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Issue 47 (January 2002)
The Post-Communist Personality: The Spectre of China's Capitalist Market Reforms
China's market reforms have hastened the collapse of the moral order of the Maoist era and with it the personality structure that was an integral part of that order. No new moral order has yet emerged to fill the gap left by the disintegration of the old one. Within this gap has arisen a disruptive personality structure - the post-communist personality - that has led to unregulated hedonism and widespread corruption. This paper compares the problems faced by China and Russia in their respective reforms and attempts to bring out the uniqueness of the post-communist personality in China in terms of its mode of emergence and its impact.
Melvyn C. Goldstein, Ben Jiao (Benjor), Cynthia
M. Beall and Phuntsog Tsering
Fertility and Family Planning in Rural Tibet
This paper reports on a study conducted in the Tibet Autonomous region on reproduction, child mortality and family planning. The study was part of a four-year project on the impact of China's reform policies on rural Tibet that was conducted in collaboration with the Lhasa-based Tibet Academy of Social Sciences. The project studied 13 villages in four rural townships (xiang) in three counties (xian) in two of Tibet's seven prefectures. Over 1,700 women were interviewed using multiple research methods including lengthy fertility and household surveys, in-depth interviews, informal interviews, focus groups, observation and local records. High levels of fertility were found - currently married women aged 40-44 averaged 5.7 births. Relatively low levels of offspring mortality were found - 88.4 per cent of the offspring born to currently married women aged 20-59 were alive at the time of the study. The study also found that greater government attention to family planning in the 1990s has been accompanied by the imposition of fines for excess births in some rural areas. However, no evidence of forced abortions or forced sterilizations was found. To the contrary, socio-economic changes have created structural problems that are focusing rural Tibetans' attention on the increasing cost of large families and motivating couples to voluntarily use family planning.
Kenneth W. Foster
Embedded within State Agencies: Business Associations in Yantai
Over the past two decades, thousands of business associations have emerged to occupy a place in China's urban organizational milieu. This article examines business associations in the city of Yantai, arguing that they are most fruitfully studied as new elements of the state's administrative system. Leaders of local government and Party agencies have created these associations with the hope that they can provide assistance in carrying out certain governance tasks. However, for a number of reasons, relatively few associations have actually played more than a minor role in governance. Overall, business associations in Yantai have functioned more as appendages of government and Party agencies than as mediators in the negotiation of state-society relationships.
Loren Brandt, Jikun Huang, Guo Li and Scott Rozelle
Land Rights in China: Facts, Fictions and Issues
This paper describes the organization and utilization of China's cultivated land resources. Individual and collaborative studies by the researchers found enormous heterogeneity at the village level in the property rights that households enjoy. In some villages farmers seem to enjoy relatively long-term security and most of the rights typically associated with a private property regime, short of being able to buy or sell the land. In other villages tenure is insecure and farmers' use of the land appears to be constrained in a variety of ways. From a policy perspective, the critical question is how effective these alternative regimes have been in providing households with the necessary incentives to ensure rational land use and investment, while simultaneously helping local communities meet distributive objectives. One of the most important findings from the research is that a solid empirical basis does not currently exist for making an assessment of the impact of the land system on efficiency, equity and the overall development of China's rural sector. China's land system has had a mixed record. No work has found that the land management system has had a large effect on agricultural production. Nonetheless, in many parts of China the land system has created significant and growing costs in terms of short- and long-run productivity that are not being offset by lower income inequality. Over the past two decades, reallocations by village leaders may have facilitated access to land and the food it produces for a majority of China's households and overcome some of the imperfections in land rental markets.