.28 times higher than the RMB 3,587 per capita net income of rural residents. There are signs that this income gap will continue to widen. If other differential treatments in social security, welfare and education were factored in, the actual income gap would be much greater.

(II) Two Distinct Forms of Discrimination against Farmers after China’s Reform and Opening-up

1. Land expropriation generated wealth for officials and businesses and deprived “sanwu” farmers of land

  • 132 China Economic Times, 7 October 2002.

100As China entered the 1990s, there was a countrywide scramble to build development zones and real estate projects. People rushed to acquire land. Under China’s land policy, rural land cannot be traded in tier-one markets. Rural land for building development zones and real estate projects must be first expropriated by the government before it could be sold in tier-one markets. Rural lands were normally expropriated at a low cost and sold to developers with a high margin, creating a new type of “price scissors.” These “price scissors” were far greater than those of the planned economy. As early as October 2002, Chen Xiwen, Deputy Head of the State Council Development Study Centre, already pointed out that “low cost land expropriation since the reform and opening-up has cost farmers at least RMB 2 trillion.”132

  • 133 People’s Daily, 11 August 2004.

101According to the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the CPC Central Party Committee, a survey in Zhejiang province indicated that if the cost of land requisition is calculated as 100 percent, then the revenues from land sales are distributed as follows: 20-30 percent for local governments, 40-50 percent to business enterprises, nearly 30 percent to rural organizations and only 5-10 percent to farmers. A large part of the substantial returns generated from the huge margin was mostly taken by developers or local governments.133 With most of the gains finding their way into the pockets of developers and governments or officials, farmers who had lost land received little in return. It is a well-known fact that many billionaires in China made their fortunes from land development and real estate speculation, and the second largest source of revenue for governments of various levels is land acquisition and sales.

  • 134 Research Group, Promoting the Transfer of Excessive Rural Labour in the Urban-rural Harmonized Dev (...)
  • 135 Wang Guolin, A Survey of Farmers Losing their Land (shi di nong min diao cha), Beijing: Xinhua Pub (...)

102Meanwhile, the sanwu farmers (“no farmland, no job, and no social insurance”) have been deprived of land and have become a newly marginalized population.134 The exact number of land-deprived farmers due to expropriation is unknown. As Han Jun, head of the Countryside Department of the State Council Development Study Centre, wrote in the preface to the Survey on Landless Farmers in May 2006, “the cumulative number of landless farmer might be around 40 to 50 million, already a huge population in society.”135 Land-deprived farmers have become a new vulnerable group.

  • 136 Article 14 of the Land Administration Law prescribes a 30-year term for the contract. Article 17.1 (...)

103The most fundamental cause of the plight of the sanwu landless farmers is the absence of real title to their properties. In other words, they have no right to own, use, profit from and dispose of their own properties. The historical cause of this problem is agricultural collectivization. When advanced cooperatives were formed in 1956, farmers were deprived of their land ownership without any compensation. And in its place was a collective land ownership system with ill-defined title. Such title was further obscured when People’s Communes were set up in 1958. After the reform and opening-up, People’s Communes were dissolved, and villages (towns) were formed. The former collective economic organizations disintegrated, and the household contract system was introduced in rural areas. Under the household contract system, individual farmers or households are only given the right to use the land for a specific term and purpose.136 Whether as an individual or as a member of the rural collective ownership, a farmer does not really own his land. Thus, the cause of this problem still lies with the dual social structure.

2. Identity discrimination against migrant workers

  • 137 National Office of Rural Fixed Watch Points, The Employment Status and Features of Rural Migrant W (...)

104After reform and opening-up, accelerated urban infrastructure construction and relaxed rules governing the outflow of rural labour resulted in the largest exodus of city-bound rural labour. Massive inter-regional rural labour migration started in the late 1980s. By the 1990s, migration numbers increased dramatically. According to an estimate by the National Office of Rural Fixed Watch Points, between 1995 and 2005, the outflow of rural labour had gone up from 50.66 million to 112 million people, and the percentage of the total rural labour population had risen from 11.2 percent to 22.2 percent.137

  • 138 The term “migrant worker” first appeared in the Sociology Journal of the Chinese Academy of Social (...)

105However, the fact is that farmers cannot alter their identities by simply taking jobs or running businesses in the cities. This is a unique attribute of the Chinese dual social structure. Since the beginning of the reform and opening-up, hundreds of millions of farmers have left the countryside to work in the cities. They live in the cities only “temporarily,” because they cannot obtain city hukous. Thus, the term “migrant worker” is unique to China.138

  • 139 Drafting Group for the Master Report on Migrant Worker Issues in China, “Master Report on Migrant (...)
  • 140 Research Group, Promoting the Movement of Excess Rural Labour during the Integrated Development of (...)
  • 141 Drafting Group for the Master Report on Migrant Worker Issues in China, “Master Report on Migrant (...)

106According to the 5th National Census, migrant workers represent 58 percent of the workforce in secondary industry, 52 percent in tertiary industry, 68 percent in processing and manufacturing, and 80 percent in the construction sector. Migrant workers are already a major component of the industrial workforce in China. Notwithstanding the vast numbers, migrant workers continue to be discriminated against in many ways in the cities. For example, they are generally underpaid, and the delay in salary disbursement is still a problem. They work long hours and under poor safety and sanitary conditions. They have no access to minimum labour protection, social security and public services provided by municipal governments.139 A different identity also implies that migrant workers do not receive the same pay and treatment as urban residents for the same type of work. In addition, city employees enjoy many benefits, such as housing or a house provident fund, as well as health care and pensions; migrant workers are not entitled to any of these benefits.140 Another study indicates that the actual monthly working hours of migrant workers are 50 percent longer than those of their city counterparts, but their monthly income is more than 40 percent lower. This means that a migrant workers actual wage per working hour is only one quarter that of a city employee.141

X. CONCLUSION

107In summary, guided by the General Line of the CPC for the Transition Period in 1953, the dual social structure in China has taken shape over time. It is the result of developing heavy industries as a priority, a planned economy, agricultural collectivization and other systems that segregate urban and rural areas. The Soviet model was the central influence behind these phenomena. It is, therefore, safe to conclude that the Soviet model was the principal hand behind the dual social structure in China.

108As mentioned earlier, the Soviet Union was the first to create a dual social structure in the 20th century. The CPC followed the Soviet model after assuming power, and created a similar dual social structure. The commonality between the two models lies in the emphasis of the lofty goal of sacrificing farmers’ interests for a strong socialist industrialized nation. Put otherwise, the so-called “long-term interest” of the nation was the goal, and for this it was necessary to sacrifice the immediate interests of farmers. A method of governance evolved where so long as the “ultimate end” is achieved, any cost is acceptable. However, history has proven that when the ruling party and its government accept any price or means to achieve the “ultimate end,” any policy or measure will become an institution. Often, the “ultimate end” is not attained, while the evolved systems of injustice will become fixed, and their eradication impossible. The “immediate interests” of farmers or other social classes are sacrificed for this purpose, and they, and their many subsequent generations, are discriminated against. No remedy is adequate for their seriously eroded rights as citizens, and the high prices they have paid. Gu Zhun, a person who had long suffered political persecution but had remained steadfast in his opinions, made the following insightful observation on the relationship between the “ultimate goal” and democracy:

  • 142 Works of Gu Zhun (Gu Zhun Wen Ji), Guizhou Peoples Press, 1994, p. 375. Gu Zhun (1915-1974) was a (...)

A revolutionist per se is first a democrat. However, when he establishes an ultimate goal and finds it in his heart to believe in this goal, he will have no reservation in sacrificing democracy and imposing dictatorship to attain this goal. Stalin was indeed brutal, but perhaps his brutality was not 100 percent for amassing personal powers. Instead he believed it was for the public good, and that was the way it had to be to achieve the ultimate goal. It is lamentable that someone with good intention had actually committed depravity.142

109History has attested that an illegitimate means often negates a justifiable end. Underhanded means employed after an extreme revolution often lead to totalitarianism and social tragedies. Under the Soviet regime, many government practices often required unscrupulous methods, or achievement of the end at any price. This was because of the concentration of power within the ruling party and its government. These powers were not governed by law. The party and government were not separate. There was no independent judiciary. In effect, the party and government officials appointed top-down were only accountable to their superiors. Their superiors, on the other hand, assumed no political or judicial liability for any consequence that resulted from serious prejudices of the individual or collective rights of citizens. Opinions and speeches were under stringent control. Thus, a critical deficiency in the Soviet model is the absence of democracy and the rule of law. This author believes that this is what determined the failure of the Soviet system.

  • 143 For example, the Research Centre for Human Rights of Peking University founded in 1997 not only co (...)

110Since the reform and opening-up in 1978, China has experienced sustained and rapid economic growth, as well as profound societal changes. Within three decades after 1978, China has also implemented reforms in politics, legislation, administration and justice, with notable progress. For example, the lifelong tenure of state and party leaders was eliminated. The birth of many laws, including the Administrative Procedure Law, the State Compensation Law, the Criminal Procedure Law, the Labour Law and the Law on the Protection ofWomen’s Rights, ended an under-legislated and disorderly era. Also as a result of reform, the attorney system, which was abandoned in 1957, was resumed. As an important step in juridical reform, a nationally centralized annual bar examination was instituted in 2002. Previously taboo human rights issues are now fervently debated. Many universities even opened human rights research centres and organized human rights courses.143 In 2004, Article 32 of the NPC-amended Constitution had its first human rights-related insertion, stating: “ [t]he State respects and protects human rights.” So far, China has ratified over 22 international human rights treaties. In February 2008, the Chinese government published a White Paper on Building the Rule of Law in China, which stated that “ [t]he rule of law is a hallmark of political civilization arriving at a certain historical phase. It incorporates human wisdom and is aspired to and sought after by people of all countries.”

  • 144 L. Henkin, “The Human Rights Idea in Contemporary China: A Comparative Perspective,” Human Rights (...)
  • 145 Gong Renren, “Implementing International Human Rights Treaties in China,” Bridging the Global Divi (...)

111That being said, Chinas political reform has only made partial and limited progress. For example, despite the inscription of the human rights clause, Chinas Constitution continues to bear resemblance to a political agenda or manifesto.144 China has no judicial review system, meaning that the human rights and citizens’ rights clauses provided for in the Constitution cannot be readily applied in courts as a general rule. As a matter of fact, under the highly ideological and politically charged constitutional framework, the author doubts whether a judicial review system for the Constitution, if it exists, would actually achieve its purpose. No human right treaty ratified by China is readily applicable at domestic courts.145 Although the idea of human rights is no longer taboo, the topic is still very sensitive. Literature with shrewd and penetrating criticisms against the political system usually remains unpublished.

  • 146 The Rule of Law in a Free Society: A Report on the International Congress of Jurists, New Delhi, I (...)
  • 147 For example, Article 5 of the Constitution stipulates, “No law or administrative or local rules an (...)
  • 148 The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights points out in its preamble that it is essential, if (...)

112In a separate instance, although the Chinese government has recognized the rule of law as a mark of political civilization (“zhengzhi wenmin”), the CPC central government, the official media and even most legal experts have nonetheless confused the “rule of law” with “rule by law.” Their understanding of the former principle still deviates considerably from international consensus. Historically, the rule of law was derived chiefly from the Magna Carta of 1215 in England. After the Glorious Revolution in 1688, England was the first country in the world to have established the systems and theories on the rule of law. The intrinsic qualities of the rule of law were further enriched by the experience and lessons of the US and other countries. The rule of law, as understood by the international community, should generally include, among other things, limiting the supreme power of a state and all powers of public officials, protecting individual freedom and fundamental rights in strict accordance with the due process of law, and observing judicial independence, with the independence of judges being central.146 This is the rule of law set forth in the preamble to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Chinas political reform should start by instituting the rule of law and fulfilling its basic requisites. More specifically, it should take institutional measures to effectively restrict the powers of all state organs, parties, groups and organizations controlling public powers, and to protect individual rights through independent justice. On this, we may find corresponding provisions under the current version of the Chinese Constitution of 1982.147 Promoting democracy on the premise of an established rule of law will also create a stable social environment, because the rule of law can prevent top-down autocracy and bottom-up unrest.148 A sustainable Chinese economy also requires the protection provided by the rule of law.

  • 149 Government Work Report delivered by Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council, at the first meeting (...)
  • 150 China adopts a National People’s Congress (NPC) system, but direct elections are only limited to b (...)
  • 151 Farms are counted by the resident councils of where they live and work. Apart from 1,240 leadershi (...)
  • 152 Pursuant to Article 16 of the Electoral Law of the PRC on drawing a clear distinction between rura (...)
  • 153 Pursuant to Article 128 of the Chinese Constitution and Article 35 of the Organic Law of the Peopl (...)

113The recent sannong problems and discrimination against migrant workers in cities have captured widespread attention, even that of the government. China has abolished the agriculture tax since 2006. The Chinese government has also substantially increased its investment in rural development and agriculture. Aggregate State spending on addressing the sannong problems amounted to RMB 1.6 trillion over a five year period.149 However, Chinese farmers continue to face discrimination in terms of social and economic rights, as well as citizen and political rights. For example, as farmers have no freedom of association to this day, they are deprived of a central vehicle to ensure that their voices are heard. China offers incomplete freedom of publication. Some works that depicted the real life of farmers were banned. For instance, the Survey on Chinese Farmers (Zhong Guo Nong Min Diao Cha) authored by the husband and wife team of Chen Guidi and Chun Tao in 2004, was banned soon after it became a bestseller, despite the availability of its English and Japanese versions. Another example is the quasi-Soviet People’s Congress system in China. This system not only has minimal direct elections, but also contains no election system to reflect voters’ will.150 Without the freedom of association and of expression, elections often become a system without teeth. Of all the delegates represented at the National People’s Congress, even without indirect election, farmers are few and far between, and there are even fewer representatives who have farmers’ interests in mind. At the Tenth NPC meeting in 2003, only 56 out of a total of 2,984 delegates, or 1.9 percent, were farmers (not to mention many of them were rural entrepreneurs), despite the fact that farmers account for over 70 percent of the entire population of China. By contrast, county-level and above party and government officials amounted to 1,240, a staggering 42 percent of the total number of representatives.151 China currently has a migrant worker population of 220 million, yet these people have no right to vote in the cities.152 At the Eleventh NPC in March 2008, only three migrant workers were represented out of a total number of 2,987. In addition, locally staffed and financially dependent Chinese courts153 make it difficult for farmers to seek judicial relief through the justice system when local governments infringe on their rights. Farmers, therefore, have to rely on the more tedious channel of shangfang (direct appeal to the authorities). At the same time, some instances of group violence and conflicts in rural areas have occurred in recent years. The fact is that civil, political, and socio-economic rights are inseparable and interrelated. As set forth under Paragraph 5, Part I of the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action passed by the Second UN World Conference on Human Rights of 1993, “All human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated.” The lack of adequate and equal legal protection for the civil and political rights of Chinese farmers is also a major factor leading to the continued discrimination against them.

  • 154 Gong Renren, “International Human Rights, Comparative Constitutionalism and Features of Chinas Con (...)
  • 155 As exposed by many media sources after May 2007, some private-run brick kilns in Shanxi province h (...)

114Understandably, despotic traditions and the Soviet model remain the two critical elements in the politics of contemporary China.154 The Soviet model left its imprint not only on China’s economic structure, but also on its political, legal, ideological and cultural regime. Since reform and opening-up, China’s economy has developed beyond the Soviet stereotype. However, its political system and many aspects of its justice system continue to operate under the ex-Soviet structure due to relatively slow political reform. Therefore, together with China’s transformation from a planned economy to a market economy with Chinese characteristics, there is greater leeway for abuse of power by party and government officials. This trend of deteriorating circumstances is well exemplified by the different levels of government profiting from the expropriation of farmers’ land; by the government’s disregard of the basic rights of migrant workers for the sake of further investment; by the many land-deprived farmers and migrant workers resorting to shangfang because they have no access to fair judicial remedies; by the involvement of businesses and government agencies in corrupt “crony capitalism”; and by the rampant operation of sweat shops and black kilns that have complete disregard for human rights, among other ills.155

115To this day, the Soviet economic model has been the main target of China’s reform; for example, transforming from collective agricultural production to a household contract system, from a planned economy to a market economy, from solely public ownership to the coexistence of diversified ownerships, and so on. However, China’s economic reform is still ongoing – such as reform of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the SOEs’ industrial monopoly and the financial sector – and the dual social structure continues to prevail. Many new social challenges have emerged, such as the widening of the income gap, urban-rural disparity, the stripping of state-owned assets, the destruction of the natural environment, and rampant corruption and embezzlement. These challenges cannot be addressed by simply restructuring the economy. There must be political reform. It is about time that casting off and rising above the Soviet model become the central items on China’s political agenda.

Notes

1 M. Banton, Discrimination, Buckingham of Philadelphia: Open University Press, 1994, p. 7.

2 Restatement of the Law Third, Foreign Relations Law of United States, §702, Comment, 1 gender discrimination, Vol. 2, St. Paul, Minn.: American Law Institute Publishers, 1987, p. 166.

3 B.G. Ramcharan, “Equality and Nondiscrimination,” The International Bill of Rights: the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ed. L. Henkin, New York: Columbia University Press, 1981, p. 252.

4 163 U.S. 537 (1896). Although the US abolished slavery in 1865, racial segregation existed as a legal institution for the better part of a century thereafter.

5 347 U.S. 483, 495. (1954).

6 From top to bottom the ten social strata include: (1) State and social management; (2) Managers of large and medium-sized enterprises; (3) Owners of small and medium-sized businesses; (4) Special technicians; (5) Clerks – middle and low-level civil servants in government and party agencies; (6) Sole business proprietors; (7) Employees in commerce and service sector; (7) Industrial workers; (9) Farmers-, (10) Urban and rural jobless, unemployed and semi-employed people. Therefore, farmers and the jobless and unemployed people all belong to the bottom strata of the society. Research Report on Contemporary Chinese Social Strata (Dang Dai Zhong Guo She Hui Jie Ceng Yan Jiu Bao Gao), ed. Lu Xueyi, Social Sciences Academic Press, 2002, p. 10-23.

7 The 2003 Seminar was co-organized by the Research Centre for Human Rights of the Law School of Peking University, OHCHR, UNDP and DFID China Office. This report was published on p. 1-39 of No. 2, Volume 3 of the Peking University International and Comparative Law Review (Bei Da Guo Ji Fa Yu Bi Jiao Fa Ping Lun) in 2005.

8 For example, Article 16 of Electoral Law of the National People’s Congress and Local People’s Congress (Amended in 1995) provides that the number of deputies to the National Peoples Congress to be elected by the provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government shall be allocated by the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress in accordance with the principle that the number of people represented by each rural deputy is four times the number of people represented by each urban deputy.

9 In the earthquake in Sichuan, China on 12 May 2008, many rural primary and middle schools were destroyed, causing many student casualties. One of the major reasons is the long-term inadequacy of rural education funds, which leads to the poor quality of school buildings. Yang Dongping, Offering Education Responsible for Children (Ju Ban Dui De Qi Hai Zi De Jiao Yu), The Beijing News, 24 May 2008. Of course, there are other reasons including the issue of “jelly” projects due to corruption in local governments and construction departments.

10 According to the Interpretation Relating to Certain Questions Concerning the Application of Law to the Hearing of Person Damage Compensation Cases (Guan Yu Shen Li Ren Shen Sun Hai Pei Chang An Jian Shi Yong Fa Lv Ruo Gan Wen Ti De Jie Shi), issued by the Peoples Supreme Court in 2003, damages for death should be calculated according to the per capita disposal income of urban residents or per capita net income of farmer in the previous year in the hearing courts locality by twenty years (Article 29). Since there is a four to six fold difference between the incomes of urban and rural residents, the damages for death will also correspond to such a gap. Gazette of the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China (Zhong Hua Ren Min Gong He Guo Zui Gao Ren Min Fa Yuan Gong Bao), Issue 2, 2004, p. 3-7.

11 China Population Yearbook (Zhong Guo Ren Kou Nian Jian), 2006, p. 449.

12 Of course, there are some ideological factors. According to the guiding principles of the CPC and Article 1 of Chinas incumbent Constitution, the working class are the leaders while the peasants are their allies under the leadership of the working class.

13 Urbanization and Industrialization of the Countryside Project Group, Policy Research Centre, Ministry of Agriculture, Dual Social Structure: The Urban-Rural Relationship, Industrialization and Urbanization (Er Yuan She Hui Jie Gou: Cheng Xiang Guan Xi: Gong Ye Hua-Cheng Shi Hua), Economic Research Reference (Jing Ji Yan Jiu Can Kao Zi Liao), 1988, Issue 90, p. 17-19. Industrialization and Urbanization of the Countryside and Agricultural Modernization Project Group, written by Liu Bin, Dual Social Structure: One Way to Analyze Industrialization and Urbanization of China’s Countryside (Er Yuan She Hui Jie Gou: Fen Xi Zhong Guo Nong Cun Gong Ye Hua Cheng Shi Hua De Yi Tiao Si Lu), Economic Research Reference (Jing Ji Yan Jiu Can Kao Zi Liao), 1989, Issue 170/171, p. 10-11. In 1990, key members of the two groups, Guo Shutian and Liu Chunbin, published a book entitled Imbalanced China (Shi Heng De Zhong Guo), elaborating the dual social structure of China.

14 Part III. Dual Economies in Selected Economic Writings of W. Arthur Lewis, ed. M. Gerosvitz, New York: New York University Press, 1983, p. 329-339; p. 461-478.

15 Zhang Yinghong and Qi Zuliang, The Chinese Farmer and Contemporary Politics (Zhong Guo Nong Min Yu Dang Dai Zheng Zhi), China Literature and History Press, 2005, p. 2; Breaking the Dual Social Structure: Rural Migrant Workers, Urbanization and the Building of a New Countryside (Zou Chu Er Yuan Jie Gou Nong Min Gong, Cheng Zhen Hua Yu Xin Nong Cun Jian She), ed. Chinese Association of Rural Labour Force Resources Development, China Development Press, 2006, p. 107.

16 See Part V.

17 Wang Weihai, China’s Household Registration System: Historical and Political Analyses (Zhong Guo Hu Ji Zhi Du Li Shi Yu Zheng Zhi De Fen Xi), Shanghai Culture Publishing House, 2006, p. 258-260.

18 Henri Pirenne, Cities in the Middle Ages (Zhong Shi Ji De Cheng Shi) (Les villes du moyen âge), trans. Chen Guoliang, The Commercial Press, 2006, p. 107-108.

19 Zhao Gang, Chen Zhongyi, A History of Chinas Economic Systems (Zhong Guo Jing Ji Zhi Du Shi), New Star Press, 2006, p. 339, 363; Zhao Gang, Thesis Collection on China’s Urban Development (Zhong Guo Cheng Shi Fa Zhan Lun Ji), New Star Press, 2006, p. 12-22.

20 Compiled by the Bureau of Household Administration, the Ministry of Public Security, Household Administration Laws and Regulations from the End of Qing Dynasty to the Republic of China (Qing Chao Mo Qi Zhi Zhong Hua Min Guo Hu Ji Guan Li Fa Gui), Beijing; Mass Publishing House, 1996, p. 29-53. Although the Kuomintang government also used the bao-jia system to restrict people’s freedom, the system was limited to designated anti-CPC areas with no purpose to restrict urban-rural population movement. See Regulations for Compiling and Investigating Bao-jia and Hukou in Counties within Suppression Area X by the General Headquarters of Yu-E-Wan Suppression Area X, and the Bao-jia Regulations of 1937. See above 209, p. 227.

21 The full text of the speech was first published in the CPC’s Literature (Dang De Wen Xian), Issue 4, 2003, p. 20-24.

22 Selected Works of Chen Yun (Chen Yun Wen Xuan) (1949-1956), Peoples Publishing House, 1984, p. 207-214,216.

23 Compilation of Important Documents on Agricultural Collectivization (Nong Ye Ji Ti Hua Zhong Yao Wen Jian Hui Bian), Vol. I, Publishing House of the Central Communist Party School, 1981, p. 215-227.

24 Selected Works of Mao Zedong (Mao Zedong Xuan Ji), (Four Volumes in One), p. 1418.

25 For example, Mao Zedong pointed out in his report at the 2nd Plenary Session of the 7th CPC Central Party Committee on 5 March 1949, “For a long period of time in the future, Chinas agriculture and handicrafts will still be scattered and individual in terms of mode.” With regard to industry, “we should capitalize on the initiative of urban and rural private capital as much as possible.” In the period of new democracy, the economy of various ownerships including private ownership should be maintained in the long-term. Selected Works of Mao Zedong (Mao ZedongXuan Ji), (Four Volumes in One), p. 633-639.

26 Mao Zedong believed that the PRC began to transfer to socialism from its establishment. It would take ten to fifteen years to complete the transition, instead of preparing for the transition. Such an observation “changed the opinion of the CPC in essence” because it clarified that the period of new democracy was the “transition period.” Bo Yibo, Retrospection on a Few Major Decisions and Events (Ruo Gan Zhong Da Jue Ce Yu Shi Jian De Hui Gu), Vol. I, Publishing House of the Central Communist Party School, 1991, p. 228-229.

27 Lu Zhenxiang, Yang Maorong and Wang Chaoxiang, “On the Proposal of the General Line for the Transition Period: A Brief Introduction of Relevant Publications” (Guan Yu Guo Du Shi Qi Zong Lu Xian De Ti Chu: Wen Xian Fa Biao Qing Kuang Jian Shu), The CPC’s Literature (Dang De Wen Xian), Issue 4, 2003, p. 28, 34.

28 The CPC’s Literature (Dang De Wen Xian), Issue 4, 2003, p. 20. The Constitution adopted at the 1 st Session of the 1st NPC in September 1954 included the CPC’s General Line for the Transition Period in its General Outline as the central task of the country in the transition period.

29 Xing Heming, The Soviet Model in the CPC’s Eye (Zhong Gong Yan Li De Su Lian Mo Shi), Fujian People’s Press, 2006, p. 45-66.

30 USSR Population in 70 Years (Su Lían Ren Kou Qi Shi Nian) (Hacenenue CCCP sa 70 nem Pbιбɑκoɞcκuǔ 70 JI.JI.), compiled by Pbιбаκoвcκий JI.JI, trans. Guo Liqun, Beijing: the Commercial Press, 1994, p. 16.

31 In December 1947, in his report The Current Situation and Our Task at a session of the CPC Central Party Committee, Mao accepted the concept of “two camps” and began to criticize the middle route. On People’s Democratic Despotism, published on 30 June 1949, explicitly expressed the one-sided policy. Selected Works of Mao Zedong (Mao Zedong Xuan Ji), (Four Volumes in One), p. 1202-1204, 1296-1299, 1410. See also Xu Xiaotian, Li Chunlong and Xu Zhenze, High-level Exchanges between the New China and the USSR (Xin Zhong Guo Yu Su Lian De Gao Ceng Wang Lai), Vol. I, Changchun: Jilin Peoples Press, 2001, p. 43-44.

32 The CPC leaders represented by Mao Zedong always thought that the Soviet model was the only socialist model. Although they tried to surpass the Soviet model in theoretical and practical explorations with Chinese characteristics, they never discarded the models guiding principles. Instead, they tried to improve it. See Comments on The Cambridge History of China (Ping Jian Qiao Zhong Hua Ren Min Gong He Guo Shi), ed. Jin Mingchun, Shijiazhuang: Hebei People’s Press, 2001, p. 143.

33 In return, China provided mineral and agricultural products and huge amount of foreign exchange to the USSR. Dieter Heinzig, The Soviet Union and Communist China 1945-1950 (Zhong Su Zou Xiang Lian Meng De Jian Nan Li Cheng) (Die Sowjetunion und das kommunistische China 1945-1950), trans. Zhang Wenwu, Li Danlin et al., Beijing: Xinhua Press, 2001, p. 671.

34 Among the early leaders of the CPC, and with the notable exception of Mao, most of the others had studied in the USSR, including Liu Shaoqi, Zhang Wentian, Kang Sheng, Deng Xiaoping, Dong Biwu, Yang Shangkun, Chen Yun, Li Lisan, Zhu De, Chen Boda and Ye Jianying. See Xu Xiaotian, Li Chunlong and Xu Zhenze, High-level Exchanges between the New China and the USSR (Xin Zhong Guo Yu Su Lian De Gao Ceng Wang Lai), Vol. I, p. 57.

35 Compilation of Resolutions of Soviet Communist Party Congress Sessions, Representative Meetings and Plenary Sessions of the Central Party Committee (Su Lían Gong Chan Dang Dai Biao Da Hui Dai Biao Hui Yi He Zhong Yang Quan Huí Jue Yi Hui Bian) (KIICC e peзoлюцuяx u peɯʜeuяx), Compilation and Translation Bureau of Works by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin of the CPC Central Party Committee, Book 3, People’s Publishing House, 1964, p. 77-79.

36 Complete Works of Stalin (Si Da Lin Quan Ji), Vol. 8, p. 64-65.

37 The resolution approving the 1st five-year plan at the 5th Soviet Congress in May 1929 also pointed out, “investment in industry is mainly for means of production (accounting for 78 percent of the total investment in industry).” Compilation of USSR National Economic Plan Documents: the First Five-Year Plan (Su Lian Guo Min Jing Ji Jian She Wen Jian Hui Bian: Di Yi Ge Wu Nian Ji Hud), People’s Publishing House, 1955, 11, p. 86.

38 Complete Works of Stalin (Si Da Lin Quan Ji), Vol. 8, p. 112-113.

39 Cited by Xing Heming, The Soviet Model in the CPC’s Eye (Zhong Gong Yan Li De Su Lian Mo Shi), p. 45-66.

40 Mao Zedong particularly criticized the views of “establishing new democracy social order,” “moving from new democracy to socialism” and “ensuring private property,” deeming these ideas as right-leaning and divergent from the General Line. Selected Works of Mao Zedong (Mao Zedong Xuan Ji), Vol. 5, p. 81-82.

41 An Anthology of Mao Zedongs Works (Mao Ze Dong Zhu Zuo Xuan Du), Vol. II, People’s Publishing House, 1986, p. 831.

42 Economic History of the People’s Republic of China (Zhong Hua Ren Min Gong He Guo Jing Ji Shi), Vol. I, ed. Dong Fureng, Economic Science Press, 1999, p. 268-269, 300-301.

43 Xiao Donglian, “A Historical Examination of Chinas Dual Social Structure” (Zhong Guo Er Yuan She Hui Jie Gou De Li Shi Kao Cha), Research on CPC History (Zhong Gong Dang Shi yan Jiu), Issue 1, 2005, p. 25-26.

44 Complete Works of Stalin (Si Da Lin Quan Ji), Vol. 11, p. 138-140.

45 Zhores Medvedev, Soviet Agriculture, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1987, p. 87-88.

46 A Brief History of China’s Socialist Economy (Zhong Guo She Hui Zhu Yi Jing Ji Jian Shi), ed. Liu Suinian and Wu Ganqun, Heilongjiang Peoples Press, 1985, p. 110.

47 On average, from 1949 to 1951, Chinas agricultural output accounted for over 55 percent of total social output and took up more than 65 percent in industrial and agricultural output. Net output of agriculture accounted for over 65 percent of the national income and took up more than 80 percent in industrial and agricultural net output. The rural labour force accounted for more than 85 percent of the total and the rural population accounted for more than 89 percent of the total. Chen Wenhui, Feng Haifa and Shi Tongqing, The Farmer and Industrialization (Nong Min Yu Gong Ye Hud), Guizhou Peoples Press, 1994, p. 26, p. 68-69.

48 Selected Works of Mao Zedong (Mao ZedongXuan Ji), Vol. 5, p. 182.

49 Compiled by Liu Guoguang, Studies of Strategic Issues in China’s Economic Development (Zhong Guo Jing Ji Fa Zhan Zhan Lue Wen Ti Yan Jiu), Shanghai Peoples Press, 1984, p. 409.

50 China Statistical Yearbook (Zhong Guo Tong Ji Nian Jian), 1983, p. 16.

51 China Labour Statistical Yearbook (Zhong Guo Lao Dong Tongji Nian Jian), 2006, p. 7-8.

52 China’s Dual Social Structure: Conflicts and Strategic Choice of Industrialization (Wo Guo Er Yuan Jie Gou Mao Dun Yu Gong Ye Hua Zhan Lue Xuan Ze), ed. Wang Jiye and Wang Jianye, China Planning Press, 1996, p. 38.

53 China Statistical Yearbook (Zhong Guo Tongji Nian Jian), 2006, p. 99.

54 Soon after Russia’s October Revolution, due to foreign military intervention and the months-old civil war, the Soviet government began to implement the policy of “military communism” (the policy or “war communism”) in the summer of 1918. Apart from temporary measures to meet the needs at wartime, “military communism” also included transition measures towards “communism.” Wang Shutong and Qian Yajun, “Comments on Communism at Wartime and Direct Transition Path” (Ping Zhan Shi Gong Chan Zhu Yi Yu Zhi Jie Guo Du De Dao Lu), Collection of Papers on the Modem History of the USSR (Su Lian Xian Dai Shi Lun Wen Ji), p. 48-49.

55 Compilation of Resolutions of Soviet Communist Party Congress Sessions, Representative Meetings and Plenary Sessions of the Central Party Committee (Su Lian Gong Chan Dang Dai Biao Da Huí Dai Biao Hui Yi He Zhong Yang Quan Hui Jue Yi Hui Bian), Book 1, p. 541, 546-547.

56 Edward Hallett Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1923, London: Macmillan, 1952, Vol. 2, p. 364.

57 Compilation of Documents on the USSR’s Economic Construction Plans: the First Five-Year Plan (Su Lian Guo Min JingJi Jian She Ji Hua Wen Jian Hui Bian Di Yi Ge Wu Nian Ji Hud), People’s Press, 1955.

58 Chen Huashan, “Tentative Review of National Monopolistic Socialism: Discussion of the Economic Mode of Stalin” (Shi Lun Guo Jia Long Duan She Hui Zhu Yi Dui Si Da Lin Jing Ji Mo Shi De Tan Tao), Historical Issues of the USSR (Su Lian Li Shi Wen Ti), 1993, p. 3-4, 12.

59 Economic History of the People’s Republic of China (Zhong Hua Ren Min Gong He Guo Jing Ji Shi), Vol. I, ed. Dong Fureng, p. 130.

60 It did so in the following ways: first, it helped design 156 (154 were finalized) industrial construction projects, carrying out a series of work ranging from inspection, location, collection of basic design material, design and construction. Second, it provided complete sets of equipment and key single unit equipment for these projects. Personnel were dispatched to instruct installation and operation as well as provide technical material for new products. Third, experts were sent to provide technical and material experience and managerial expertise. In addition, in October 1954, the USSR provided long-term loans to China of 520 million roubles (US$ 580 million). Li Zhining: Big Industry and China to the 1950s (Da Gong Ye Yu Zhong Guo Zhi Er Shi Shi Ji Wu Shi Nian Dai), Jiangxi Peoples Press, 1997, p. 217-218.

61 Rural Economic Affairs of the New China (Xin Zhong Guo Nong Cun Ji Shi), p. 111.

62 Xiao Donglian, “A Historical Examination of China’s Dual Social Structure” (Zhong Guo Er Yuan She Hui Jie Gou De Li Shi Kao Cha), Research on CPC History (Zhong Gong Dang Shi yan Jiu), Issue 1, 2005, p. 25-26.

63 In January 1928, the Political Bureau of the Soviet Communist Party Central Party Committee secretly ordered unusual measures to purchase food, in order to acquire farmer’s food by force under Article 107 of the Criminal Law, which punished speculation. In addition, in spring 1929, Ural-Siberian style compulsory requisitioning of food by purchase was implemented throughout the nation. Taniuchi Yuzuru, The Establishment of the Stalinist Political System (in Japanese), Vol. 1 and 4, Tokyo: Yiwanami Press, 1970; 1986, p. 363, 484. R. Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, London: Hutchinson, 1986, p. 94.

64 Selected Works of Chen Yun (Chen Yun Wen Xuan) (1949-1956), People’s Publishing House, 1984, p. 202-203.

65 Lin Yunhui and Gu Xunzhong, A Rhapsody on People’s Commune (Ren Min Gong She Kuang Xiang Qu), Henan People’s Press, 1995, p. 127.

66 The Cambridge History of China: The People’s Republic; Part I: The Emergence of Revolutionary China: 1949-1965, ed. R. MacFarquhar and J.K. Fairbank, trans. Xie Liangsheng et al., China Social Sciences Press, 1990, p. 171.

67 The Memoir of Xue Muqiao (Xue Mu Qiao Hui Yi Lu), p. 217.

68 Compilation of Important Documents on Agricultural Collectivization (Nong Ye Ji Ti Hua Zhong Yao Wen jian Hui bian), Vol. I, p. 212.

69 Selected Works of Chen Yun (Chen Yun Wen Xuan) (1949-1956), p. 207-214, 216.

70 On 15 November 1953, the CPC Central Party Committee made the Decision on Implementing Planned Purchase of Oil Bearing Materials Nationwide (Guan Yu Zai Quan Guo Shi Xing Ji Hua Shou Gou You Liao De Jue Ding). On 9 September 1954, the State Council of the central government issued the Order on Implementing Planned Purchase and Planned Supply of Cotton Cloth (Guan Yu Shi Xing Mian Bu Shou Gou He Ji Hua Gong Ying De Ming Ling) and the Order on Planned Purchase of Cotton (Guan Yu Mian Hua Ji Hua Shou Gou De Ming Ling).

71 Edward Friedman, Paul G. Pickowicz and Mark Selden: Chinese Village, Socialist State, trans. Tao Heshan, China Social Sciences Press, 2002, p. 15.

72 Economic History of the People’s Republic of China (Zhong Hua Ren Min Gong He Guo Jing Ji Shi), Vol. I, ed. Dong Fureng, p. 257.

73 China Labour Statistical Yearbook (Zhong Guo Lao Dong Tong Ji Nian Jian), 2006, p. 7-8.

74 Gao Peiyi, Comparative Studies of Urbanization in China and Foreign Countries (Zhong Wai ChengShi Hua Bi jiao Yan Jiu), Nankai University Press, 1991, p. 91.

75 Li Ai, Government Behaviour in the Relocation of the Rural Labour Force (Nong Cun Lao Dong Li Zhuan Yi De Zheng Fu Xing Wei), Shandong Peoples Press, 2006, p. 70, 78.

76 Agriculture in Contemporary China (Dang Dai Zhong Guo De Nong Ye), ed. Zhu Rong, Contemporary China Publishing House, 1992, p. 119-120.

77 Du Runsheng, Lnstitutional Changes in Chinas Countryside (Zhong Guo Nong Cun Zhi Du Bian Qian), Sichuan Peoples Press, 2003, p. 65, 85.

78 The full text of the speech was first published in the CPC’s Literature (Dang De Wen Xian), Issue 4, 2003, p. 20-24.

79 Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, p. 47; Taniuchi Yuzuru, op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 364.

80 Fukushima Masao, Study on the People’s Commune (in Japanese), Tokyo: Ochanomizu Press, 1960, p. 217.

81 Well before the CPC took power, Mao had argued in 1943 that the collectivization of agriculture is necessary for realizing socialism, while the only means to collective agriculture is to institute the Soviet models of collective farms or agricultural production cooperatives. See “Organize Up” (Zu Zhi Qi Lai), in Selected Works of Mao Zedong, op. cit., p. 885.

82 Compilation of Important Dossiers on the Collectivization of Agriculture (Nong Ye Ji Ti Hua Zhong Yao Wen Jian Hui Bian), Vol. I, p. 215-227.

83 SelectedWorks of Mao Zedong, vol. V, p. 174-175, 181-182 and 186.

84 Selected Works of Mao Zedong, vol. V, p. 168.

85 Compilation of Important Dossiers on the Collectivization of Agriculture (Nong Ye Ji Ti Hua Zhong Yao Wen Jian Hui Bian), Vol. I, p. 450.

86 Compilation of Important Dossiers on the Collectivization of Agriculture, Vol. 1, p. 449, 528; Historical Facts on China’s Agriculture Cooperativization Movement, Vol. II, SUP Press, 1957, p. 857.

87 Milestones in the Economy of the People’s Republic of China: Oct.l949-Sept. 1984 (Zhong Hua Ren Min Gong He Guo JingJi Da Shi Ji), Beijing Press, 1985, p. 136.

88 Taniuchi Yuzuru, op.cit., Vol. 4, p. 142. Moshe Lewin, Russian Peasants and Soviet Power, trans. Irene Nove, London: Allen & Unwin, 1968, p. 508-509. Ray Medvedev, Let History Judge: the Origin and Consequences of Stalinism, trans. Li Yuanchao, Jilin Peoples Press, 1983, p. 85. In January 1932, Stalin was told by the head of the Soviet National Political Security Bureau that 1.4 million farmers were exiled and relocated. Sheila Fitzpatrick, Stalin’s Peasants: Resistance and Survival in the Russian Village after Collectivization, New York: Oxford University Press, 1994, p. 83.

89 Kobayashi Kouji, Peasant Revolutions and Communist Movements in the 20th Century: The Rise and Fall of China’s Policy on Agricultural Collectivization (in Japanese), Tokyo, Keisou Press, 1997, p. 275.

90 V. I. Lenin, “On Cooperatives,” in Selected Works of Lenin (Chinese trans.), 2nd Edition, Vol. 4, p. 681-687.

91 Robert Conquest., The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, London: Hutchinson, 1986, p. 307; Sheila Fitzpatrick, Stalin’s Peasants: Resistance and Survival in the Russian Village after Collectivization, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994, p. 72-75.

92 The author devoted a paper in 2003 to the Great Leap Forward and the causes of the Great Famine. For the English version, please refer to Gong Renren, “Freedom of Expression and Social Development: An Empirical Analysis of the Great Leap Forward,” in Bridging the Global Divide on Human Rights: A Canada-China Dialogue, ed. Errol P. Mendes and Anik Lalonde-Roussy, Ashgate, 2003, p. 243-267. The English version has a mistake on p. 256: “Unofficial estimates published by foreign scholars range from 200 to 300 million”; the numbers here should read “from 20 to 30 million.”

93 Li Debin, Chronicles of the Rural Economy in the New China (Xin Zhong Guo Nong Cun Jing Ji Ji Shi) (1949.10-1984.9), Peking University Press, 1989, p. 3-10.

94 Michael Ellman, Socialist Planning, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 105.

95 Yang Junshi, Modernization and Chinese Communism (Xian Dai Hua Yu Zhong Guo Yong Chan Zhu Yi), Hong Kong, Chinese University Press, 1987, p. 80.

96 Shi Jingtang, Historical Facts on Agriculture Cooperativization in China (Zhong Guo Nong Ye He Zuo Hua Shi Liao), Vol. I, p. 38.

97 The state of dispersed individual farmers in rural China after the land reform would not only cause a decrease in commodity grains available on market terms, but also difficulties for centralized food procurement on non-market terms, because farmers as private property owners were also fully independent economic entities, hence reluctant to hand in their harvests at lowered prices. Zhu Rong et al., Agriculture in Contemporary China (Zhong Guo Dang Nai Nong Ye), p. 117-118.

98 Chen Wenhui, Feng Haifa and Shi Tongqing, The Farmer and Industrialization, op. cit., p. 74.

99 Factual Records of the People’s Republic of China (Zhonr Hua Ren Min Gong He Guo Shi Lu) (1953-1956), p. 1498.

100 Dong Fureng, The Economic History of the People’s Republic of China (Zhong Hua Ren Min Gong He Guo Jing Ji Shi), Vol. I, Economics and Science Press, 1999, p. 256.

101 Chen Wenhui, Feng Haifa and Shi Tongqing, The Farmer and Industrialization, op. cit., p. 83.

102 Zhou Yihu and Yang Xiaomin, The Unit System in China (Zhong Guo Dan Wei Zhi Du), China Economic Press, 1999, p. 3.

103 Mark Selden, “Household, Cooperative, and State in the Remaking of China’s Countryside,” Cooperative and Collective in China’s Rural Development, ed. Vermeer, E.B. et al, Publisher Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1998, p. 24.

104 Compilation of Important Dossiers on the Collectivization of Agriculture, Vol. I, p. 641-642.

105 Du Runsheng, Collective Agriculture in Contemporary China (DangDai Zhong Guo De Nong Ye He Zuo Zhi), China Contemporary Press, 2002, p. 525.

106 It was under the guidelines of the CPC Central Committee and the government and under the pressure of Mao Zedong’s incessant criticism of “right-leaning” that advanced cooperatives or collective farms were able to be instituted by the end of November 1956. Milestones in the Economy of the People’s Republic of China (Oct. 1949-Sept. 1984), Beijing Press, 1985, p. 136.

107 Җopec Meдвeдeв, Let History Be the Judge (K cy∂y ucmopuu), Vol. I, trans. He Hongjiang, Eastern Press, 2005, p. 260.

108 Sheila Fitzpatrick, op. cit., p. 95.

109 The Soviet Union did not introduce a new domestic passport law until 1974. Only by 1980 did farmers all have their own domestic passports and the old passport or urban dweller ID system was removed. Niimi Jiichi, The Freedom to Live and Move Where One Pleases and The Domestic Passport System, Socialism and Freedom (in Japanese), ed. Fujita Yisamu, Kyoto, Legal Culture Press, 1984, p. 394-396.

110 Robert C. Tucker, “Stalinism as Revolution from Above," in Stalinism: Essays in Historical Interpretation, ed. R.C. Tucker, New York: Norton, 1977, p. 96.

111 On 2 March 1954 the Instructions on Continuing to Persuade Farmers out of Unregulated Flows into the Cities (Quan Zu Nong Min Mang Mu Liu Ru Cheng Shi De Zhi Shi), issued by the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Labour, stipulated that “for the farmers who have migrated into cities, civil affairs and labour authorities may join other departments in persuading them to return to the countryside, the travel expenses of which should, as a general rule, be borne by the farmer themselves." Compilation of Central Government Legal Instruments (Zhong Yang Ren Min Zheng Fu Fa Ling Hui Bian) 1954, Legal Press, 1955, p. 148.

112 The Research Group on Industrialization and Urbanization in the Countryside and Agriculture Modernization (actual writing by Liu Ghunbin), Dual Social Structure: Thoughts on Industrialization and Urbanization of China’s Countryside (Er Yuan She Hui Jie Gou: Fen Xi Zhong Guo Nong Cun Gong Ye Hua Cheng Shi Hua De Yi Tiao Si Lu), Economic Study Reference, Issue 171/172, 1989, p. 5. In addition, job losses were severe in cities in the early 1950s. Difficulties in job creation also contributed to a suspension of the farmers’ migration. Yuan Yayu, Social Movement of Farmer in China (zhong guo nong min de she hui liu dong), Sichuan University Press, 1994, p. 73.

113 Also according to a brief update from 6 December 1956 by the CPC Rural Work Department, there was a 10 percent to 20 percent income reduction among cooperative members in all provinces. Compilation of Important Dossiers on the Collectivisation of Agriculture, vol. I, p. 655.

114 Compilation of Important Dossiers on the Collectivization of Agriculture, Vol. I, p. 687, 695.

115 Yu Depeng, Urban and Rural Society: From Isolation to Openness. A Study on China’s Household Registration System and Law (cheng xiang she hui: cong ge li zou xiang kai fang—zhong guo hu ji zhi du yu hu ji fa yan jiu), Shandong Peoples Press, 2002, p. 17.

116 Pursuant to the State Council Instructions on Preventing the Unregulated Outflow of Rural Population on 30 December 1956, the State Council Supplementary Instructions on 2 March 1957 and the State Council Notice on Preventing the Unregulated Flow of Farmer into Cities on 14 September 1957.

117 State Council Laws and Regulations Bureau, Compilation of Regulations of the People’s Republic of China (January through June, 1958), Legal Press, 1958, p. 206.

118 Yu Depeng, Urban and Rural Society: From Isolation to Openness. A Study on China’s Household Registration System and Law, Shandong Peoples Press, p. 23.

119 Lu Yilong, The Household Registration System-Control and Social Distinction (hu ji zhi du – kong zhi yu she hui cha bie), The Commercial Press, 2003, p. 124-126.

120 YaoXiulan, Household Registration, Identity and Social Evolution: A Study on China’s Household Administration Laws (hu ji shen fen yu she hui bian qian: zhong guo hu ji fa lv shi yan jiu), The Legal Press, 2004, p. 176.

121 Yuan Yayu, The Social Movement of Farmers in China (zhong guo nong min de she hui liu dong), p. 88.

122 Yin Zhijing and Yu Qihong, Household Administration System Reform in China, p. 7; Ban Maosheng and Zhu Chengsheng, “Current Status of the Study and Actual Progress on the Household Administration System Reform” (hu ji gai ge de yan jiu zhuang kuangji shi ji jin zhan), Population and Economy, 2000, Issue 1, p. 47.

123 Guo Shutian and Liu Chunbin, China out of Balance (shi heng de zhong guo), p. 31.

124 Niimi Jiichi, The Freedom to Live and Move Where One Pleases and The Domestic Passport System, Socialism and Freedom (in Japanese), ed. Fujita Yisamu, op. cit., p. 380, 385-386, 390.

125 Economic Study Reference, Issue 90, 1988, p. 17-19; Economic Study Reference, Issue 171/172, 1989, p. 14-36.

126 Economic Study Reference, Issue 171/172, 1989, p. 35.

127 On 23 February 1951, the Department of Political Affairs published the Labour Insurance Provisions, which stipulated that labour insurance was only applicable to city-based companies reaching a certain size. Compilation of Central Government Legal Instruments (1951), People’s Press, 1953, p. 397. The Labour Insurance Provisions as amended by the Department of Political Affairs in 1953 marginally enlarged the scope of application to only city-based business units. Compilation of Central Government Legal Instruments (1953), Legal Press, 1955, p. 249.

128 In 1953, the CPC Central Committee and government decided to adopt a centralized procurement and distribution policy. On 5 and 25 August 1955, the State Council issued respectively the Provisional Measures on Food Rationing in Cities and Townships and the Provisional Measures on Centralized Food Procurement and Distribution in Rural Areas. They stipulated that “a universal food rationing system shall be introduced among the non-agriculture population” while farmers “travelling to and from townships may carry food on their own.” State Council Regulations 1949-2001, China Democratic and Legal Press, 2001, p. 340-348.

129 On 31 August 1955, the employees of state organs began to receive cash salaries, as opposed to material supplies as in the past.

130 Zhou Yihu and Yang Xiaomin, The Unit System in China, China Economic Press, 1999, p. 53.

131 China Statistical Yearbook 2006, p. 345.

132 China Economic Times, 7 October 2002.

133 People’s Daily, 11 August 2004.

134 Research Group, Promoting the Transfer of Excessive Rural Labour in the Urban-rural Harmonized Development, Out of the Dual Structure: Migrant Workers, Urbanization and the New Countryside, p. 108.

135 Wang Guolin, A Survey of Farmers Losing their Land (shi di nong min diao cha), Beijing: Xinhua Publishing House, 2006, p. 1. Scholars estimate the actual number of farmers who have lost their land has already gone beyond 60 million. Liao Xiaojun, A Study on Landlosing Farmers (shi di nong min yan jiu), Beijing: Social and Science Literatures Press, 2005, p. 98-99.

136 Article 14 of the Land Administration Law prescribes a 30-year term for the contract. Article 17.1 of the Law on Land Contract in Rural Areas of 2002 states that the agricultural purpose of the land and prohibits the use of land for non-agricultural construction.

137 National Office of Rural Fixed Watch Points, The Employment Status and Features of Rural Migrant Workers (Nong Cun Lao Dong Li Wai Chu Jiu Ye Zhuang Kuang Ji Te Dian), China Population Yearbook, 2006, p. 310.

138 The term “migrant worker” first appeared in the Sociology Journal of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1984, before it became widely used. Master Report on Migrant Worker Issues in China, Reform, Issue 5,2006, p. 6. The Provisions on Recruiting Farmers as Contracted Workers by Publicly-owned Enterprises (Quan Min Suo You Zhi Qi Ye Zhao Yong Nong Min He Tong Zhi Gong Ren De Gui Ding), promulgated by the State Council on 25 July 1991, was reportedly the first official document that brought forward the idea of “migrant worker.” Qi Yanping, ed., Rights Protection for Vulnerable Groups in the Society (She Hui Ruo Shi Qun Ti De Quan Li Bao Hu), Jinan, Shandong People’s Press, 2006, p. 304.

139 Drafting Group for the Master Report on Migrant Worker Issues in China, “Master Report on Migrant Worker Issues in China,” Reform, Issue 5, 2006, p. 9-11.

140 Research Group, Promoting the Movement of Excess Rural Labour during the Integrated Development of Urban and Rural Areas (Zai Cheng Xiang Yi Ti Hua Fa Zhan Zhong Tui “ Jin Nong Cun Fu Yu Lao Dong Li Zhuan Yi); Out of the Dual Structure: Migrant Workers, Urbanization and the New Countryside (Zou Chu Er Yuan Jie Gou: Nong Min Gong, Cheng Zhen Hua Yu Xin Nong Cun Jian She), p. 108.”

141 Drafting Group for the Master Report on Migrant Worker Issues in China, “Master Report on Migrant Worker Issues in China,” Reform, Issue 5, 2006, p. 9.

142 Works of Gu Zhun (Gu Zhun Wen Ji), Guizhou Peoples Press, 1994, p. 375. Gu Zhun (1915-1974) was a self-made scholar and thinker. He joined the CPC in 1935 and once served as the Director General of the Shanghai Financial Bureau and Taxation Bureau after the CPC came to power in 1949. He was released from his duties in 1952. In 1956, Gu became a research fellow with the Economic Research Institute. He was caught in the “rightist” oppression movement in 1957 and died in 1974. Despite being under long political persecution, Gu managed to think independently under harsh conditions. He had insightful thoughts on Chinese and foreign politics, philosophy, history and economic issues.

143 For example, the Research Centre for Human Rights of Peking University founded in 1997 not only conducted academic exchanges and joint researches with foreign research facilities and UN agencies, including the University of Ottawa Law School in Canada, but also opened the first postgraduate program on human rights in the mainland, in partnership with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law of Lund University, Sweden.

144 L. Henkin, “The Human Rights Idea in Contemporary China: A Comparative Perspective,” Human Rights in Contemporary China, by R.R. Edwards, L. Henkin, A.J. Nathan, New York: Columbia University Press, 1986, p. 26-27.

145 Gong Renren, “Implementing International Human Rights Treaties in China,” Bridging the Global Divide on Human Rights, op. cit., p. 102-106.

146 The Rule of Law in a Free Society: A Report on the International Congress of Jurists, New Delhi, India, 1959, Geneva: International Commission of Jurists, p. 2-14; UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/2002/36, p. 6, para. 22; The World Justice Project: http://www.abnet.org/wjp/.

147 For example, Article 5 of the Constitution stipulates, “No law or administrative or local rules and regulations shall contravene the Constitution. All state organs, the armed forces, all political parties and public organizations and all enterprises and undertakings must abide by the Constitution and the law. All acts in violation of the Constitution and the law must be investigated. No organization or individual may enjoy the privilege of being above the Constitution and the law.” Article 126 reads, “The peoples courts shall, in accordance with the law, exercise judicial power independently and are not subject to interference by administrative organs, public organizations or individuals."

148 The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights points out in its preamble that it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.

149 Government Work Report delivered by Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council, at the first meeting of the 11th NPC on 5 March 2008, http://gov.people.com.cn/GB/46733/46842/7020650/html/.

150 China adopts a National People’s Congress (NPC) system, but direct elections are only limited to below the county (or a district of a large city) level. Provincial peoples congress deputies are elected by county-level people’s congresses and NPC deputies by provincial people’s congresses.

151 Farms are counted by the resident councils of where they live and work. Apart from 1,240 leadership officials, there were also 37 grassroots (village and township) officials. See Cai Dingjian, China’s National People’s Congress System, 4th ed„ Legal Press, 2003, p. 220-221.

152 Pursuant to Article 16 of the Electoral Law of the PRC on drawing a clear distinction between rural and urban populations; in practice, citizens can only elect and be elected in the areas where their household information is registered.

153 Pursuant to Article 128 of the Chinese Constitution and Article 35 of the Organic Law of the People’s Courts, local people’s courts at different levels are established by election of local people s congresses and their standing committees; therefore, local courts are overpowered by local party committees and governments of the same level in terms of staffing and finance.

154 Gong Renren, “International Human Rights, Comparative Constitutionalism and Features of Chinas Constitution,” Human Rights: Chinese and Canadian Perspective, ed. E.P. Mendes and A.-M. Traeholt, The Human Rights Research and Education Centre, 1997, p. 87-89.

155 As exposed by many media sources after May 2007, some private-run brick kilns in Shanxi province had been using farmers from outside the province, minors and disabled people in forced and slave-like labouring conditions with the tacit consent of the local governments.

Auteur

Director of the Research Centre for Human Rights at Peking University Law School since 1997. He holds a Doctorate of Laws from Hokkaido University in Japan. He has taught at the Peking University Law School since 1988, becoming a Professor in 1993. He was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University Law School in 1995, a Visiting Professor at Kyoto University Law Faculty in 1997, and a Visiting Professor at the Kyushu University Law Faculty from 2005-2006. His publications include Perspective of Japanese Judicial System (1993) and A Comparative Study of State Immunity (1994). He has contributed to numerous publications concerned with human rights

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